Saturday morning January 2

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Opening response

Lord, open our lips
and our mouth will proclaim your praise.
You laid the foundation of the earth
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, sovereign God,
creator of heaven and earth,
to you be praise and glory forever.
As your living Word, eternal in heaven,
assumed the frailty of our mortal flesh,
may the light of your love be born in us
to fill our hearts with joy as we sing:
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


Infinite God, To Thee We Raise

Charles Wesley

Infinite God, to Thee we raise
Our hearts in solemn songs of praise,
By all thy works on earth adored,
We worship thee, the common Lord;
The everlasting Father own,
And bow our souls before thy throne.

Thee all the choir of angels sings,
The Lord of hosts, the King of kings;
Cherubs proclaim thy praise aloud,
And seraphs shout the triune God;
And, holy, holy, holy, cry,
Thy glory fills both earth and sky!

Head of the martyrs’ noble host,
Of thee they justly make their boast;
The church, to earth’s remotest bounds,
Her heavenly Founder’s praise resounds;
And strives, with those around the throne,
To hymn the mystic three in one.

Father of endless majesty,
All might and love they render thee;
Thy true and only Son adore,
The same in dignity and power;
And God the Holy Ghost declare,
The saints’ eternal Comforter.

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 18:1-30

The Lord my God illumines my darkness.

He said: I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my solid rock,
    my fortress, my rescuer.
My God is my rock—
I take refuge in him!—
        he’s my shield,
        my salvation’s strength,
        my place of safety.
Because he is praiseworthy,
    I cried out to the Lord,
    and I was saved from my enemies.
Death’s cords were wrapped around me;
    rivers of wickedness terrified me.
The cords of the grave surrounded me;
    death’s traps held me tight.
In my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    I called to my God for help.
God heard my voice from his temple;
    I called to him for help,
    and my call reached his ears.
The earth rocked and shook;
    the bases of the mountains trembled and reeled
    because of God’s anger.
Smoke went up from God’s nostrils;
    out of his mouth came a devouring fire;
    flaming coals blazed out in front of him!
God parted the skies and came down;
    thick darkness was beneath his feet.
God mounted the heavenly creatures and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
God made darkness cloak him;
    his covering was dark water and dense cloud.
God’s clouds went ahead
    of the brightness before him;
    hail and coals of fire went too.
The Lord thundered in heaven;
    the Most High made his voice heard
    with hail and coals of fire.
God shot his arrows, scattering the enemy;
    he sent the lightning and threw them into confusion.
The seabeds were exposed;
    the earth’s foundations were laid bare
        at your rebuke, Lord,
        at the angry blast of air coming from your nostrils.
From on high God reached down and grabbed me;
    he took me out of all that water.
God saved me from my powerful enemy,
    saved me from my foes,
    who were too much for me.
They came at me on the very day of my distress,
    but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out to wide-open spaces;
    he pulled me out safe
    because he is pleased with me.
The Lord rewarded me for my righteousness;
    he restored me because my hands are clean,
    because I have kept the Lord’s ways.
    I haven’t acted wickedly against my God.
All his rules are right in front of me;
    I haven’t turned away from any of his laws.
I have lived with integrity before him;
    I’ve kept myself from wrongdoing.
And so the Lord restored me for my righteousness
    because my hands are clean in his eyes.
You deal faithfully with the faithful;
    you show integrity
        toward the one who has integrity.
You are pure toward the pure,
    but toward the crooked, you are tricky.
You are the one who saves people who suffer
    and brings down those with proud eyes.
You are the one who lights my lamp—
    the Lord my God illumines my darkness.
With you I can charge into battle;
    with my God I can leap over a wall.
God! His way is perfect;
    the Lord’s word is tried and true.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

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 Lord my God illumines my darkness.

Psalm prayer

From your royal throne, O God, 
you sent your living Word
to pierce the gloom of oppression;
so, in our souls’ night,
come with your saving help
and penetrate our darkness with the
rays of your glory
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Ruth 1

During the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. A man with his wife and two sons went from Bethlehem of Judah to dwell in the territory of Moab. The name of that man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They entered the territory of Moab and settled there.

But Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died. Then only she was left, along with her two sons. They took wives for themselves, Moabite women; the name of the first was Orpah and the name of the second was Ruth. And they lived there for about ten years.

But both of the sons, Mahlon and Chilion, also died. Only the woman was left, without her two children and without her husband.

Then she arose along with her daughters-in-law to return from the field of Moab, because while in the territory of Moab she had heard that the Lord had paid attention to his people by providing food for them. She left the place where she had been, and her two daughters-in-law went with her. They went along the road to return to the land of Judah.

Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, “Go, turn back, each of you to the household of your mother. May the Lord deal faithfully with you, just as you have done with the dead and with me. May the Lord provide for you so that you may find security, each woman in the household of her husband.” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.

But they replied to her, “No, instead we will return with you, to your people.”

Naomi replied, “Turn back, my daughters. Why would you go with me? Will there again be sons in my womb, that they would be husbands for you? Turn back, my daughters. Go. I am too old for a husband. If I were to say that I have hope, even if I had a husband tonight, and even more, if I were to bear sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you refrain from having a husband? No, my daughters. This is more bitter for me than for you, since the Lord’s will has come out against me.”

Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth stayed with her. Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her gods. Turn back after your sister-in-law.”

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do this to me and more so if even death separates me from you.” When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her about it.

So both of them went along until they arrived at Bethlehem. When they arrived at Bethlehem, the whole town was excited on account of them, and the women of the town asked, “Can this be Naomi?”

She replied to them, “Don’t call me Naomi, but call me Mara, for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has returned me empty. Why would you call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has deemed me guilty?”

Thus Naomi returned. And Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, returned with her from the territory of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Colossians 2:8-23

See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ. All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body. And you have been filled by him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. You were also circumcised by him. This wasn’t performed by human hands—the whole body was removed through this circumcision by Christ. You were buried with him through baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead because of the things you had done wrong and because your body wasn’t circumcised, God made you alive with Christ and forgave all the things you had done wrong. He destroyed the record of the debt we owed, with its requirements that worked against us. He canceled it by nailing it to the cross. When he disarmed the rulers and authorities, he exposed them to public disgrace by leading them in a triumphal parade.

So don’t let anyone judge you about eating or drinking or about a festival, a new moon observance, or sabbaths. These religious practices are only a shadow of what was coming—the body that cast the shadow is Christ. Don’t let anyone who wants to practice harsh self-denial and worship angels rob you of the prize. They go into detail about what they have seen in visions and have become unjustifiably arrogant by their selfish way of thinking. They don’t stay connected to the head. The head nourishes and supports the whole body through the joints and ligaments, so the body grows with a growth that is from God.

If you died with Christ to the way the world thinks and acts, why do you submit to rules and regulations as though you were living in the world? “Don’t handle!” “Don’t taste!” “Don’t touch!” All these things cease to exist when they are used. Such rules are human commandments and teachings. They look like they are wise with this self-made religion and their self-denial by the harsh treatment of the body, but they are no help against indulging in selfish immoral behavior.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

You will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

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.

You will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

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

Almighty God,
who wonderfully created us in your own image
and yet more wonderfully restored us
through your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as he came to share in our humanity,
so we may share the life of his divinity;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. 

The Lord’s Prayer

Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
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, who has called us out of darkness
into his marvelous light,
bless us and fill us with peace.