Friday morning March 18

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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.


Help, Gracious Lord, My Deep Distress

Charles Wesley
Help, gracious Lord, my deep distress
To thee with anguish I reveal,
Who every sickness, and disease
Dost still among thy people heal.

O wouldst thou undertake for me,
Exert thy healing art divine!
My complicated malady
Mocks every other help but thine.

A secret, slow, internal fire
Consumes my soul with lingering pains,
The restless fever of desire
Throughout my fallen nature reigns.

Jesus, this eagerness of praise,
This raging thirst of creature-good,
Allay with thy refreshing grace,
Extinguish with thy balmy blood.

See the poor patient at thy feet,
And now the gracious wonder show:
I long thy healing touch to meet,
I gasp thy pardoning love to know.

Now, Savior, now the fever chide,
The virtue of thy name exert,
The fierceness of desire and pride
Rebuke, and bid my sin depart.

Soon as thy hand the balm applies,
My dying soul from sin set free
With instantaneous health shall rise,
And gladly serve thy saints and thee;

The servant of thy church below,
With all who know their sins forgiven,
Pardoned I in thy peace shall go,
And walk, and run, and fly to heaven.

Confession of sin

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor. 

Silence may be kept.

Most merciful God, 
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed, 
by what we have done, 
and by what we have left undone. 
We have not loved you with our whole heart; 
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. 
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. 
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, 
have mercy on us and forgive us; 
that we may delight in your will, 
and walk in your ways, 
to the glory of your name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins
through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all
goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in
eternal life. 

The Word of God

Psalm 22

You are the holy one, enthroned. You are Israel’s praise.

My God! My God,
    why have you left me all alone?
    Why are you so far from saving me—
        so far from my anguished groans?
My God, I cry out during the day,
    but you don’t answer;
    even at nighttime I don’t stop.
You are the holy one, enthroned.
You are Israel’s praise.
Our ancestors trusted you—
    they trusted you and you rescued them;
    they cried out to you and they were saved;
    they trusted you and they weren’t ashamed.

But I’m just a worm, less than human;
    insulted by one person, despised by another.
All who see me make fun of me—
    they gape, shaking their heads:
    “He committed himself to the Lord,
        so let God rescue him;
        let God deliver him
        because God likes him so much.”
But you are the one who pulled me from the womb,
    placing me safely at my mother’s breasts.
I was thrown on you from birth;
    you’ve been my God
    since I was in my mother’s womb.
Please don’t be far from me,
    because trouble is near
        and there’s no one to help.

Many bulls surround me;
    mighty bulls from Bashan encircle me.
They open their mouths at me
    like a lion ripping and roaring!
I’m poured out like water.
    All my bones have fallen apart.
        My heart is like wax;
        it melts inside me.
My strength is dried up
    like a piece of broken pottery.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you’ve set me down in the dirt of death.
Dogs surround me;
    a pack of evil people circle me like a lion—
    oh, my poor hands and feet!
I can count all my bones!
    Meanwhile, they just stare at me, watching me.
They divvy up my garments among themselves;
    they cast lots for my clothes.

But you, Lord! Don’t be far away!
    You are my strength!
    Come quick and help me!
Deliver me from the sword.
    Deliver my life from the power of the dog.
    Save me from the mouth of the lion.
    From the horns of the wild oxen
    you have answered me!

I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    I will praise you in the very center of the congregation!
All of you who revere the Lord—praise him!
    All of you who are Jacob’s descendants—honor him!
    All of you who are all Israel’s offspring—
        stand in awe of him!
Because he didn’t despise or detest
    the suffering of the one who suffered—
    he didn’t hide his face from me.
    No, he listened when I cried out to him for help.

I offer praise in the great congregation
    because of you;
    I will fulfill my promises
    in the presence of those who honor God.
Let all those who are suffering eat and be full!
    Let all who seek the Lord praise him!
        I pray your hearts live forever!
Every part of the earth
    will remember and come back to the Lord;
    every family among all the nations will worship you.
Because the right to rule belongs to the Lord,
    he rules all nations.
Indeed, all the earth’s powerful
    will worship him;
    all who are descending to the dust
    will kneel before him;
    my being also lives for him.
Future descendants will serve him;
    generations to come will be told about my Lord.
They will proclaim God’s righteousness
        to those not yet born,
        telling them what God has done.

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 are the holy one, enthroned. You are Israel’s praise.

Psalm prayer

Restless with grief and fear,
the abandoned turn to you:
in every hour of trial,
good Lord, deliver us,
O God most holy, God most strong,
whose wisdom is the cross of Christ.

Psalm 126

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are overjoyed.

When the Lord changed Zion’s circumstances for the better,
    it was like we had been dreaming.
Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter;
    our tongues were filled with joyful shouts.
It was even said, at that time, among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them!”
Yes, the Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are overjoyed.
Lord, change our circumstances for the better,
    like dry streams in the desert waste!
Let those who plant with tears
    reap the harvest with joyful shouts.
Let those who go out,
    crying and carrying their seed,
    come home with joyful shouts,
    carrying bales of grain!

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 has done great things for us, and we are overjoyed.

Psalm prayer

Lord, as you send rain and flowers
even to the wilderness,
renew us by your Holy Spirit,
help us to sow good seed in time of adversity
and to live to rejoice in your good harvest of all creation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Exodus 10

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh. I’ve made him and his officials stubborn so that I can show them my signs and so that you can tell your children and grandchildren how I overpowered the Egyptians with the signs I did among them. You will know that I am the Lord.”

So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the Lord, the Hebrews’ God, says: How long will you refuse to respect me? Let my people go so that they can worship me. Otherwise, if you refuse to let my people go, I’m going to bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the landscape so that you won’t be able to see the ground. They will eat the last bit of vegetation that was left after the hail. They will eat all your trees growing in the fields. The locusts will fill your houses and all your officials’ houses and all the Egyptians’ houses. Your parents and even your grandparents have never seen anything like it during their entire lifetimes in this fertile land.” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.

Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man trap us in a corner like this? Let the people go so that they can worship the Lord their God. Don’t you get it? Egypt is being destroyed!”

So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go! Worship the Lord your God! But who exactly is going with you?”

Moses said, “We’ll go with our young and old, with our sons and daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we all must observe the Lord’s festival.”

Pharaoh said to them, “Yes, the Lord will be with you, all right, especially if I let your children go with you! Obviously, you are plotting some evil scheme. No way! Only your men can go and worship the Lord, because that’s what you asked for.” Then Pharaoh had them chased out of his presence.

Then the Lord said to Moses: “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt so that the locusts will swarm over the land of Egypt and eat all of the land’s grain and everything that the hail left.” So Moses stretched out his shepherd’s rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow over the land all that day and all that night. When morning came, the east wind had carried in the locusts. The locusts swarmed over the whole land of Egypt and settled on the whole country. Such a huge swarming of locusts had never happened before and would never happen ever again. They covered the whole landscape so that the land turned black with them. They ate all of the land’s grain and all of the orchards’ fruit that the hail had left. Nothing green was left in any orchard or in any grain field in the whole land of Egypt.

Pharaoh called urgently for Moses and Aaron and said, “I’ve sinned against the Lord your God and against you. Please forgive my sin this time. Pray to the Lord your God just to take this deathly disaster away from me.”

So Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. The Lord turned the wind into a very strong west wind that lifted the locusts and drove them into the Reed Sea. Not a single locust was left in the whole country of Egypt. But the Lord made Pharaoh stubborn so that he wouldn’t let the Israelites go.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over the land of Egypt, a darkness that you can feel.” So Moses raised his hand toward the sky, and an intense darkness fell on the whole land of Egypt for three days. People couldn’t see each other, and they couldn’t go anywhere for three days. But the Israelites all had light where they lived.

Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go! Worship the Lord! Only your flocks and herds need to stay behind. Even your children can go with you.”

But Moses said, “You need to let us have sacrifices and entirely burned offerings to present to the Lord our God. So our livestock must go with us. Not one animal can be left behind. We’ll need some of them for worshipping the Lord our God. We won’t know which to use to worship the Lord until we get there.”

But the Lord made Pharaoh stubborn so that he wasn’t willing to let them go. Pharaoh said to him, “Get out of here! Make sure you never see my face again, because the next time you see my face you will die.”

Moses said, “You’ve said it! I’ll never see your face again!”

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Hebrews 13:1-16

Keep loving each other like family. Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it. Remember prisoners as if you were in prison with them, and people who are mistreated as if you were in their place. Marriage must be honored in every respect, with no cheating on the relationship, because God will judge the sexually immoral person and the person who commits adultery. Your way of life should be free from the love of money, and you should be content with what you have. After all, he has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. This is why we can confidently say,

The Lord is my helper,
    and I won’t be afraid.
What can people do to me?

Remember your leaders who spoke God’s word to you. Imitate their faith as you consider the way their lives turned out. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Don’t be misled by the many strange teachings out there. It’s a good thing for the heart to be strengthened by grace rather than by food. Food doesn’t help those who live in this context. We have an altar, and those who serve as priests in the meeting tent don’t have the right to eat from it. The blood of the animals is carried into the holy of holies by the high priest as an offering for sin, and their bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy with his own blood.

So now, let’s go to him outside the camp, bearing his shame. We don’t have a permanent city here, but rather we are looking for the city that is still to come.

So let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through him, which is the fruit from our lips that confess his name. Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.

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


Lord of life
In your mercy, hear us.

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.