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The Opening

The Psalms

The Lessons

The Commemoration

The Creed

The Prayers

The Ending

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Friday
Morning Prayer, Friday after Christmas
Thomas Becket

The Opening

Opening Sentence

Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy, which will come to all the people; for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10, 11

Hymn: I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus

 

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 for ever. Amen.
Alleluia. To us a child is born:
Come let us adore him. Alleluia.

Invitatory Psalm

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

Alleluia. To us a child is born:
Come let us adore him. Alleluia.

The Psalms

Psalm 18 or
Coverdale
Part I Diligam te, Domine

1I love you, O LORD my strength, *
O LORD my stronghold, my crag, and my haven.

2My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, *
my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge;
you are worthy of praise.

3I will call upon the LORD, *
and so shall I be saved from my enemies.

4The breakers of death rolled over me, *
and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid.

5The cords of hell entangled me, *
and the snares of death were set for me.

6I called upon the LORD in my distress *
and cried out to my God for help.

7He heard my voice from his heavenly dwelling; *
my cry of anguish came to his ears.

8The earth reeled and rocked; *
the roots of the mountains shook;
they reeled because of his anger.

9Smoke rose from his nostrils
and a consuming fire out of his mouth; *
hot burning coals blazed forth from him.

10He parted the heavens and came down *
with a storm cloud under his feet.

11He mounted on cherubim and flew; *
he swooped on the wings of the wind.

12He wrapped darkness about him; *
he made dark waters and thick clouds his pavilion.

13From the brightness of his presence, through the clouds, *
burst hailstones and coals of fire.

14The LORD thundered out of heaven; *
the Most High uttered his voice.

15He loosed his arrows and scattered them; *
he hurled thunderbolts and routed them.

16The beds of the seas were uncovered,
and the foundations of the world laid bare, *
at your battle cry, O LORD,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

17He reached down from on high and grasped me; *
he drew me out of great waters.

18He delivered me from my strong enemies
and from those who hated me; *
for they were too mighty for me.

19They confronted me in the day of my disaster; *
but the LORD was my support.

20He brought me out into an open place; *
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

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

Old Testament Lesson

2 Samuel 23:13-17b (NRSV)

13Towards the beginning of harvest three of the thirty chiefs went down to join David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim. 14David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 15David said longingly, "O that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!" 16Then the three warriors broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it; he poured it out to the LORD, 17for he said, "The LORD forbid that I should do this. Can I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?" Therefore he would not drink it. The three warriors did these things.

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.

New Testament Lesson

2 John 1-13 (NRSV)

1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, 2because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: 3Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Fathers Son, in truth and love. 4I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. 5 But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. 6And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginningyou must walk in it. 7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! 8Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. 9Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; 11for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person. 12 Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13The children of your elect sister send you their greetings.

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.

Gospel

John 2:1-11 (NRSV)

1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, They have no wine. 4And Jesus said to her, Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come. 5His mother said to the servants, Do whatever he tells you. 6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, Fill the jars with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward. So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now. 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Commemoration

On December 29, we remember Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, slain in his own cathedral in 1170, for his defiance of King Henry II. The death of Thomas reminds us that a Christian, even when safe from pagans, can be in danger from his fellow-Christians. It also reminds us that one can be martyred in a cause where the merits of the particular issue at hand are not obvious to all men of good will. The issue here, or one of the issues, was one of court jurisdiction. King Henry claimed that a cleric accused of an ordinary crime ought to be tried in the King's Courts like any layman. Thomas, who was Henry's Chancellor and his close friend, vigorously upheld the king's position. However, when he was made Archbishop of Canterbury with the king's support, he reversed himself completely and upheld the right of clergy to be tried only in Church courts, which could not inflict capital punishment. (This reversal does not imply fickleness or treachery. As Chancellor, Thomas was bound to serve the king. Now, as Archbishop, he was bound to defend the Church.) Henry wanted an arrangement by which (for example) a priest accused of murder would be tried by a Church Court, which if it found him guilty would degrade him to the rank of a layman, whereupon a King's Court would try him, and if it found him guilty would order him hanged. Thomas objected that a man could not be tried and punished twice for the same offense.

[Historical Digression: In the United States, what is often counted as the first bloodshed of the War of Independence was that of the Boston Massacre (5 March 1770), when a mob threw stones at a group of sentries, who eventually fired at them, killing five. The soldiers were tried for murder, and defended by John Adams (later the 2nd President of the United States). The jury acquitted all but two, whom it found guilty of manslaughter rather than murder, and Adams promptly said, "I claim for my clients the benefit of clergy." Under law, the penalty for murder was "death without benefit of clergy," whereas the penalty for manslaughter was simply "death." The former penalty was supposed by Mark Twain (see his novels The Prince and the Pauper (about England in 1547) and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court) to mean that the accused was to have no access to a clergyman before being killed, and that the law thus sought to destroy his soul as well as his body. Naturally, Twain was horrified. However, the law was not what he thought it was. In fact, "death without benefit of clergy" meant simply that anyone convicted of murder was to be put to death even if a cleric. On the other hand, conviction of manslaughter meant death only if the accused was a layman. But what was the legal definition of a cleric (or clerk, or scholar)? The courts had developed the principle that in order to claim benefit of clergy it was sufficient to be able to read. Moreover, the literacy test had become extremely standardized. The convicted man approached the court clerk, who opened a Bible, pointed to a verse, and said, "Read this." The verse pointed to, known as the Neck Verse, was Psalm 56:13 "Thou hast delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." (The Hebrew word "nephesh," here translated "soul," is derived, like our word "spirit," from a root meaning "breath," and can also, where the context permits, be translated "throat" or "neck," a translation that would make the verse even more appropriate than it already is. I must check to see whether there are any old translations that so render it.) The accused would read the verse, or recite it from memory, and be certified as a clerk. He would then be branded on the thumb with a hot iron, as a sign that he was now a convicted felon, and could never claim the benefit of clergy again. That is why, when one takes an oath in court, one holds up one's right hand. The court must see that the witness has no brand on the hand, and is therefore not a convicted felon, and is therefore presumed to be trustworthy under oath. Thus some remnants of the issue disputed between Henry and Thomas were with us (in English-speaking countries at least) until the 1700's, and others are still with us. End of digression. Back to Thomas.]

Henry, being angered at opposition from someone whom he had counted on for support, was heard to exclaim in anger, "This fellow who has eaten my bread has lifted up his heel against me [see Psalm 41:9]. Have I no friend who will rid me of this upstart priest?" Four of his knights promptly rode to Canterbury, where they confronted the Archbishop and demanded that he back down. When he did not, they killed him. Public reaction was immediate and vigorous, and reckoned Thomas as a saint and a martyr, and Henry as a blaspheming murderer. Henry swore that he had not intended his remark to be taken seriously, and had himself publicly whipped at the tomb of Thomas. Thomas was very soon canonized, and his tomb was one of the most popular places of pilgrimage in Europe for the next three-and-a-half centuries. During a war between England and France, a King of France obtained a cease-fire to enable him to make a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is concerned with a group of pilgrims on their way to the tomb of Thomas.

The chief moral that I draw from Thomas's life and death is that when a man seeks to serve God, God graciously accepts that service, even if the man is quite wrong about what it is that God expects of him.

I close by quoting a section from T.S. Eliot's play, "Murder in the Cathedral," which deals with the death of Thomas. Note that the words are Eliot's and not Thomas's. I quote it not as applicable simply to Thomas, but as applicable to all martyrs (and thus appropriate during the Witness Days) and indeed as directed to all Christians in their understanding of the Christian life, and how it involves both sorrow and joy.

The Archbishop preaches in the Cathedral on Christmas morning, 1170.
SERMON

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." The fourteenth verse of the second chapter of the Gospel according to Saint Luke. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Dear children of God, my sermon this morning will be a very short one. I wish only that you should ponder and meditate on the deep meaning and mystery of our masses of Christmas Day. For whenever Mass is said, we re-enact the Passion and Death of Our Lord; and on this Christmas Day we do this in celebration of His Birth. So that at the same moment we rejoice in His coming for the salvation of men, and offer again to God His Body and Blood in sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. It was in this same night that has just passed, that a multitude of the heavenly host appeared before the shepherds at Bethlehem, saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men"; at this same time of all the year that we celebrate at once the Birth of Our Lord and His Passion and Death upon the Cross. Beloved, as the World sees, this is to behave in a strange fashion. For who in the World will both mourn and rejoice at once and for the same reason? For either joy will be overcome by mourning or mourning will be cast out by joy; so that it is only in these our Christian mysteries that we can rejoice and mourn at once for the same reason. But think for a while on the meaning of this word "peace." Does it seem strange to you that the angels should have announced Peace, when ceaselessly the world has been stricken with War and the fear of War? Does it seem to you that the angelic voices were mistaken, and that the promise was a disappointment and a cheat?

Reflect now, how Our Lord Himself spoke of Peace. He said to His disciples: "My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." Did He mean peace as we think of it: the kingdom of England at peace with its neighbors, the barons at peace with the King, the householder counting over his peaceful gains, the swept hearth, his best wine for a friend at the table, his wife singing to the children? Those men His disciples knew no such things: they went forth to journey afar, to suffer by land and sea, to know torture, imprisonment, disappointment, to suffer death by martyrdom. What then did He mean? If you ask that, remember that He said also, "Not as the world giveth, give I unto you." So then, He gave to his disciples peace, but not peace as the world gives.

Consider also one thing of which you have probably never thought. Not only do we at the feast of Christmas celebrate at once Our Lord's Birth and His Death: but on the next day we celebrate the martyrdom of his first martyr, the blessed Stephen. Is it an accident, do you think, that the day of the first martyr follows immediately the day of the Birth of Christ? By no means. Just as we rejoice and mourn at once, in the Birth and Passion of Our Lord; so also, in a smaller figure, we both rejoice and mourn in the death of martyrs. We mourn, for the sins of the world that has martyred them; we rejoice, that another soul is numbered among the Saints in Heaven, for the glory of God and for the salvation of men.

Beloved, we do not think of a martyr simply as a good Christian who has been killed because he is a Christian: for that would be solely to mourn. We do not think of him simply as a good Christian who has been elevated to the company of the Saints: for that would be simply to rejoice: and neither our mourning nor our rejoicing is as the world's is. A Christian martyrdom is no accident. Saints are not made by accident. Still less is a Christian martyrdom the effect of a man's will to become a Saint, as a man by willing and contriving may become a ruler of men. Ambition fortifies the will of man to become ruler over other men: it operates with deception, cajolery, and violence, it is the action of impurity upon impurity. Not so in Heaven. A martyr, a saint, is always made by the design of God, for His love of men, to warn them and to lead them, to bring them back to His ways. A martyrdom is never the design of man; for the true martyr is he who has become the instrument of God, who has lost his will in the will of God, not lost it but found it, for he has found freedom in submission to God. The martyr no longer desires anything for himself, not even the glory of martyrdom. So thus as on earth the Church mourns and rejoices at once, in a fashion that the world cannot understand; so in Heaven the Saints are most high, having made themselves most low, seeing themselves not as we see them, but in the light of the Godhead from which they draw their being.

I have spoken to you today, dear children of God, of the martyrs of the past, asking you to remember especially our martyr of Canterbury, the blessed Archbishop Elphege; because it is fitting, on Christ's birthday, to remember what is that peace which he brought; and because, dear children, I do not think that I shall ever preach to you again; and because it is possible that in a short time you may have yet another martyr, and that one perhaps not the last. I would have you keep in your hearts these words that I say, and think of them at another time. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

[End of sermon]

essay written by James Kiefer

Prayer

O God, our strength and our salvation, who called your servant Thomas Becket to be a shepherd of your people and a defender of your Church: Keep your household from all evil and raise up among us faithful pastors and leaders who are wise in the ways of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ the shepherd of our souls, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen/

Altenate Psalm and Readings

Psalm 125
2 Esdras 2:42-48
1 John 2:3-6, 15-17
Mark 11:24-33

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

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

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;

Govern and uphold them, now and always.

Day by day we bless you;

We praise your name for ever.

Lord, keep us from all sin today;

Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love and mercy;

For we put our trust in you.

In you, Lord, is our hope;

And we shall never hope in vain.

Collect of the Day: Christmas

O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; 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 hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

For Mission

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

World Cycle of Prayer

We pray for the people of Denmark

Ecumenical Cycle of Prayer

We pray for our sisters and brothers members of the Conservative Baptist Association

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 those of 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: Lord, I lift Your name on high

Lord, I lift Your name on high
Lord, I lift Your name on high
Lord, I love to sing Your praises
Lord, I love to sing Your praises
I'm so glad You're in my life
I'm so glad You're in my life
I'm so glad You came to save us

You came from heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord, I lift Your name on high

Lord, I lift Your name on high
Lord, I lift Your name on high
Lord, I love to sing Your praises
Lord, I love to sing Your praises
I'm so glad You're in my life
I'm so glad You're in my life
I'm so glad You came to save us

You came from heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord, I lift Your name on high

You came from heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord, I lift Your name on high
Lord, I lift Your name on high
Lord, I lift Your name on high

Choir: The Acappella Company

A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

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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