Sunday morning March 4

Monday morning
Saturday morning

Preparation

Opening response

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

Hear our voice, Lord, according to your faithful love,
according to your judgment give us life.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, God of compassion and mercy,
to you be praise and glory forever.
In the darkness of our sin,
your light breaks forth like the dawn
and your healing springs up for deliverance.
As we rejoice in the gift of your saving help,
sustain us with your bountiful Spirit
and open our lips to sing your 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

O When Shall We Supremely Blest

Charles Wesley
           
O when shall we supremely blest
Enter the rapturous unrest,
Partake the triumph of the sky,
And holy, holy, holy, cry?

We render thanks with one accord
To our Almighty God and Lord,
Who was, and is, and is to come,
Let Jesus all his power assume.

Jesus let his whole church adore
The elders, and the living four,
Worship divine to Christ be given
By every citizen of heaven!

With all that angel-host, with all
Those blessed saints we long to fall,
And sing in ecstasies unknown,
And praise him on his dazzling throne.

Honor, and majesty, and power,
And thanks and blessing evermore,
Who dost through endless ages live,
Thou, Lord, art worthy to receive.

For thou hast bid the creatures be,
And still subsist to pleasure thee,
From thee they came, to thee they tend,
Their gracious source, their glorious end!

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. 
Amen.

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.
Amen.

The Word of God

Psalm 18:1-25

Refrain: 
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.

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: 
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
Jeremiah 38

Shephatiah, Mattan’s son; Gedaliah, Pashhur’s son; Jucal, Shelemiah’s son; and Pashhur, Malchiah’s son heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people: The Lord proclaims: Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and disease. But whoever surrenders to the Babylonians will live; yes, their lives will be spared. The Lord proclaims: This city will certainly be handed over to the army of Babylon’s king, who will capture it.

Then the officials said to the king: “This man must be put to death! By saying such things, he is discouraging the few remaining troops left in the city, as well as all the people. This man doesn’t seek their welfare but their ruin!”

“He’s in your hands,” King Zedekiah said, “for the king can do nothing to stop you.” So they seized Jeremiah, threw him into the cistern of the royal prince Malchiah, within the prison quarters, and lowered him down by ropes. Now there wasn’t any water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah began to sink into the mud.

Ebed-melech the Cushite, a court official in the royal palace, got word that they had thrown Jeremiah into the cistern. Since the king was sitting at the Benjamin Gate, Ebed-melech left the palace and said to the king: “My master the king, these men have made a terrible mistake in treating the prophet Jeremiah the way they have; they have thrown him into the cistern where he will die of starvation, for there’s no bread left in the city.”

Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Cushite, “Take thirty men from here and take Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” So Ebed-melech took the men and returned to the palace, to an underground supply room, where he found some old rags and scraps of clothing.

Ebed-melech lowered them down the cistern by the ropes and called to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and scraps of clothing under your arms and hold on to the ropes.” When Jeremiah did this, they pulled him up by the ropes and got him out of the cistern. After that Jeremiah remained in the prison quarters.

King Zedekiah ordered that the prophet Jeremiah be brought to him at the third entrance of the Lord’s temple, where the king said to Jeremiah, “I want to ask you something, and don’t hide anything from me.”

Jeremiah replied, “If I do, you’ll kill me! And if I tell you what to do, you won’t listen to me!”

So King Zedekiah swore to Jeremiah behind closed doors, “As the Lord lives, who has given us this life, I won’t put you to death and I won’t hand you over to those who seek to kill you.”

So Jeremiah said to Zedekiah: “The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, you and your family will live, and this city will not be burned down. If you don’t surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will burn it down, and you won’t escape from them.”

King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I’m afraid that I will fall into the hands of the Judeans who have defected to the Babylonians, and they will torture me.”

“That won’t happen,” Jeremiah replied, “if you obey the Lord, whose message I bring. You will survive, and all will go well for you. But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the Lord has shown me: All the women left in the palace of the king of Judah will be led out to the officers of the king of Babylon. And they will say:

‘Your trusted friends have betrayed you;
        they have deceived you;
    now that your feet are stuck in the mud,
        they are nowhere to be found.’

“All your wives and children will be led out to the Babylonians, and you yourself won’t escape from them. The king of Babylon will capture you, and this city will be burned down.”

Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “No one is to know about these matters or else you will die. If the officials find out that we met, and they come and say to you, ‘Tell us what you said to the king. Don’t hide anything from us; otherwise, we’ll kill you. So what did the king say to you?’ you should say to them, ‘I was begging the king not to send me back to the house of Jonathan to die there.’”

Then all the officials approached Jeremiah to question him. And he responded exactly as the king had instructed him. So they stopped interrogating him because the conversation between the king and Jeremiah hadn’t been overheard. Jeremiah remained in the prison quarters until Jerusalem was captured.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Philippians 1:1-26

From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.

To all those in Philippi who are God’s people in Christ Jesus, along with your supervisors and servants.

May the grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace, both during my time in prison and in the defense and support of the gospel. God is my witness that I feel affection for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.

Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the things that have happened to me have actually advanced the gospel. The whole Praetorian Guard and everyone else knows that I’m in prison for Christ. Most of the brothers and sisters have had more confidence through the Lord to speak the word boldly and bravely because of my jail time. Some certainly preach Christ with jealous and competitive motives, but others preach with good motives. They are motivated by love, because they know that I’m put here to give a defense of the gospel; the others preach Christ because of their selfish ambition. They are insincere, hoping to cause me more pain while I’m in prison.

What do I think about this? Just this: since Christ is proclaimed in every possible way, whether from dishonest or true motives, I’m glad and I’ll continue to be glad. I’m glad because I know that this will result in my release through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It is my expectation and hope that I won’t be put to shame in anything. Rather, I hope with daring courage that Christ’s greatness will be seen in my body, now as always, whether I live or die. Because for me, living serves Christ and dying is even better. If I continue to live in this world, I get results from my work. But I don’t know what I prefer. I’m torn between the two because I want to leave this life and be with Christ, which is far better. However, it’s more important for me to stay in this world for your sake. I’m sure of this: I will stay alive and remain with all of you to help your progress and the joy of your faith, and to increase your pride in Christ Jesus through my presence when I visit you again.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

Refrain: 
Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.

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: 
Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.

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:

Those preparing for baptism and confirmation
Those serving through leadership
Those looking for forgiveness
Those misled by the false gods of this present age
All who are hungry

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

Response

Loving God, we look to you.
Receive our prayer.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

Almighty God,
whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
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. 
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Trusting in the compassion of God, 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 God our Redeemer show us compassion and love.
Amen.