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The Opening

The Psalms

The Lessons

The Commemoration

The Creed

The Prayers

The Ending

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Friday in the First Week in Advent
Morning Prayer
Ambrose

The Opening

Opening Sentence

In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3

Hymn: Come, Holy Ghost

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee, of both, to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Choir: The Choir of St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland
Words: Rhabanus Maurus (9th C)
Tune: Veni Creator Spiritus

Confession

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

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

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

Versicle and Response

Lord, open our lips.

And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

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.

Our King and Savior now draws near:
Come let us adore him.

Jubilate

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.
Know this: The Lord himself is God;
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

Antiphon

Our King and Savior now draws near:
Come let us adore him.

The Psalm

Psalm 16
or Coverdale

1 Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you; *
I have said to the LORD, "You are my Lord,
my good above all other."
2All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land,*
upon those who are noble among the people.
3But those who run after other gods *
shall have their troubles multiplied.
4Their libations of blood I will not offer, *
nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.
5O LORD, you are my portion and my cup;*
it is you who uphold my lot.
6My boundaries enclose a pleasant land;*
indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
7I will bless the LORD who gives me counsel; *
my heart teaches me, night after night.
8I have set the LORD always before me;*
because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.
9My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices;*
my body also shall rest in hope.
10For you will not abandon me to the grave, *
nor let your holy one see the Pit.
11You will show me the path of life;*
in your presence there is fullness of joy,
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 17
or Coverdale

1Hear my plea of innocence, O LORD;
give heed to my cry;*
listen to my prayer, which does not come from lying lips.
2Let my vindication come forth from your presence; *
let your eyes be fixed on justice.
3Weigh my heart, summon me by night,*
melt me down; you will find no impurity in me.
4I give no offense with my mouth as others do;*
I have heeded the words of your lips.
5My footsteps hold fast to the ways of your law;*
in your paths my feet shall not stumble.
6I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me;*
incline your ear to me and hear my words.
7Show me your marvelous loving-kindness,*
O Savior of those who take refuge at your right hand
from those who rise up against them.
8Keep me as the apple of your eye;*
hide me under the shadow of your wings,
9From the wicked who assault me,*
from my deadly enemies who surround me.
10They have closed their heart to pity,*
and their mouth speaks proud things.
11They press me hard,
now they surround me,*
watching how they may cast me to the ground,
12Like a lion, greedy for its prey,*
and like a young lion lurking in secret places.
13Arise, O LORD; confront them and bring them down;*
deliver me from the wicked by your sword.
14Deliver me, O LORD, by your hand *
from those whose portion in life is this world;
15Whose bellies you fill with your treasure, *
who are well supplied with children
and leave their wealth to their little ones.
16But at my vindication I shall see your face; *
when I awake, I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen. Amen.

The Lessons

The Old Testament Reading

Isaiah 3:8-15

8 For Jerusalem has stumbled
and Judah has fallen,
because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,
defying his glorious presence.

9 The look on their faces bears witness against them;
they proclaim their sin like Sodom,
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.
10 Tell the innocent how fortunate they are,
for they shall eat the fruit of their labours.
11 Woe to the guilty! How unfortunate they are,
for what their hands have done shall be done to them.
12 My peoplechildren are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.
Omy people, your leaders mislead you,
and confuse the course of your paths.

13 The Lord rises to argue his case;
he stands to judge the peoples.
14 The Lord enters into judgement
with the elders and princes of his people:
It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people,
by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Canticle 10 The Second Song of Isaiah
Isaiah 55:6-11 Quaerite Dominum

Seek the Lord while he wills to be found; *
call upon him when he draws near.

Let the wicked forsake their ways *
and the evil ones their thoughts;

And let them turn to the Lord,
and he will have compassion, *
and to our God, for he will richly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, *
nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, *
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as rain and snow fall from the heavens *
and return not again, but water the earth,

Bringing forth life and giving growth, *
seed for sowing and bread for eating,

So is my word that goes forth from my mouth; *
it will not return to me empty;

But it will accomplish that which I have purposed, *
and prosper in that for which I sent it.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The New Testament Reading

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

4Finally, 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. 2For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; 4that each one of you knows how to control your own body in holiness and honour, 5not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6that 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. 7For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. 8Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

9Now 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; 10and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, 11to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, 12so that you may behave properly towards outsiders and be dependent on no one.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Canticle 18 A Song to the Lamb
Revelation 4:11, 5:9-10, 13 Dignus es

Splendor and honor and kingly power *
are yours by right, O Lord our God,

For you created everything that is, *
and by your will they were created and have their being;

And yours by right, O Lamb that was slain, *
for with your blood you have redeemed for God,

From every family, language, people, and nation, *
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.

And so, to him who sits upon the throne, *
and to Christ the Lamb,

Be worship and praise, dominion and splendor, *
for ever and for ever more.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Gospel

Luke 20:41-21:4

Luke 20

41 Then he said to them, 'How can they say that the Messiah is David's son? 42For David himself says in the book of Psalms,
"The Lord said to my Lord,
'Sit at my right hand,
43 until I make your enemies your footstool.' "
44David thus calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?'

45 In the hearing of all the people he said to the disciples, 46'Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets. 47They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.'

Luke 21

1He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3He said, 'Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.'

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The Commemoration

Ambrose was governor of Northern Italy, with capital at Milan. When the see of Milan fell vacant, it seemed likely that rioting would result, since the city was evenly divided between Arians and Athanasians. (Explanatory Note: Athanasians affirm that the Logos or Word (John 1:1) is fully God in the same sense that the Father is, while Arians affirm that the Logos is a creature, the first being created by the Father. East Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Prebyterians, Reformed, Baptists, Methodists, etc. are Athanasians. The Watchtower Society (J's Witnesses), the Philippine group called the Iglesia ni Christi (spelling?), and some other groups are Arians. The Unitarians started out as Arians, and some of them still hold this position.) Ambrose went to the meeting where the election was to take place, and appealed to the crowd for order and good will on both sides. He ended up being elected bishop with the support of both sides. He gave away his wealth, and lived in simplicity. By his preaching, he converted the diocese to the Athanasian position, except for the Goths and some members of the Imperial Household. (Note: The Arian emperor Constantius (son of Constantine the Great) had sent missionaries (Arians, of course) to convert the Gothic tribes. The Goths were the chief source of mercenary troops for the Empire. Thus for many years the Army was Arian although a majority of civilians were Athanasian.) On one occasion, the Empress ordered him to turn over a church to the Arians so that her Gothic soldiers could worship in it. Ambrose refused, and he and his people occupied the church. Ambrose composed Latin hymns in the rhythm of "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow," and taught them to the people, who sang them in the church as the soldiers surrounded it. The Goths were unwilling to attack a hymn-singing congregation, and Ambrose won that dispute.

He subsequently won another dispute, when the Emperor, enraged by a crowd who defied him, ordered them all killed by his soldiers. When he next appeared at church, Ambrose met him at the door and said, "You may not come in. There is blood on your hands." The emperor finally agreed to do public penance and to promise that thereafter he would never carry out a sentence of death without a forty-day delay after pronouncing it. Less creditable, to modern Christians, is Ambrose's dispute with the emperor when certain Christians burned a Jewish synagogue, and the emperor commanded them to make restitution. Ambrose maintained that no Christian could be compelled to provide money for the building of a non-Christian house of worship, no matter what the circumstances.

Ambrose was largely responsible for the conversion of St. Augustine. The hymn Te Deum Laudamus ("We praise Thee, O God") was long thought to have been composed by Ambrose in thanksgiving for that conversion. The current opinion is that Ambrose did not write it, but that he may well have written the Creed known as the Athanasian Creed. He is perhaps the first writer of Christian hymns with rhyme and (accentual) meter, and northern Italy still uses his style of plainchant, known as Ambrosian chant, rather than the more widespread Gregorian chant. On the negative side, many Christians will regret his contribution to increased preoccupation with the relics of martyrs. He died 4 April 397, but (because this date so often falls in Holy Week or Easter Week) he is commonly remembered on the anniversary of his consecration as bishop, 7 December.

Ambrose is regarded as one of the Eight Great Doctors (=Teachers) of the Undivided Church. The list includes four Latin (Western) Doctors (Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Pope Gregory the Great), and four Greek (Eastern) Doctors (Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus -- not to be confused with Gregory of Nyssa, the brother of Basil).

written by James Kiefer

Prayer

O God, who gave your servant Ambrose grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of your Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching and faithfulness in ministering your Word, that your people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Alternate Psalm and Readings

Psalm 27:5-11
Ecclesiasticus 2:7-18
Luke 12:35-44

The Creed

The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He 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,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He 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.

The Prayers

The Lord's Prayer

or traditional

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.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

Suffrages

Show us your mercy, O Lord;

And grant us your salvation.

Clothe your ministers with righteousness;

Let your people sing with joy.

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;

For only in you can we live in safety.

Lord, keep this nation under your care;

And guide us in the way of justice and truth.

Let your way be known upon earth;

Your saving health among all nations.

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;

Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Create in us clean hearts, O God;

And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.

Collect of the Day: The First Sunday in Advent

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

For Mission

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hardwood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach ofyour saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reachingforth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you tothe knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

World Cycle of Prayer

We pray for the people of Samoa.

Ecumenical Cycle of Prayer

We pray for our sisters and brothers members of the Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches.

A Collect for Fridays

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. Amen.

Hymn: To my humble supplication

To my humble supplication
Lord, give ear and acceptation
Save thy servant, that hath none
Help nor hope but Thee alone. Amen.

Prayers and Intercessions

Let us pray now for our own needs and thoseof others.

Birthdays
Anniversaries
For Recovery from Sickness
For Travelers
For a Person in Trouble or Bereavement
For Those to be Baptized
For the Departed
Full list of prayers

For Our Enemies

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Social Justice

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Young Persons

God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: Spirit of God

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
stoop to my weakness, mighty as thou art,
and make me love thee as I ought to love.

Teach me to feel that thou art always nigh;
teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Teach me to love thee as thine angels love,
one holy passion filling all my frame;
the kindling of the heaven-descended Dove,
my heart an altar, and thy love the flame.

A Prayer of Self-Dedication

Almighty and eternal God,
so draw our hearts to you,
so guide our minds,
so fill our imaginations,
so control our wills,
that we may be wholly yours,
utterly dedicated unto you;
and then use us, we pray you, as you will,
and always to your glory and the welfare of your people;
through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

The Ending

Benediction

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Romans 15:13

Hymn: God Be With You

God be with you till we meet again;
By his counsels guide, uphold you;
With his sheep securely fold you.
God be with you till we meet again.
Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus' feet,
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

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