Friday morning December 1

Saturday morning
Thursday morning


Opening response

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

All your faithful ones bless you.
They speak of the glory of your kingdom.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
ruler and judge of all,
to you be praise and glory forever.
In the darkness of this age that is passing away
may the light of your presence which the saints enjoy
surround our steps as we journey on.
May we reflect your glory this day
and so be made ready to see your face
in the heavenly city where night shall be no more.
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.


Drooping Soul, Shake Off Thy Fears

Charles Wesley
Drooping soul, shake off thy fears,
Fearful soul be strong, be bold;
Tarry till the Lord appears.
Never, never quit thy hold!
Murmur not at his delay,
Dare not set thy God a time,
Calmly for his coming stay,
Leave it, leave it all to him.

Fainting soul, be bold, be strong
Wait the leisure of thy Lord;
Though it seem to tarry long,
True and faithful is his word;
On his word my soul I cast
(He cannot himself deny)
Surely it shall speak at last;
It shall speak, and shall not lie.

Everyone that seeks shall find,
Everyone that asks shall have,
Christ, the Savior of mankind,
Willing, able, all to save;
I shall his salvation see,
I in faith on Jesus call,
I from sin shall he set free,
Perfectly set free from all.

Lord, my time is in thine hand,
Weak and helpless as I am,
Surely thou canst make me stand;
l believe in Jesus’ name:
Savior in temptation thou;
Thou hast saved me heretofore,
Thou from sin dost save me now,
Thou shalt save me evermore.

Confession of sin

O King enthroned on high,
filling the earth with your glory:
holy is your name,
Lord God almighty.

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

In our sinfulness we cry to you
to take our guilt away,
and to cleanse our lips to speak your word,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May the God of all healing and forgiveness
draw us to himself,
and cleanse us from all our sins
that we may behold the glory of his Son,
the Word made flesh,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Word of God

Psalm 139

Examine me, God! Look at my heart!

Lord, you have examined me.
    You know me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up.
    Even from far away, you comprehend my plans.
You study my traveling and resting.
    You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways.
There isn’t a word on my tongue, Lord,
    that you don’t already know completely.
You surround me—front and back.
    You put your hand on me.
That kind of knowledge is too much for me;
    it’s so high above me that I can’t fathom it.
Where could I go to get away from your spirit?
    Where could I go to escape your presence?
If I went up to heaven, you would be there.
    If I went down to the grave, you would be there too!
If I could fly on the wings of dawn,
    stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean—
        even there your hand would guide me;
        even there your strong hand would hold me tight!
If I said, “The darkness will definitely hide me;
        the light will become night around me,”
    even then the darkness isn’t too dark for you!
        Nighttime would shine bright as day,
        because darkness is the same as light to you!
You are the one who created my innermost parts;
    you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb.
I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart.
    Your works are wonderful—I know that very well.
My bones weren’t hidden from you
    when I was being put together in a secret place,
    when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my embryo,
    and on your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me,
    before any one of them had yet happened.
God, your plans are incomprehensible to me!
    Their total number is countless!
If I tried to count them—they outnumber grains of sand!
    If I came to the very end—I’d still be with you.
If only, God, you would kill the wicked!
    If only murderers would get away from me—
    the people who talk about you, but only for wicked schemes;
        the people who are your enemies,
        who use your name as if it were of no significance.
Don’t I hate everyone who hates you?
    Don’t I despise those who attack you?
Yes, I hate them—through and through!
    They’ve become my enemies too.
Examine me, God! Look at my heart!
    Put me to the test! Know my anxious thoughts!
Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me,
    then lead me on the eternal path!

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.

Examine me, God! Look at my heart!

Psalm prayer

Creator God,
may every breath we take be for your glory,
may every footstep show you as our way,
that, trusting in your presence in this world,
we may, beyond this life, still be with you
where you are alive and reign
forever and ever.

Old Testament reading
Isaiah 22:1-14

An oracle about the Valley of Vision.

What is wrong with you,
    that you have all gone up to the rooftops,
    you who are filled with noise,
    you roaring city, you party town?
Your dead weren’t slaughtered by the sword;
    they didn’t die in battle.
All your leaders escaped together
    but were captured without a single bow shot.
    All your escapees were bound together, even though they fled far away.[a]
Therefore, I said, “Don’t look at me;
        let me weep bitterly.
    Don’t try to comfort me
        about the destruction of my dearly loved people.”
The Lord God of heavenly forces has a day of tumult and trampling and turmoil in the Valley of Vision,
        a breaking down of walls,
        a cry for help to the mountains.
Elam carried the quiver with chariots and horsemen,
    and Kir uncovered the shield.
Your finest valleys were filled with chariots,
    and horsemen doggedly guarded the gate.
Judah’s covering has been stripped away.

On that day, you trusted the weapons in the Forest House.
    You observed the many broken defenses in David’s City,
    and you collected the waters of the lower pool.
You counted Jerusalem’s houses,
    and you tore down houses to fortify the wall.
You made a reservoir between the walls for the water of the earlier pool.
    But you didn’t trust its maker;
    you didn’t consider the one who planned it long ago.

The Lord God of heavenly forces called on that day
    for weeping and mourning, and shaven heads, and wearing of mourning clothes.
But instead there was
    fun and frivolity,
    killing of cattle
    and slaughtering of sheep,
    eating of meat and drinking of wine:
    “Eat and drink! Tomorrow we will die!”
But the Lord of heavenly forces has revealed in my hearing:
    This iniquity won’t be forgiven you until you die, says the Lord God of heavenly forces.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 11:2-19

Now when John heard in prison about the things the Christ was doing, he sent word by his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

Jesus responded, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them. Happy are those who don’t stumble and fall because of me.”

When John’s disciples had gone, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John: “What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A stalk blowing in the wind? What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in refined clothes? Look, those who wear refined clothes are in royal palaces. What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. He is the one of whom it is written: Look, I’m sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way before you.

“I assure you that no one who has ever been born is greater than John the Baptist. Yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven is violently attacked as violent people seize it. All the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John came. If you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let the person who has ears, hear.

“To what will I compare this generation? It is like a child sitting in the marketplaces calling out to others, ‘We played the flute for you and you didn’t dance. We sang a funeral song and you didn’t mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ Yet the Human One came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved to be right by her works.”

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

Lord, you have raised up a mighty savior for us in your servant David’s house. 

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.

Lord, you have raised up a mighty savior for us in your servant David’s house.

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 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 saints on earth, that they may live as citizens of heaven
All people, that they may hear and believe the word of God
All who fear the winter months
All sovereigns and political leaders, that they may imitate the righteous rule of Christ
All who grieve or wait with the dying

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


Father, by your Spirit
Bring in your kingdom.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

Eternal Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven
      that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. 

The Lord’s Prayer

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 has opened the kingdom of heaven, bring us to reign with him in glory.