Saturday morning March 12

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Opening response

Lord, open our lips
and our mouth will proclaim your praise.
Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love,
according to your judgment give us life.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, God of compassion and mercy,
to you be praise and glory forever.
In the darkness of our sin,
your light breaks forth like the dawn
and your healing springs up for deliverance.
As we rejoice in the gift of your saving help,
sustain us with your bountiful Spirit
and open our lips to sing your praise.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


A Fountain of Life and Grace

Charles Wesley
A fountain of life and grace
In Christ, our Redeemer we see:
For us, who his offers embrace,
For all, it is open and free.

Jehovah himself doth invite
To drink of his pleasures unknown
The streams of immortal delight
That flow from his heavenly throne

As soon as in him we believe,
By faith of his Spirit we take,
And, freely forgiven, receive,
The mercy for Jesus’ sake!

We gain a pure drop of his love,
The life of eternity know;
Angelical happiness prove,
And witness a heaven below

Confession of sin

Let us admit to God the sin which always confronts us.

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

Almighty God,
patient and of great goodness:
I confess to you,
I confess with my whole heart
my neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments,
my wrong doing, thinking, and speaking;
the hurts I have done to others,
and the good I have left undone.
O God, forgive me, for I have sinned against you;
and raise me to newness of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.

The Word of God

Psalm 32

You who are righteous, rejoice in the Lord and be glad!

The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered over, is truly happy!
The one the Lord doesn’t consider guilty—
    in whose spirit there is no dishonesty—
    that one is truly happy!
When I kept quiet, my bones wore out;
    I was groaning all day long—
    every day, every night!—
because your hand was heavy upon me.
    My energy was sapped as if in a summer drought. 
So I admitted my sin to you;
    I didn’t conceal my guilt.
    “I’ll confess my sins to the Lord, ” is what I said.
    Then you removed the guilt of my sin. 
That’s why all the faithful should pray to you during troubled times,
    so that a great flood of water won’t reach them.
You are my secret hideout!
    You protect me from trouble.
    You surround me with songs of rescue! 
I will instruct you and teach you
    about the direction you should go.
    I’ll advise you and keep my eye on you.
Don’t be like some senseless horse or mule,
    whose movement must be controlled
    with a bit and a bridle.
        Don’t be anything like that!
The pain of the wicked is severe,
    but faithful love surrounds the one who trusts the Lord.
You who are righteous, rejoice in the Lord and be glad!
    All you whose hearts are right, sing out in joy!

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.

You who are righteous, rejoice in the Lord and be glad!

Psalm prayer

Give us honest hearts, O God,
and send your kindly Spirit
to help us confess our sins
and bring us the peace of your forgiveness;
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Exodus 7:8-25

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Do one of your amazing acts,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your shepherd’s rod and throw it down in front of Pharaoh, and it will turn into a cobra.’”

So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw down his shepherd’s rod in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it turned into a cobra. Then Pharaoh called together his wise men and wizards, and Egypt’s religious experts did the same thing by using their secret knowledge. Each one threw down his rod, and they turned into cobras. But then Aaron’s rod swallowed up each of their rods. However, Pharaoh remained stubborn. He wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh is stubborn. He still refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning. As he is going out to the water, make sure you stand at the bank of the Nile River so you will run into him. Bring along the shepherd’s rod that turned into a snake. Say to him, The Lord, the Hebrews’ God, has sent me to you with this message: Let my people go so that they can worship me in the desert. Up to now you still haven’t listened. This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord. I’m now going to hit the water of the Nile River with this rod in my hand, and it will turn into blood. The fish in the Nile are going to die, the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians won’t be able to drink water from the Nile.” The Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your shepherd’s rod and stretch out your hand over Egypt’s waters—over their rivers, their canals, their marshes, and all their bodies of water—so that they turn into blood. There will be blood all over the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.’”

Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded. He raised the shepherd’s rod and hit the water in the Nile in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood. The fish in the Nile died, and the Nile began to stink so that the Egyptians couldn’t drink water from the Nile. There was blood all over the land of Egypt. But the Egyptian religious experts did the same thing with their secret knowledge. As a result, Pharaoh remained stubborn, and he wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had said. Pharaoh turned and went back to his palace. He wasn’t impressed even by this. Meanwhile, all the Egyptians had to dig for drinking water along the banks of the Nile River, because they couldn’t drink the water of the Nile itself. Seven days went by after the Lord had struck the Nile River.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Hebrews 11:1-16

Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see. The elders in the past were approved because they showed faith.

By faith we understand that the universe has been created by a word from God so that the visible came into existence from the invisible.

By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice to God than Cain, which showed that he was righteous, since God gave approval to him for his gift. Though he died, he’s still speaking through faith.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he didn’t see death, and he wasn’t found because God took him up. He was given approval for having pleased God before he was taken up. It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him.

By faith Noah responded with godly fear when he was warned about events he hadn’t seen yet. He built an ark to deliver his household. With his faith, he criticized the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes from faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out without knowing where he was going.

By faith he lived in the land he had been promised as a stranger. He lived in tents along with Isaac and Jacob, who were coheirs of the same promise. He was looking forward to a city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

By faith even Sarah received the ability to have a child, though she herself was barren and past the age for having children, because she believed that the one who promised was faithful. So descendants were born from one man (and he was as good as dead). They were as many as the number of the stars in the sky and as countless as the grains of sand on the seashore. All of these people died in faith without receiving the promises, but they saw the promises from a distance and welcomed them. They confessed that they were strangers and immigrants on earth. People who say this kind of thing make it clear that they are looking for a homeland. If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return to it. But at this point in time, they are longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God isn’t ashamed to be called their God—he has prepared a city for them.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.

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.

Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.

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


Loving God, we look to you.
Receive our prayer.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

Merciful Lord,
absolve your people from their offenses,
that through your bountiful goodness
we may all be delivered from the chains of those sins
which by our frailty we have committed;
grant this, heavenly Father,
for Jesus Christ's sake, our blessed Lord and Savior,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.      

The Lord’s Prayer

Trusting in the compassion of God,
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 God our Redeemer show us compassion and love.