Thursday morning December 7

Friday morning
Wednesday morning


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.


Ah, When Shall I Awake

Charles Wesley
Ah, when shall I awake
From sin's soft-soothing power,
The slumber from my spirit shake,
And rise to fall no more!
Awake, no more to sleep,
But stand with constant care,
Looking for God my soul to keep,
And watching unto prayer!

O could I always pray?
And never, never faint,
But simply to my God display
My every care and want!
I know that thou wouldst give.
More than I can request;
Thou still art ready to receive
My soul to perfect rest.

I feel thee willing, Lord,
A sinful world to save,
All may obey thy gracious word,
May peace and pardon have;
Not one of all the race
But may return to thee,
But at the throne of sovereign grace
May fall and weep, like me.

Here will I ever lie,
And tell thee all my care,
And, “Father, Abba, Father,” cry,
And pour a ceaseless prayer;
Till thou my sins subdue,
Till thou my sins destroy,
My spirit after God renew,
And fill with peace and joy.

Messiah, Prince of peace,
Into my soul bring in
Thy everlasting righteousness,
And make an end of sin.
Into all those that seek
Redemption through thy blood
The sanctifying Spirit speak,
The plenitude of God.

Let us in patience wait
Till faith shall make us whole;
Till thou shalt all things new create
In each believing soul;
Who can resist thy will?
Speak, and it shall be done!
Thou shalt the work of faith fulfil,
And perfect us in one.

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 42

Just like a deer that craves streams of water,
    my whole being craves you, God.
My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When will I come and see God’s face?
My tears have been my food both day and night,
    as people constantly questioned me,
    “Where’s your God now?”
But I remember these things as I bare my soul:
    how I made my way to the mighty one’s abode,
    to God’s own house,
        with joyous shouts and thanksgiving songs—
        a huge crowd celebrating the festival!
Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed?
    Why are you so upset inside?
Hope in God!
    Because I will again give him thanks,
        my saving presence and my God.
My whole being is depressed.
    That’s why I remember you
    from the land of Jordan and Hermon,
        from Mount Mizar.
Deep called to deep at the noise of your waterfalls;
    all your massive waves surged over me.
By day the Lord commands his faithful love;
    by night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.
I will say to God, my solid rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
        Why do I have to walk around,
        sad, oppressed by enemies?”
With my bones crushed, my foes make fun of me,
    constantly questioning me: “Where’s your God now?”
Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed?
    Why are you so upset inside?
        Hope in God!
        Because I will again give him thanks,
        my saving presence and my God.

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.

Psalm prayer

Come, creator Spirit, source of life;
sustain us when our hearts are heavy
and our wells have run dry,
for you are the Father’s gift,
with him who is our living water, 
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 43

Send your light and truth—those will guide me!

Establish justice for me, God!
    Argue my case against ungodly people!
    Rescue me from the dishonest and unjust!
Because you are my God, my protective fortress!
    Why have you rejected me?
    Why do I have to walk around,
        sad, oppressed by enemies?
Send your light and truth—those will guide me!
    Let them bring me to your holy mountain,
        to your dwelling place.
Let me come to God’s altar—
let me come to God, my joy, my delight—
    then I will give you thanks with the lyre,
    God, my God!
Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed?
    Why are you so upset inside?
    Hope in God!
        Because I will again give him thanks,
        my saving presence and my God.

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.

Send your light and truth—those will guide me!

Psalm prayer

Come, creator Spirit, light and truth;
bring us to the altar of life
and renew our joy and gladness
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Isaiah 28:14-29

Therefore, hear the Lord’s word,
    you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem.
You said, “We’ve cut a deal with death;
    with the underworld we made a pact.
When the overflowing flood passes through, it won’t reach us;
    for we have made lies our hiding place,
    and in falsehood we take shelter.”
Therefore, the Lord God says:
Look! I’m laying in Zion a stone,
    a tested stone, a valuable cornerstone,
    a sure foundation:
    the one who trusts won’t tremble.
I will make justice the measuring line
    and righteousness the plumb line.
But hail will sweep away the hiding place of lies,
    and water will overflow the shelter.
Your deal with death will be dissolved,
    and your pact with the grave won’t stand.
The rushing flood: when it passes through,
    you will be annihilated by it.
Every time it passes through it will take you,
    for morning by morning it will pass,
    by day and by night.
    It will be nothing but terror to understand the message.
The bed is too short to stretch out,
    and the shroud is too narrow to cover oneself.

Just as on Mount Perazim, the Lord will rise up;
    as in the Gibeon Valley he will rage to do his deed—strange is his deed!—
    And to work his work—foreign is his work!
So now stop your scoffing,
        or your chains will be tightened,
    because destruction has been ordered—I have heard it!—
        by the Lord God of heavenly forces against the whole land.

Listen and hear my voice;
    pay attention and hear my word:
Does the plowman plow without stopping for planting,
    opening and harrowing their ground?
When he has smoothed its surface,
    doesn’t he scatter fennel, and sow cumin,
    and plant wheat and barley in their places,
    and spelt as a border?
They are properly ordered;
    their God directs them.
Fennel isn’t threshed with a threshing sledge,
    nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,
    but fennel is beaten with a staff,
    and cumin with a rod.
Bread grain is crushed,
    but the thresher doesn’t thresh it forever.
    He drives the cart wheel over it;
        he spreads it out but doesn’t crush it.
This also comes from the Lord of heavenly forces,
    who gives wondrous counsel and increases wisdom.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 13.1-23

That day Jesus went out of the house and sat down beside the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he climbed into a boat and sat down. The whole crowd was standing on the shore.

He said many things to them in parables: “A farmer went out to scatter seed. As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path, and birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it scorched the plants, and they dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked them. Other seed fell on good soil and bore fruit, in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one. Everyone who has ears should pay attention.”

Jesus’ disciples came and said to him, “Why do you use parables when you speak to the crowds?”

Jesus replied, “Because they haven’t received the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but you have. For those who have will receive more and they will have more than enough. But as for those who don’t have, even the little they have will be taken away from them. This is why I speak to the crowds in parables: although they see, they don’t really see; and although they hear, they don’t really hear or understand. What Isaiah prophesied has become completely true for them:

You will hear, to be sure, but never understand; 
        and you will certainly see but never recognize what you are seeing.
    For this people’s senses have become calloused, 
        and they’ve become hard of hearing, 
        and they’ve shut their eyes
            so that they won’t see with their eyes
            or hear with their ears
            or understand with their minds, 
                and change their hearts and lives that I may heal them.

“Happy are your eyes because they see. Happy are your ears because they hear. I assure you that many prophets and righteous people wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they didn’t.

“Consider then the parable of the farmer. Whenever people hear the word about the kingdom and don’t understand it, the evil one comes and carries off what was planted in their hearts. This is the seed that was sown on the path. As for the seed that was spread on rocky ground, this refers to people who hear the word and immediately receive it joyfully. Because they have no roots, they last for only a little while. When they experience distress or abuse because of the word, they immediately fall away. As for the seed that was spread among thorny plants, this refers to those who hear the word, but the worries of this life and the false appeal of wealth choke the word, and it bears no fruit. As for what was planted on good soil, this refers to those who hear and understand, and bear fruit and produce—in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one.”

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

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.

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.


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.


In faith we pray
We pray to you, our God.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armor of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
      to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, 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.