Wednesday morning December 13

Thursday morning
Tuesday morning

Preparation

Opening response

Lord, open our lips
and our mouth will proclaim your praise.

Reveal among us the light of your presence
that we may behold your power and glory.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory forever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence is kept.

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and forever.
Amen.

Hymn

Light of Those Whose Dreary Dwelling

Charles Wesley
           
Light of those whose dreary dwelling
Borders on the shades of death,
Come, and by thy love's revealing
Dissipate the clouds beneath.

The new heaven and earth's Creator,
In our deepest darkness rise,
Scattering all the night of nature,
Pouring eyesight on our eyes.

Still we wait for thine appearing;
Life and joy thy beams impart,
Chasing all our fears, and cheering
Every poor benighted heart.

Come, and manifest the favor
God hath for our ransomed race;
Come, thou universal Savior,
Come, and bring the gospel grace.

Save us in thy great compassion,
O thou mild, pacific Prince;
Give the knowledge of salvation,
Give the pardon of our sins.

By thine all restoring merit
Every burdened soul release;
Every weary, wandering spirit
Guide into thy perfect peace.

Confession of sin

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
very patient, and full of faithful love.
He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin
or repay us according to our wrongdoing.
Because as high as heaven is above the earth,
that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Holy God,
Holy and strong,
Holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

As far as east is from west—
that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him.

Let my whole being bless the Lord.
Let everything inside me bless his holy name.

Let my whole being bless the Lord,
and never forget all his good deeds.

The Word of God

Psalm 62

Refrain:
I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from him.

Only in God do I find rest;
    my salvation comes from him.
Only God is my rock and my salvation—
    my stronghold!—I won’t be shaken anymore.
How long will all of you attack others;
    how long will you tear them down
    as if they were leaning walls or broken-down fences?
The only desire of this people
    is to bring others down low;
    they delight in deception.
With their mouths they bless,
    but inside they are cursing. 
Oh, I must find rest in God only,
    because my hope comes from him!
Only God is my rock and my salvation—
    my stronghold!—I will not be shaken.
My deliverance and glory depend on God.
    God is my strong rock.
    My refuge is in God.
All you people: Trust in him at all times!
    Pour out your hearts before him!
    God is our refuge! 
Human beings are nothing but a breath.
    Human beings are nothing but lies.
    They don’t even register on a scale;
    taken all together they are lighter than a breath!
Don’t trust in violence;
    don’t set false hopes in robbery.
When wealth bears fruit,
    don’t set your heart on it.
God has spoken one thing—
    make it two things—
    that I myself have heard:
    that strength belongs to God,
    and faithful love comes from you, my Lord—
    and that you will repay
    everyone according to their deeds.

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.

Refrain:
I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from him.

Psalm prayer

O God, teach us to seek security,
not in money or theft,
not in human ambition or malice,
not in our own ability or power,
but in you, the only God,
our rock and our salvation.

Psalm 63

Refrain:
My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God.

God! My God! It’s you—
    I search for you!
    My whole being thirsts for you!
    My body desires you
        in a dry and tired land,
        no water anywhere.
Yes, I’ve seen you in the sanctuary;
    I’ve seen your power and glory.
My lips praise you
    because your faithful love
    is better than life itself!
So I will bless you as long as I’m alive;
    I will lift up my hands in your name.
I’m fully satisfied—
    as with a rich dinner.
My mouth speaks praise with joy on my lips—
    whenever I ponder you on my bed,
    whenever I meditate on you
        in the middle of the night—
    because you’ve been a help to me and I shout for joy in the protection of your wings.
My whole being clings to you;
    your strong hand upholds me.
But what about those people who want to destroy me?
    Let them go into the bowels of the earth!
    Let their blood flow by the sword!
    Let them be food for wild jackals!
But the king should rejoice in God;
    everyone who swears by God should give praise
        when the mouths of liars are shut for good.

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.

Refrain:
My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God.

Psalm prayer

To you we come, radiant Lord,
the goal of all our desiring,
beyond all earthly beauty;
gentle protector, strong deliverer,
in the night you are our confidence;
from first light be our joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Isaiah 31

Doom to those going down to Egypt for help!
    They rely on horses,
    trust in chariots because they are many,
    and on riders because they are very strong.
But they don’t look to the holy one of Israel;
    they don’t seek the Lord.
But God also knows how to bring disaster;
    he has not taken back his words.
God will rise up against the house of evildoers
    and against the help of those who do wrong.
Egypt is human and not divine;
    their horses are flesh and not spirit.
The Lord will extend his hand;
    the helper will stumble,
    those helped will fall,
    and they will all die together.

The Lord has said to me:
When the lion growls,
    the young lion, over its prey,
    though a band of shepherds is summoned against it,
    isn’t scared off by their noise
    or frightened by their roar.
So the Lord of heavenly forces will go down
    to fight on Mount Zion and on her hill.
Like birds flying aloft,
    so the Lord of heavenly forces will shield Jerusalem:
    shielding and saving, sparing and rescuing.

People of Israel, return to the one whom you have deeply betrayed! On that day, you will each reject the idols of silver and the idols of gold, which you have sinfully made for yourselves.

Assyria will fall, but not by a human sword—
    a sword not made by humans will devour them.
    They will flee before the sword;
    their young men will become forced laborers.
In horror they will flee from their stronghold;
    their officers will be terrified at the signal,
        says the Lord, whose fire is in Zion
        and whose oven is in Jerusalem.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 15:1-20

Then Pharisees and legal experts came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why are your disciples breaking the elders’ rules handed down to us? They don’t ritually purify their hands by washing before they eat.”

Jesus replied, “Why do you break the command of God by keeping the rules handed down to you? For God said, Honor your father and your mother, and The person who speaks against father or mother will certainly be put to death. But you say, ‘If you tell your father or mother, “Everything I’m expected to contribute to you I’m giving to God as a gift,” then you don’t have to honor your father.’ So you do away with God’s Law for the sake of the rules that have been handed down to you. Hypocrites! Isaiah really knew what he was talking about when he prophesied about you, This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. Their worship of me is empty since they teach instructions that are human rules.”

Jesus called the crowd near and said to them, “Listen and understand. It’s not what goes into the mouth that contaminates a person in God’s sight. It’s what comes out of the mouth that contaminates the person.”

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended by what you just said?”

Jesus replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be pulled up. Leave the Pharisees alone. They are blind people who are guides to blind people. But if a blind person leads another blind person, they will both fall into a ditch.”

Then Peter spoke up, “Explain this riddle to us.”

Jesus said, “Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you know that everything that goes into the mouth enters the stomach and goes out into the sewer? But what goes out of the mouth comes from the heart. And that’s what contaminates a person in God’s sight. Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adultery, sexual sins, thefts, false testimonies, and insults. These contaminate a person in God’s sight. But eating without washing hands doesn’t contaminate in God’s sight.”

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

Refrain:
Jerusalem, look to the east and see the joy that is coming to you from God.

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.

Refrain:
Jerusalem, look to the east and see the joy that is coming to you from God.

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.

Prayers

Intercession and thanksgiving

Prayers may be offered for:

the day and its tasks
the world and its needs
the church and her life

Prayers may include the following concerns:

The church, that she may be ready for the coming of Christ
The leaders of the church
The nations, that they may be subject to the rule of God
Those who are working for justice in the world
The broken, that they may find God’s healing

Other intercessions and supplications may be offered as the Holy Spirit leads.

Response

Lord, hear your people
and answer our prayers.

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.   
Amen.

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.
Amen.

Conclusion

May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting.
Amen.