Saturday, 15 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Saturday, 15 December 2018

Advent 
Ember Day

Psalm 145
I will exalt you, O God my King, and bless your name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless you and praise your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; his greatness is beyond all searching out.

One generation shall praise your works to another and declare your mighty acts.
They shall speak of the majesty of your glory, and I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
They shall speak of the might of your marvellous acts, and I will also tell of your greatness.
They shall pour forth the story of your abundant kindness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and merciful, long-suffering and of great goodness.
The Lord is loving to everyone and his mercy is over all his creatures.

All your works praise you, O Lord, and your faithful servants bless you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your mighty power, to make known to all peoples your mighty acts and the glorious splendour of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your dominion endures throughout all ages.

The Lord is sure in all his words and faithful in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all those who are bowed down.
The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season. You open wide your hand and fill all things living with plenty.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving in all his works.
The Lord is near to those who call upon him, to all who call upon him faithfully. He fulfils the desire of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

The Lord watches over those who love him, but all the wicked shall he destroy.

My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Isaiah 49.1-13
Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’
But I said, ‘I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.’

And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honoured in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength—he says,
‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’

Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers,
‘Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.’

Thus says the Lord:
In a time of favour I have answered you, on a day of salvation I have helped you; I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages; saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out’, to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
They shall feed along the ways, on all the bare heights shall be their pasture; they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. And I will turn all my mountains into a road, and my highways shall be raised up. Lo, these shall come from far away, and lo, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Syene.

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones.

1 Thessalonians 4.13-end
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

The Collect
O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


Friday, 14 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Friday, 14 December 2018

Advent 
John of the Cross, Poet, Teacher of the Faith,1591
Ember Day


Psalm 85
Lord, you were gracious to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the offence of your people and covered all their sins. You laid aside all your fury and turned from your wrathful indignation.

Restore us again, O God our Saviour, and let your anger cease from us. Will you be displeased with us for ever? Will you stretch out your wrath from one generation to another? Will you not give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.

I will listen to what the Lord God will say, for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful, that they turn not again to folly. Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.

Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other; truth shall spring up from the earth and righteousness look down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give all that is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness shall go before him and direct his steps in the way.

Psalm 86
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and in misery. Preserve my soul, for I am faithful; save your servant, for I put my trust in you. Be merciful to me, O Lord, for you are my God; I call upon you all the day long. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

For you, Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer and listen to the voice of my supplication. In the day of my distress I will call upon you, for you will answer me.

Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, nor any works like yours. All nations you have made shall come and worship you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wonderful things; you alone are God.

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; knit my heart to you, that I may fear your name. I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and glorify your name for evermore; for great is your steadfast love towards me, for you have delivered my soul from the depths of the grave.

O God, the proud rise up against me and a ruthless horde seek after my life; they have not set you before their eyes. But you, Lord, are gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and full of kindness and truth. Turn to me and have mercy upon me; give your strength to your servant and save the child of your handmaid. Show me a token of your favour, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; because you, O Lord, have helped and comforted me.

Isaiah 48.12-end
Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called: I am He; I am the first, and I am the last. My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they stand at attention.

Assemble, all of you, and hear! Who among them has declared these things? The Lord loves him; he shall perform his purpose on Babylon, and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans. I, even I, have spoken and called him, I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way. Draw near to me, hear this! From the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there. And now the Lord God has sent me and his spirit.

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go.
O that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your prosperity would have been like a river, and your success like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me.

Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it forth to the end of the earth; say, ‘The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!’ They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split open the rock and the water gushed out.

‘There is no peace’, says the Lord, ‘for the wicked.’

1 Thessalonians 4.1-12
Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you knows how to control your own body in holiness and honour, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one wrongs or exploits a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly towards outsiders and be dependent on no one.

The Collect
O God, the judge of all, who gave your servant John of the Cross a warmth of nature, a strength of purpose and a mystical faith that sustained him even in the darkness: shed your light on all who love you and grant them union of body and soul in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Thursday, 13 December 2018

Advent

Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304
Samuel Johnson, Moralist, 1784

Psalm 53
The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ Corrupt are they, and abominable in their wickedness; there is no one that does good.

God has looked down from heaven upon the children of earth, to see if there is anyone who is wise and seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way; all alike have become corrupt; there is no one that does good, no not one.

Have they no knowledge, those evildoers, who eat up my people as if they ate bread, and do not call upon God?

There shall they be in great fear, such fear as never was; for God will scatter the bones of the ungodly. They will be put to shame, because God has rejected them.

O that Israel’s salvation would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people then will Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

Psalm 54
Save me, O God, by your name and vindicate me by your power. Hear my prayer, O God; give heed to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and the ruthless seek after my life; they have not set God before them.

Behold, God is my helper; it is the Lord who upholds my life.

May evil rebound on those who lie in wait for me; destroy them in your faithfulness.

An offering of a free heart will I give you and praise your name, O Lord, for it is gracious. For he has delivered me out of all my trouble, and my eye has seen the downfall of my enemies.

Psalm 60
O God, you have cast us off and broken us; you have been angry; restore us to yourself again.
You have shaken the earth and torn it apart; heal its wounds, for it trembles.
You have made your people drink bitter things; we reel from the deadly wine you have given us.
You have made those who fear you to flee, to escape from the range of the bow.
That your beloved may be delivered, save us by your right hand and answer us.

God has spoken in his holiness: ‘I will triumph and divide Shechem, and share out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet and Judah my sceptre. Moab shall be my washpot; over Edom will I cast my sandal; across Philistia will I shout in triumph.’

Who will lead me into the strong city?
Who will bring me into Edom?
Have you not cast us off, O God?
Will you no longer go forth with our troops?

Grant us your help against the enemy, for earthly help is in vain. Through God will we do great acts, for it is he that shall tread down our enemies.

Isaiah 48.1-11
Hear this, O house of Jacob who are called by the name of Israel, and who came forth from the loins of Judah; who swear by the name of the Lord, and invoke the God of Israel,  but not in truth or right.  For they call themselves after the holy city, and lean on the God of Israel; the Lord of hosts is his name.

The former things I declared long ago,  they went out from my mouth and I made them known; then suddenly I did them and they came to pass. Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass,  I declared them to you from long ago, before they came to pass I announced them to you, so that you would not say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image and my cast image commanded them.’

You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known. They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, so that you could not say, ‘I already knew them.’  You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and that from birth you were called a rebel.

For my name’s sake I defer my anger,  for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, so that I may not cut you off. See, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for why should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.

1 Thessalonians 3
Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we decided to be left alone in Athens; and we sent Timothy, our brother and co-worker for God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the sake of your faith, so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions. Indeed, you yourselves know that this is what we are destined for. In fact, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer persecution; so it turned out, as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith; I was afraid that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labour had been in vain.

But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. He has told us also that you always remember us kindly and long to see us—just as we long to see you. For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith. For we now live, if you continue to stand firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

The Collect
God our redeemer, who gave light to the world that was in darkness by the healing power of the Saviour's cross: shed that light on us, we pray, that with your martyr Lucy we may, by the purity of our lives,  reflect the light of Christ and, by the merits of his passion, come to the light of everlasting life; 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 for ever. Amen.


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Advent

Ember Day

Psalm 62
On God alone my soul in stillness waits; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, so that I shall never be shaken.

How long will all of you assail me to destroy me, as you would a tottering wall or a leaning fence?
They plot only to thrust me down from my place of honour; lies are their chief delight; they bless with their mouth, but in their heart they curse.

Wait on God alone in stillness, O my soul; for in him is my hope. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken.

In God is my strength and my glory; God is my strong rock; in him is my refuge. Put your trust in him always, my people; pour out your hearts before him, for God is our refuge. The peoples are but a breath, the whole human race a deceit; on the scales they are altogether lighter than air. Put no trust in oppression; in robbery take no empty pride; though wealth increase, set not your heart upon it.

God spoke once, and twice have I heard the same, that power belongs to God. Steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord, for you repay everyone according to their deeds.

Psalm 63
O God, you are m y God; eagerly I seek you; my soul is athirst for you. My flesh also faints for you, as in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.

So would I gaze upon you in your holy place, that I might behold your power and your glory. Your loving-kindness is better than life itself and so my lips shall praise you. I will bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your name. My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night. For you have been my helper and under the shadow of your wings will I rejoice.

My soul clings to you; your right hand shall hold me fast. But those who seek my soul to destroy it shall go down to the depths of the earth; let them fall by the edge of the sword and become a portion for jackals. But the king shall rejoice in God; all those who swear by him shall be glad, for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

Isaiah 47
Come down and sit in the dust, virgin daughter Babylon!
Sit on the ground without a throne, daughter Chaldea!
For you shall no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones and grind meal, remove your veil, strip off your robe, uncover your legs, pass through the rivers. Your nakedness shall be uncovered, and your shame shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one. Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—is the Holy One of Israel.

Sit in silence, and go into darkness, daughter Chaldea! For you shall no more be called the mistress of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people, I profaned my heritage; I gave them into your hand, you showed them no mercy; on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy. You said, ‘I shall be mistress for ever’, so that you did not lay these things to heart or remember their end.

Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children’—both these things shall come upon you in a moment, in one day: the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments.

You felt secure in your wickedness; you said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’ But evil shall come upon you, which you cannot charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, which you will not be able to ward off; and ruin shall come on you suddenly, of which you know nothing.

Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have laboured from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed, perhaps you may inspire terror. You are wearied with your many consultations; let those who study the heavens stand up and save you, those who gaze at the stars and at each new moon predict what shall befall you.

See, they are like stubble, the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before! Such to you are those with whom you have laboured, who have trafficked with you from your youth; they all wander about in their own paths; there is no one to save you.

1 Thessalonians 2.13-end
We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last.

As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again—but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy!

The Collect
O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.



Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Advent

Psalm 56
Have mercy on me, O God, for they trample over me; all day long they assault and oppress me. My adversaries trample over me all the day long; many are they that make proud war against me. In the day of my fear I put my trust in you, in God whose word I praise. In God I trust, and will not fear, for what can flesh do to me?

All day long they wound me with words; their every thought is to do me evil. They stir up trouble; they lie in wait; marking my steps, they seek my life. Shall they escape for all their wickedness?

In anger, O God, cast the peoples down. You have counted up my groaning; put my tears into your bottle; are they not written in your book?

Then shall my enemies turn back on the day when I call upon you; this I know, for God is on my side. In God whose word I praise, in the Lord whose word I praise, in God I trust and will not fear: what can flesh do to me?

To you, O God, will I fulfil my vows; to you will I present my offerings of thanks, for you will deliver my soul from death and my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living.

Psalm 57
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul takes refuge in you; in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge until the storm of destruction has passed by. I will call upon the Most High God, the God who fulfils his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me and rebuke those that would trample upon me; God will send forth his love and his faithfulness. I lie in the midst of lions, people whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and your glory over all the earth. They have laid a net for my feet; my soul is pressed down; they have dug a pit before me and will fall into it themselves. My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready; I will sing and give you praise. Awake, my soul; awake, harp and lyre, that I may awaken the dawn.

I will give you thanks, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praise to you among the nations. For your loving-kindness is as high as the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and your glory over all the earth.

Isaiah 46
Bel bows down, Nebo stoops, their idols are on beasts and cattle; these things you carry are loaded as burdens on weary animals.  They stoop, they bow down together; they cannot save the burden, but themselves go into captivity.

Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, even when you turn grey I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.

To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, as though we were alike?
Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales—they hire a goldsmith, who makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship! They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries out to it, it does not answer or save anyone from trouble.

Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfil my intention’, calling a bird of prey from the east, the man for my purpose from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have planned, and I will do it.

Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from deliverance: I bring near my deliverance, it is not far off,and my salvation will not tarry; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.

1 Thessalonians 2.1-12
You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts.

As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

You remember our labour and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was towards you believers. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you should lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

The Collect
Almighty God, purify our hearts and minds, that when your Son Jesus Christ comes again as judge and saviour we may be ready to receive him, who is our Lord and our God. Amen.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Monday, 10 December 2018

Advent

Psalm 44
We have heard with our ears, O God, our forebears have told us, all that you did in their days, in time of old; how with your hand you drove out nations and planted us in, and broke the power of peoples and set us free. For not by their own sword did our ancestors take the land nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand, your arm, and the light of your countenance, because you were gracious to them.

You are my King and my God, who commanded salvation for Jacob. Through you we drove back our adversaries; through your name we trod down our foes. For I did not trust in my bow; it was not my own sword that saved me; it was you that saved us from our enemies and put our adversaries to shame. We gloried in God all the day long, and were ever praising your name.

But now you have rejected us and brought us to shame and go not out with our armies. You have made us turn our backs on our enemies, and our enemies have despoiled us. You have made us like sheep to be slaughtered, and have scattered us among the nations. You have sold your people for a pittance and made no profit on their sale. You have made us the taunt of our neighbours, the scorn and derision of those that are round about us. You have made us a byword among the nations; among the peoples they wag their heads.

My confusion is daily before me, and shame has covered my face, at the taunts of the slanderer and reviler, at the sight of the enemy and avenger. All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you and have not played false to your covenant. Our hearts have not turned back, nor our steps gone out of your way, yet you have crushed us in the haunt of jackals, and covered us with the shadow of death.

If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to any strange god, will not God search it out? For he knows the secrets of the heart. But for your sake are we killed all the day long, and are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Rise up! Why sleep, O Lord? Awake, and do not reject us for ever. Why do you hide your face and forget our grief and oppression?

Our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly cleaves to the earth.

Rise up, O Lord, to help us and redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

Isaiah 45.14-end
Thus says the Lord: The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia, and the Sabeans, tall of stature, shall come over to you and be yours, they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will make supplication to you, saying, ‘God is with you alone, and there is no other; there is no god besides him.’ Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. All of them are put to shame and confounded, the makers of idols go in confusion together. But Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity.

For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): I am the Lord, and there is no other. I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in chaos.’ I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right.

Assemble yourselves and come together, draw near, you survivors of the nations!  They have no knowledge—those who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Saviour; there is no one besides me.

Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.’

Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; all who were incensed against him shall come to him and be ashamed. In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory.

1 Thessalonians 1
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

The Collect
Almighty God, purify our hearts and minds, that when your Son Jesus Christ comes again as judge and saviour we may be ready to receive him, who is our Lord and our God. Amen.


Saturday, 8 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Saturday, 8 December 2018

Advent 

The Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

Psalm 9
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all your marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will make music to your name, O Most High. When my enemies are driven back, they stumble and perish at your presence. For you have maintained my right and my cause; you sat on your throne giving righteous judgement.

You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. The enemy was utterly laid waste. You uprooted their cities; their very memory has perished. But the Lord shall endure for ever; he has made fast his throne for judgement. For he shall rule the world with righteousness and govern the peoples with equity.

Then will the Lord be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in the time of trouble. And those who know your name will put their trust in you, for you, Lord, have never failed those who seek you. Sing praises to the Lord who dwells in Zion; declare among the peoples the things he has done. The avenger of blood has remembered them; he did not forget the cry of the oppressed. Have mercy upon me, O Lord;  consider the trouble I suffer from those who hate me, you that lift me up from the gates of death; that I may tell all your praises in the gates of the city of Zion and rejoice in your salvation.

The nations shall sink into the pit of their making and in the snare which they set will their own foot be taken. The Lord makes himself known by his acts of justice; the wicked are snared in the works of their own hands. They shall return to the land of darkness, all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.

Arise, O Lord, and let not mortals have the upper hand; let the nations be judged before your face. Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but mortal.

Psalm 10
Why stand so far off, O Lord?
Why hide yourself in time of trouble?

The wicked in their pride persecute the poor; let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
The wicked boast of their heart’s desire; the covetous curse and revile the Lord.
The wicked in their arrogance say, ‘God will not avenge it’; in all their scheming God counts for nothing.
They are stubborn in all their ways, for your judgements are far above out of their sight; they scoff at all their adversaries.
They say in their heart, ‘I shall not be shaken; no harm shall ever happen to me.’
Their mouth is full of cursing, deceit and fraud; under their tongue lie mischief and wrong.
They lurk in the outskirts and in dark alleys they murder the innocent; their eyes are ever watching for the helpless.
They lie in wait, like a lion in his den; they lie in wait to seize the poor; they seize the poor when they get them into their net.

The innocent are broken and humbled before them; the helpless fall before their power.
They say in their heart, ‘God has forgotten; he hides his face away; he will never see it.’
Arise, O Lord God, and lift up your hand; forget not the poor.

Why should the wicked be scornful of God?
Why should they say in their hearts, ‘You will not avenge it’?
Surely, you behold trouble and misery; you see it and take it into your own hand.
The helpless commit themselves to you, for you are the helper of the orphan.
Break the power of the wicked and malicious; search out their wickedness until you find none.

The Lord shall reign for ever and ever; the nations shall perish from his land. Lord, you will hear the desire of the poor; you will incline your ear to the fullness of their heart, To give justice to the orphan and oppressed, so that people are no longer driven in terror from the land.

Isaiah 44.24 - 45.13
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who by myself spread out the earth; who frustrates the omens of liars, and makes fools of diviners; who turns back the wise, and makes their knowledge foolish; who confirms the word of his servant, and fulfils the prediction of his messengers; who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited’, and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt, and I will raise up their ruins’; who says to the deep, ‘Be dry—I will dry up your rivers’; who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall carry out all my purpose’; and who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be rebuilt’, and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’

Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him—and the gates shall not be closed: I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me, so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.

Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up, and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also; the Lord have created it.

Woe to you who strive with your Maker, earthen vessels with the potter! Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? Woe to anyone who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labour?’ Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands?

I made the earth, and created humankind upon it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. I have aroused Cyrus in righteousness, and I will make all his paths straight; he shall build my city and set my exiles free, not for price or reward, says the Lord of hosts.

Revelation 22.6-end
And he said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.’

‘See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.’

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow-servant with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’

And he said to me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.’

‘See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practises falsehood.

‘It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’
The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who hears say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

The one who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, who stooped to raise fallen humanity through the child-bearing of blessed Mary: grant that we, who have seen your glory       revealed in our human nature and your love made perfect in our weakness, may daily be renewed in your image and conformed to the pattern of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Friday, 7 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Friday, 7 December 2018,

Advent 

Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher of the Faith, 397

Psalm 25
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies triumph over me. Let none who look to you be put to shame, but let the treacherous be shamed and frustrated. Make me to know your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you have I hoped all the day long.

Remember, Lord, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions, but think on me in your goodness, O Lord, according to your steadfast love.

Gracious and upright is the Lord; therefore shall he teach sinners in the way. He will guide the humble in doing right and teach his way to the lowly. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. For your name’s sake, O Lord, be merciful to my sin, for it is great.

Who are those who fear the Lord? Them will he teach in the way that they should choose. Their soul shall dwell at ease and their offspring shall inherit the land. The hidden purpose of the Lord is for those who fear him and he will show them his covenant. My eyes are ever looking to the Lord, for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am alone and brought very low. The sorrows of my heart have increased; O bring me out of my distress. Look upon my adversity and misery and forgive me all my sin. Look upon my enemies, for they are many and they bear a violent hatred against me. O keep my soul and deliver me; let me not be put to shame, for I have put my trust in you. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for my hope has been in you. Deliver Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.

Psalm 26
Give judgement for me, O Lord, for I have walked with integrity; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered. Test me, O Lord, and try me; examine my heart and my mind. For your love is before my eyes; I have walked in your truth. I have not joined the company of the false, nor consorted with the deceitful.

I hate the gathering of evildoers and I will not sit down with the wicked. I will wash my hands in innocence, O Lord, that I may go about your altar, To make heard the voice of thanksgiving and tell of all your wonderful deeds.

Lord, I love the house of your habitation and the place where your glory abides. Sweep me not away with sinners, nor my life with the bloodthirsty, Whose hands are full of wicked schemes and their right hand full of bribes. As for me, I will walk with integrity; redeem me, Lord, and be merciful to me. My foot stands firm; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.

Isaiah 44.9-23
All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know. And so they will be put to shame. Who would fashion a god or cast an image that can do no good? Look, all its devotees shall be put to shame; the artisans too are merely human. Let them all assemble, let them stand up; they shall be terrified, they shall all be put to shame.

The blacksmith fashions it and works it over the coals, shaping it with hammers, and forging it with his strong arm; he becomes hungry and his strength fails, he drinks no water and is faint. The carpenter stretches a line, marks it out with a stylus, fashions it with planes, and marks it with a compass; he makes it in human form, with human beauty, to be set up in a shrine. He cuts down cedars or chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it can be used as fuel. Part of it he takes and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Then he makes a god and worships it, makes it a carved image and bows down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he roasts meat, eats it, and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, ‘Ah, I am warm, I can feel the fire!’ The rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, bows down to it, and worships it; he prays to it and says, ‘Save me, for you are my god!’

They do not know, nor do they comprehend; for their eyes are shut, so that they cannot see, and their minds as well, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, ‘Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals, I roasted meat and have eaten. Now shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?’ He feeds on ashes; a deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot save himself or say, ‘Is not this thing in my right hand a fraud?’


Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you, you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.

Revelation 21.22-22.5
I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practises abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.

The Collect
God of hosts, who called Ambrose from the governor's throne to be a bishop in your Church and an intrepid champion of your faithful people: mercifully grant that, as he did not fear to rebuke rulers, so we, with like courage, may contend for the faith we have received; 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 for ever. Amen.


Thursday, 6 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Thursday, 6 December 2018

Advent

Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c.326

Psalm 42
As the deer longs for the water brooks, so longs my soul for you, O God.

My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God; when shall I come before the presence of God?
My tears have been my bread day and night, while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’

Now when I think on these things, I pour out my soul: how I went with the multitude and led the procession to the house of God, with the voice of praise and thanksgiving, among those who kept holy day.

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, and why are you so disquieted within me?
O put your trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

My soul is heavy within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan,
and from Hermon and the hill of Mizar.

Deep calls to deep in the thunder of your waterfalls; all your breakers and waves have gone over me.

The Lord will grant his loving-kindness in the daytime; through the night his song will be with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me, and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?’

As they crush my bones, my enemies mock me; while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? and why are you so disquieted within me?
O put your trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 43
Give judgement for me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked. For you are the God of my refuge; why have you cast me from you, and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?

O send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling, That I may go to the altar of God, to the God of my joy and gladness; and on the lyre I will give thanks to you, O God my God.

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, and why are you so disquieted within me?
O put your trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Isaiah 44.1-8
But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!

Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you in the womb and will help you: Do not fear, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring. They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams. This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’, another will be called by the name of Jacob, yet another will write on the hand, ‘The Lord’s’, and adopt the name of Israel.

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be.

Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
There is no other rock; I know not one.

Revelation 21.9-21
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, one hundred and forty-four cubits by human measurement, which the angel was using. The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth cornelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass.

The Collect
Almighty Father, lover of souls, who chose your servant Nicholas to be a bishop in the Church, that he might give freely out of the treasures of your grace: make us mindful of the needs of others and, as we have received, so teach us also to give; 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 for ever. Amen.


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Advent 

Psalm 5
Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my lamentation. Hearken to the voice of my crying, my King and my God, for to you I make my prayer. In the morning, Lord, you will hear my voice; early in the morning I make my appeal to you, and look up. For you are the God who takes no pleasure in wickedness; no evil can dwell with you.

The boastful cannot stand in your sight; you hate all those that work wickedness. You destroy those who speak lies; the bloodthirsty and deceitful the Lord will abhor. But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy, I will come into your house; I will bow down towards your holy temple in awe of you.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness, because of my enemies; make your way straight before my face. For there is no truth in their mouth, in their heart is destruction, their throat is an open sepulchre, and they flatter with their tongue. Punish them, O God; let them fall through their own devices. Because of their many transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them sing out their joy for ever. You will shelter them, so that those who love your name may exult in you. For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous; and with your favour you will defend them as with a shield.

Psalm 7
O Lord my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all who pursue me, and deliver me, lest they rend me like a lion and tear me in pieces while there is no one to help me.

O Lord my God, if I have done these things: if there is any wickedness in my hands, if I have repaid my friend with evil, or plundered my enemy without a cause, Then let my enemy pursue me and overtake me, trample my life to the ground, and lay my honour in the dust.

Rise up, O Lord, in your wrath; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies. Awaken, my God, the judgement that you have commanded. Let the assembly of the peoples gather round you; be seated high above them: O Lord, judge the nations. Give judgement for me according to my righteousness, O Lord, and according to the innocence that is in me. Let the malice of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for you test the mind and heart, O righteous God.

God is my shield that is over me; he saves the true of heart. God is a righteous judge; he is provoked all day long. If they will not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent his bow and made it ready. He has prepared the weapons of death; he makes his arrows shafts of fire.

Behold those who are in labour with wickedness, who conceive evil and give birth to lies. They dig a pit and make it deep and fall into the hole that they have made for others. Their mischief rebounds on their own head; their violence falls on their own scalp. I will give thanks to the Lord for his righteousness, and I will make music to the name of the Lord Most High.

Isaiah 43.14-end
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: For your sake I will send to Babylon and break down all the bars, and the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentation. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honour me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.

Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel! You have not brought me your sheep for burnt-offerings, or honoured me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense. You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.

I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Accuse me, let us go to trial; set forth your case, so that you may be proved right. Your first ancestor sinned, and your interpreters transgressed against me. Therefore I profaned the princes of the sanctuary, I delivered Jacob to utter destruction, and Israel to reviling.

Revelation 21.1-8
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.

He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’

And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.’

The Collect
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour 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 for ever. Amen.


Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Tuesday 4 December 2018

Advent 

John of Damascus, Monk, Teacher of the Faith, c.749
Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon, Founder of the Little Gidding Community, 1637


Psalm 80
Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, you that led Joseph like a flock; shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim, before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your mighty strength and come to our salvation.

Turn us again, O God; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry at your people’s prayer? You feed them with the bread of tears; you give them abundance of tears to drink. You have made us the derision of our neighbours and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

Turn us again, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You made room around it, and when it had taken root, it filled the land. The hills were covered with its shadow and the cedars of God by its boughs. It stretched out its branches to the Sea and its tendrils to the River. Why then have you broken down its wall, so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes? The wild boar out of the wood tears it off, and all the insects of the field devour it.

Turn again, O God of hosts, look down from heaven and behold;
cherish this vine which your right hand has planted, and the branch that you made so strong for yourself. Let those who burnt it with fire, who cut it down, perish at the rebuke of your countenance. Let your hand be upon the man at your right hand, the son of man you made so strong for yourself. And so will we not go back from you; give us life, and we shall call upon your name.

Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

Psalm 82
God has taken his stand in the council of heaven; in the midst of the gods he gives judgement:
‘How long will you judge unjustly and show such favour to the wicked?
‘You were to judge the weak and the orphan; defend the right of the humble and needy;
‘Rescue the weak and the poor; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
‘They have no knowledge or wisdom; they walk on still in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

‘Therefore I say that though you are gods and all of you children of the Most High,
‘Nevertheless, you shall die like mortals and fall like one of their princes.’

Arise, O God and judge the earth, for it is you that shall take all nations for your possession.

Isaiah 43.1-13
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. 

Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up’, and to the south, ‘Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.’ 

Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears! 
Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble. 
Who among them declared this, and foretold to us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, ‘It is true.’ 
You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. 
I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no saviour. 
I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses, says the Lord. 

I am God, and also henceforth I am He; there is no one who can deliver from my hand; I work and who can hinder it? 

Revelation 20
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while.

Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, in order to gather them for battle; they are as numerous as the sands of the sea. They marched up over the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from heaven and consumed them. And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. 

The Collect
Almighty God, as your kingdom dawns, turn us from the darkness of sin to the light of holiness, that we may be ready to meet you in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Monday, 3 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Monday, 3 December 2018

Advent 

Francis Xavier, Missionary, Apostle of the Indies, 1552

Psalm 50
The Lord, the most mighty God, has spoken and called the world from the rising of the sun to its setting.

Out of Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth; our God comes and will not keep silence. Consuming fire goes out before him and a mighty tempest stirs about him. He calls the heaven above, and the earth, that he may judge his people: ‘Gather to me my faithful, who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.’

Let the heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge.
Hear, O my people, and I will speak: ‘I will testify against you, O Israel; for I am God, your God. I will not reprove you for your sacrifices, for your burnt offerings are always before me. I will take no bull out of your house, nor he-goat out of your folds, for all the beasts of the forest are mine, the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains and the insect of the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the whole world is mine and all that fills it. Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?’

‘Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and fulfil your vows to God Most High. Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall honour me.’

‘But to the wicked, says God: ‘Why do you recite my statutes and take my covenant upon your lips,since you refuse to be disciplined and have cast my words behind you?’

‘When you saw a thief, you made friends with him  and you threw in your lot with adulterers. You have loosed your lips for evil and harnessed your tongue to deceit. You sit and speak evil of your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. These things have you done, and should I keep silence? Did you think that I am even such a one as yourself?’

‘But no, I must reprove you, and set before your eyes the things that you have done. You that forget God, consider this well, lest I tear you apart and there is none to deliver you. Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me and to those who keep my way will I show the salvation of God.’

Psalm 54
Save me, O God, by your name and vindicate me by your power. Hear my prayer, O God; give heed to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and the ruthless seek after my life; they have not set God before them. Behold, God is my helper; it is the Lord who upholds my life.

May evil rebound on those who lie in wait for me; destroy them in your faithfulness. An offering of a free heart will I give you and praise your name, O Lord, for it is gracious. For he has delivered me out of all my trouble, and my eye has seen the downfall of my enemies.

Isaiah 42.18-end
Listen, you that are deaf; and you that are blind, look up and see!
Who is blind but my servant, or deaf like my messenger whom I send?
Who is blind like my dedicated one, or blind like the servant of the Lord?
He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear.
The Lord was pleased, for the sake of his righteousness, to magnify his teaching and make it glorious.
But this is a people robbed and plundered, all of them are trapped in holes and hidden in prisons; they have become a prey with no one to rescue, a spoil with no one to say, ‘Restore!’

Who among you will give heed to this, who will attend and listen for the time to come?
Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler, and Israel to the robbers?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned, in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law they would not obey?
So he poured upon him the heat of his anger and the fury of war; it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand; it burned him, but he did not take it to heart.


Revelation 19
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
‘Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power to our God, for his judgements are true and just; he has judged the great whore who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants.’

Once more they said, ‘Hallelujah! The smoke goes up from her for ever and ever.’
And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God who is seated on the throne, saying,
‘Amen. Hallelujah!’

And from the throne came a voice saying, ‘Praise our God, all you his servants, and all who fear him, small and great.’

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder-peals, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come,  and his bride has made herself ready; to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure’—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.’ Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow-servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’

Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’.

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of the mighty, the flesh of horses and their riders—flesh of all, both free and slave, both small and great.’ Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against the rider on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed in its presence the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. And the rest were killed by the sword of the rider on the horse, the sword that came from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

The Collect
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour 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 for ever. Amen.


Saturday, 1 December 2018

Morning Prayer - Saturday, 1 December 2018

Morning Prayer from All Saints’ Day until the day before the First Sunday of Advent 

Charles de Foucauld, Hermit in the Sahara, 1916

Psalm 145
I will exalt you, O God my King, and bless your name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless you and praise your name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; his greatness is beyond all searching out.
One generation shall praise your works to another and declare your mighty acts.
They shall speak of the majesty of your glory, and I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
They shall speak of the might of your marvellous acts, and I will also tell of your greatness.
They shall pour forth the story of your abundant kindness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful, long-suffering and of great goodness.
The Lord is loving to everyone and his mercy is over all his creatures.
All your works praise you, O Lord, and your faithful servants bless you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your mighty power,
To make known to all peoples your mighty acts and the glorious splendour of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your dominion endures throughout all ages.

The Lord is sure in all his words and faithful in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all those who are bowed down.
The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season.
You open wide your hand and fill all things living with plenty.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving in all his works.
The Lord is near to those who call upon him, to all who call upon him faithfully.
He fulfils the desire of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over those who love him, but all the wicked shall he destroy.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Isaiah 42.10-17
Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth!
Let the sea roar and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.
Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the tops of the mountains.
Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the coastlands.
The Lord goes forth like a soldier, like a warrior he stirs up his fury;
he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes.

For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labour, I will gasp and pant. I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbage; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools.  I will lead the blind by a road they do not know,by paths they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them. They shall be turned back and utterly put to shame those who trust in carved images, who say to cast images, ‘You are our gods.’

Revelation 18
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendour. He called out with a mighty voice,
‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling-place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul bird, a haunt of every foul and hateful beast. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxury.’

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
‘Come out of her, my people,
   so that you do not take part in her sins,
and so that you do not share in her plagues;
for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
   and God has remembered her iniquities.
Render to her as she herself has rendered,
   and repay her double for her deeds;
   mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed.
As she glorified herself and lived luxuriously,
   so give her a like measure of torment and grief.
Since in her heart she says,
   “I rule as a queen;
I am no widow,
   and I will never see grief”,
therefore her plagues will come in a single day—
   pestilence and mourning and famine—
and she will be burned with fire;
   for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.’

And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning; they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,
‘Alas, alas, the great city,
   Babylon, the mighty city!
For in one hour your judgement has come.’

And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo any more, cargo of gold, silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron, and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, choice flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, slaves—and human lives.
‘The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your dainties and your splendour are lost to you, never to be found again!’

The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,
‘Alas, alas, the great city, clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in one hour all this wealth has been laid waste!’

And all shipmasters and seafarers, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,
‘What city was like the great city?’
And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned, crying out,
‘Alas, alas, the great city,
   where all who had ships at sea
   grew rich by her wealth!
For in one hour she has been laid waste.’

Rejoice over her, O heaven, you saints and apostles and prophets! For God has given judgement for you against her.

Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,
‘With such violence Babylon the great city will be thrown down, and will be found no more; and the sound of harpists and minstrels and of flautists and trumpeters will be heard in you no more; and an artisan of any trade will be found in you no more; and the sound of the millstone will be heard in you no more; and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more; and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more; for your merchants were the magnates of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in you was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slaughtered on earth.’

The Collect
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 for ever.  Amen.