Thursday morning March 17

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Opening response

Lord, open our lips
and our mouth will proclaim your praise.
Let your ways be known upon earth,
your saving power among the nations.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory forever.
As a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
your only Son was lifted up
that he might draw the whole world to himself.
May we walk this day in the way of the cross
and always be ready to share its weight,
declaring your love for all the world.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


The Sovereign Lord of Hosts Is One

Charles Wesley
The sovereign Lord of hosts is One,
Forever glorified,
The first and last is God alone,
There is no God beside:
Worship divine to him is due,
Who doth the title claim,
The Alpha and Omega too,
The first and last I Am.

The King of saints, the Lord of hosts,
Almighty to redeem,
In him his ransomed people trusts
The One great God supreme:
Jesus, thou art to us made known
Fullness of deity:
There is no other God but One,
No other God but thee.

Confession of sin

O King enthroned on high,
filling the earth with your glory:
holy is your name,
Lord God almighty.

A time of silence and self-examination may be kept.

In our sinfulness we cry to you
to take our guilt away,
and to cleanse our lips to speak your word,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May the God of all healing and forgiveness
draw us to himself,
and cleanse us from all our sins
that we may behold the glory of his Son,
the Word made flesh,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Word of God

Psalm 40

God, you’ve done so many things—
your wonderful deeds and your plans for us—
no one can compare with you!

I put all my hope in the Lord.
    He leaned down to me;
    he listened to my cry for help.
He lifted me out of the pit of death,
    out of the mud and filth,
    and set my feet on solid rock.
        He steadied my legs.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise for our God.
Many people will learn of this and be amazed;
    they will trust the Lord.
Those who put their trust in the Lord,
    who pay no attention to the proud
    or to those who follow lies,
    are truly happy!
You, Lord my God!
    You’ve done so many things—
    your wonderful deeds and your plans for us—
        no one can compare with you!
    If I were to proclaim and talk about all of them,
        they would be too numerous to count!
You don’t relish sacrifices or offerings;
    you don’t require entirely burned offerings or compensation offerings—
    but you have given me ears!
So I said, “Here I come!
    I’m inscribed in the written scroll.
    I want to do your will, my God.
    Your Instruction is deep within me.”
I’ve told the good news of your righteousness
    in the great assembly.
    I didn’t hold anything back—
        as you well know, Lord!
I didn’t keep your righteousness only to myself.
    I declared your faithfulness and your salvation.
I didn’t hide your loyal love and trustworthiness
    from the great assembly.
So now you, Lord—
    don’t hold back any of your compassion from me.
Let your loyal love and faithfulness always protect me,
    because countless evils surround me.
My wrongdoings have caught up with me—
    I can’t see a thing!
There’s more of them than hairs on my head—
    my courage leaves me.
Favor me, Lord, and deliver me!
    Lord, come quickly and help me!
Let those who seek my life, who want me dead,
    be disgraced and put to shame.
Let those who want to do me harm
    be thoroughly frustrated and humiliated.
Let those who say to me, “Yes! Oh, yes!”
    be destroyed by their shame.
But let all who seek you
    celebrate and rejoice in you.
Let those who love your salvation always say,
    “The Lord is great!”
But me? I’m weak and needy.
    Let my Lord think of me.
You are my help and my rescuer.
    My God, don’t wait any longer!

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

God, you’ve done so many things—
your wonderful deeds and your plans for us—
no one can compare with you!

Psalm prayer

Free us from our sins, O God,
and may our sacrifices be of praise
to the glory of your Son,
our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Psalm 125

Glorious things are said about you, the city of God!

The people who trust in the Lord
    are like Mount Zion:
    never shaken, lasting forever.
Mountains surround Jerusalem.
    That’s how the Lord surrounds his people
    from now until forever from now!
The wicked rod won’t remain
in the land given to the righteous
    so that they don’t use their hands to do anything wrong.
Lord, do good to people who are good,
    to people whose hearts are right.
But as for those people who turn to their own twisted ways—
    may the Lord march them off with other evildoers!
Peace be on Israel!

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Glorious things are said about you, the city of God!

Psalm prayer

God of power,
you are strong to save
and you never fail those who trust in you;
keep us under your protection
and spread abroad your reign of peace
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Exodus 9:13-35

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh. Say to him, This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go so that they can worship me. This time I’m going to send all my plagues on you, your officials, and your people so that you will know that there is no one like me in the whole world. By now I could have used my power to strike you and your people with a deadly disease so that you would have disappeared from the earth. But I’ve left you standing for this reason: in order to show you my power and in order to make my name known in the whole world. You are still abusing your power against my people, and you refuse to let them go. Tomorrow at this time I’ll cause the heaviest hail to fall on Egypt that has ever fallen from the day Egypt was founded until now. So bring under shelter your livestock and all that belongs to you that is out in the open. Every person or animal that is out in the open field and isn’t brought inside will die when the hail rains down on them.” Some of Pharaoh’s officials who took the Lord’s word seriously rushed to bring their servants and livestock inside for shelter. Others who didn’t take the Lord’s word to heart left their servants and livestock out in the open field.

The Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall on the whole land of Egypt, on people and animals and all the grain in the fields in the land of Egypt.” Then Moses raised his shepherd’s rod toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning struck the earth. The Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. The hail and the lightning flashing in the middle of the hail were so severe that there had been nothing like it in the entire land of Egypt since it first became a nation. The hail beat down everything that was in the open field throughout the entire land of Egypt, both people and animals. The hail also beat down all the grain in the fields, and it shattered every tree out in the field. The only place where hail didn’t fall was in the land of Goshen where the Israelites lived.

Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I’ve sinned. The Lord is right, and I and my people are wrong. Pray to the Lord! Enough of God’s thunder and hail! I’m going to let you go. You don’t need to stay here any longer.”

Moses said to him, “As soon as I’ve left the city, I’ll spread out my hands to the Lord. Then the thunder and the hail will stop and won’t return so that you will know that the earth belongs to the Lord. But I know that you and your officials still don’t take the Lord God seriously.” (Now the flax and the barley were destroyed, because the barley had ears of grain and the flax had buds. But both durum and spelt wheat weren’t ruined, because they hadn’t come up.) Moses left Pharaoh and the city, and spread out his hands to the Lord. Then the thunder and the hail stopped, and the rain stopped pouring down on the earth. But when Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail, and thunder had stopped, he sinned again. Pharaoh and his officials became stubborn. Because of his stubbornness, Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had told Moses.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Hebrews 12:14-29

Pursue the goal of peace along with everyone—and holiness as well, because no one will see the Lord without it. Make sure that no one misses out on God’s grace. Make sure that no root of bitterness grows up that might cause trouble and pollute many people. Make sure that no one becomes sexually immoral or ungodly like Esau. He sold his inheritance as the oldest son for one meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected because he couldn’t find a way to change his heart and life, though he looked for it with tears.

You haven’t drawn near to something that can be touched: a burning fire, darkness, shadow, a whirlwind, a blast of a trumpet, and a sound of words that made the ones who heard it beg that there wouldn’t be one more word. They couldn’t stand the command, If even a wild animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned. The sight was so frightening that Moses said, “I’m terrified and shaking!”

But you have drawn near to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, to countless angels in a festival gathering, to the assembly of God’s firstborn children who are registered in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better than Abel’s blood.

See to it that you don’t resist the one who is speaking. If the people didn’t escape when they refused to listen to the one who warned them on earth, how will we escape if we reject the one who is warning from heaven? His voice shook the earth then, but now he has made a promise: Still once more I will shake not only the earth but heaven also. The words “still once more” reveal the removal of what is shaken—the things that are part of this creation—so that what isn’t shaken will remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe, because our God really is a consuming fire.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved.

Bless the Lord God of Israel
because he has come to help and has delivered his people.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house,
just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago.
He has brought salvation from our enemies
and from the power of all those who hate us.
He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and remembered his holy covenant,
the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham.
He has granted that we would be rescued
from the power of our enemies
so that we could serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes,
for as long as we live.
You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
You will tell his people how to be saved
through the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of our God’s deep compassion,
the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide us on the path of peace.”

Luke 1:68-79

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved.

Brief silence.

The Apostle’s Creed

Let us unite in this historic confession of the Christian faith: 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


Intercession and thanksgiving

Prayers are offered
for the day and its tasks
for the world and its needs
for the Church and her life


Father, by your Spirit
Bring in your kingdom.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.      

The Lord’s Prayer

Standing at the foot of the cross,
as our Savior taught us, so we pray

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and forever.


May Christ, who bore our sins on the cross,
set us free to serve him with joy.