Thursday evening December 10

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Opening response

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Reveal among us the light of your presence
that we may behold your power and glory.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
creator of light and darkness,
to you be glory and praise forever.
As evening falls, you renew your promise
to reveal among us the light of your presence.
May your word be a lantern to our feet
and a light upon our path
that we may behold your coming among us.
Strengthen us in our stumbling weakness
and free our tongues to sing your praise.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


Oh What a Blessed Hope Is Ours

Charles Wesley
Oh, what a blessed hope is ours!
While here on earth we stay,
We more than taste the heavenly powers,
And antedate that day.

We feel the resurrection near,
Our life in Christ concealed,
And with his glorious presence here,
Our earthen vessels filled.

Oh, would he all of heaven bestow!
Then like our Lord we’ll rise,
Our bodies, fully ransomed, go
To take the glorious prize.

In rapturous awe, on him to gaze,
Who bought the sight for me;
And shout and wonder at his grace,
Through all eternity.

Confession of sin

Come, Holy Spirit of God,
and search our hearts with the light of Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
The first commandment is this:
‘Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, 
and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, 
with all your being, with all your mind, 
and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’
No other commandment is greater than these.
All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.

Amen. Lord, have mercy.

After a period of reflection

Come, let us return to the Lord and say:

Lord our God,
in our sin we have avoided your call.
Our love for you is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes away early.
Have mercy on us;
deliver us from judgment;
bind up our wounds and revive us;
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

cf Hosea 6

May almighty God,
who sent his Son into the world to save sinners,
bring us his pardon and peace, now and forever.

The Word of God

Psalm 73

I have taken my refuge in you, my Lord God.

Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those who are have a pure heart.
But me? My feet had almost stumbled;
    my steps had nearly slipped
    because I envied the arrogant;
    I observed how the wicked are well off:
They suffer no pain;
    their bodies are fit and strong.
They are never in trouble;
    they aren’t weighed down like other people.
That’s why they wear arrogance like a necklace,
    why violence covers them like clothes.
Their eyes bulge out from eating so well;
    their hearts overflow with delusions.
They scoff and talk so cruel;
    from their privileged positions
    they plan oppression.
Their mouths dare to speak against heaven!
    Their tongues roam the earth!
That’s why people keep going back to them,
    keep approving what they say.
And what they say is this: “How could God possibly know!
    Does the Most High know anything at all!”
Look at these wicked ones,
    always relaxed, piling up the wealth!
Meanwhile, I’ve kept my heart pure for no good reason;
I’ve washed my hands to stay innocent for nothing.
I’m weighed down all day long.
    I’m punished every morning.
If I said, “I will talk about all this,”
    I would have been unfaithful to your children.
But when I tried to understand these things,
    it just seemed like hard work
    until I entered God’s sanctuary
        and understood what would happen to the wicked.
You will definitely put them on a slippery path;
    you will make them fall into ruin!
How quickly they are devastated,
    utterly destroyed by terrors!
As quickly as a dream departs from someone waking up, my Lord,
    when you are stirred up, you make them disappear.
When my heart was bitter,
    when I was all cut up inside,
I was stupid and ignorant.
    I acted like nothing but an animal toward you.
But I was still always with you!
    You held my strong hand!
You have guided me with your advice;
    later you will receive me with glory.
Do I have anyone else in heaven?
    There’s nothing on earth I desire except you.
My body and my heart fail,
    but God is my heart’s rock and my share forever.
Look! Those far from you die;
    you annihilate all those who are unfaithful to you.
But me? It’s good for me to be near God.
    I have taken my refuge in you, my Lord God,
        so I can talk all about your works!

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.

I have taken my refuge in you, my Lord God.

Psalm prayer

Holy God,
may we find wisdom in your presence
and set our hope not on uncertain riches
but on the love that holds us to the end;
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Isaiah 48:1-11

Listen to this, house of Jacob,
    who are known by the name of Israel,
        descendants of Judah,
    who swear by the Lord’s name
        and invoke Israel’s God dishonestly and unrighteously.
    They are known as residents of the holy city,
        those who depend upon the God of Israel—
        the Lord of heavenly forces is his name.
Past things I announced long ago;
    from my mouth I proclaimed them.
    I acted suddenly, and they came about.
Because I know that you are stubborn,
    your neck is made of iron,
    and your forehead is bronze.
I informed you long ago;
    before they came about I proclaimed them to you
    so you wouldn’t say, “My idol did them;
    my wood statue and metal god commanded them.”
You’ve heard and seen all this—
    won’t you admit it?
From now on I’ll tell you new things,
    guarded secrets that you don’t know.
They are created now, not long ago;
    before today you hadn’t heard of them,
    so you won’t say, “I already knew them.”
You haven’t heard, nor have you known;
    as in ages past your ears are closed,
    because I knew what a traitor you were;
    you were known as a rebel from birth.
For the sake of my reputation I control my anger;
    for your sake I restrain my powerful radiance
    so as to not destroy you.
See, I have refined you, but not like silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of misery.
For the sake of my reputation, for my own sake, I will act,
    for why will my name be made impure?
    I won’t give my glory to another.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
1 Thessalonians 3

So when we couldn’t stand it any longer, we thought it was a good idea to stay on in Athens by ourselves, and we sent you Timothy, who is our brother and God’s coworker in the good news about Christ. We sent him to strengthen and encourage you in your faithfulness. We didn’t want any of you to be shaken by these problems. You know very well that we were meant to go through this. In fact, when we were with you, we kept on predicting that we were going to face problems exactly like what happened, as you know. That’s why I sent Timothy to find out about your faithfulness when I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was worried that the tempter might have tempted you so that our work would have been a waste of time.

Now Timothy has returned to us from you and has given us good news about your faithfulness and love! He says that you always have good memories about us and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you. Because of this, brothers and sisters, we were encouraged in all our distress and trouble through your faithfulness. For now we are alive if you are standing your ground in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you, given all the joy we have because of you before our God? Night and day, we pray more than ever to see all of you in person and to complete whatever you still need for your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus guide us on our way back to you. May the Lord cause you to increase and enrich your love for each other and for everyone in the same way as we also love you. May the love cause your hearts to be strengthened, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his people. Amen.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Magnificat (The Song of Mary)

Lord Jesus, you are the one who is to come, the one whom we await with longing hearts.

With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
He shows mercy to everyone,
from one generation to the next,
who honors him as God.
He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy, 
just as he promised to our ancestors, 
to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.

Luke 1:46-55

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.

Lord Jesus, you are the one who is to come, the one whom we await with longing hearts.

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.


Thanksgiving and intercession

Thanksgiving may be made for the day.
Intercessions are offered
for peace
for individuals and their needs


Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power
and come among us,
and with great might succor us;
that whereas, through our sins and wickedness
we are grievously hindered
in running the race that is set before us,
your bountiful grace and mercy
may speedily help and deliver us;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory, now and forever. 

The Lord’s Prayer

Awaiting his coming in glory,
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 the Lord, when he comes,
find us watching and waiting.