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The Opening

The Psalms

The Lessons

The Commemoration

The Creed

The Prayers

The Ending

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Thursday, The Fourth Week After the Epiphany
Morning Prayer
Bridget of Kildare

The Opening

Opening Sentence

From the rising of the sun to its setting my Name shall be great among the nations, and in every place incense shall be offered to my Name, and a pure offering; for my Name shall be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 1:11

Hymn: Angels, from the realms of glory

Angels, from the realms of glory,
wing your flight o'er all the Earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
now proclaim Messiah's birth:
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn king.

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing,
yonder shines the infant light:
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn king.

Sages, leave your contemplations,
brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of Nations,
guided by Christ's natal star:
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn king.

Saints, before the altar bending,
watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly, your prayers attending,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear:
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn king.
Christ, the newborn king.

Singers: The Church Of God of Edmonton Youth Choir |
Words: James Montgomery |
Music: Stuart Blake

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.

The Lord has shown forth his glory: Come let us adore him.

Venite

Come let us sing to the Lord;*
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving*
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.

For the Lord is a great God,*
and a great King above all gods.

In his hand are the caverns of the earth,*
and the heights of the hills are his also.

The sea is his, for he made it,*
and his hands have molded the dry land.

Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee,*
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.*
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

Antiphon

The Lord has shown forth his glory: Come let us adore him.

The Psalms

Psalm 71 or
Coverdale
In te, Domine, speravi

1In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge; *
let me never be ashamed.

2In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; *
incline your ear to me and save me.

3Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; *
you are my crag and my stronghold.

4Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, *
from of the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.

5For you are my hope, O LORD God, *
my confidence since I was young.

6I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;
from my mother's womb you have been my strength; *
my praise shall be always of you.

7I have become a portent to many; *
but you are my refuge and my strength.

8Let my mouth be full of your praise *
and your glory all the day long.

9Do not cast me off in my old age; *
forsake me not when my strength fails.

10For my enemies are talking against me, *
and those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together.

11They say, "God has forsaken him;
go after him and seize him; *
because there is none who will save."

12O God, be not far from me; *
come quickly to help me, O my God.

13Let those who set themselves against me be put to shame and
be disgraced; *
let those who seek to do me evil be covered with scorn
and reproach.

14But I shall always wait in patience, *
and shall praise you more and more.

15My mouth shall recount your mighty acts
and saving deeds all day long; *
though I cannot know the number of them.

16I will begin with the mighty works of the Lord GOD; *
I will recall your righteousness, yours alone.

17O God, you have taught me since I was young, *
and to this day I tell of your wonderful works.

18And now that I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not
forsake me, *
till I make known your strength to this generation
and your power to all who are to come.

19Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens; *
you have done great things;
who is like you, O God?

20You have showed me great troubles and adversities, *
but you will restore my life
and bring me up again from the deep places of the earth.

21You strengthen me more and more; *
you enfold and comfort me,

22Therefore I will praise you upon the lyre for your
faithfulness, O my God; *
I will sing to you with the harp, O Holy One of Israel.

23My lips will sing with joy when I play to you, *
and so will my soul, which you have redeemed.

24My tongue will proclaim your righteousness all day long, *
for they are ashamed and disgraced who sought
to do me harm.

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

Genesis 23:1-20

Sarah lived for one hundred and twenty-seven years; this was the length of Sarahs life. 2And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. 3Abraham rose up from beside his dead, and said to the Hittites, 4'I am a stranger and an alien residing among you; give me property among you for a burying-place, so that I may bury my dead out of my sight. 5The Hittites answered Abraham, 6'Hear us, my lord; you are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places; none of us will withhold from you any burial ground for burying your dead. 7Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. 8He said to them, 'If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me Ephron son of Zohar, 9so that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as a possession for a burying-place. 10Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city, 11'No, my lord, hear me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it; in the presence of my people I give it to you; bury your dead. 12Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13He said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, 'If you only will listen to me! I will give the price of the field; accept it from me, so that I may bury my dead there. 14Ephron answered Abraham, 15'My lord, listen to me; a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silverwhat is that between you and me? Bury your dead. 16Abraham agreed with Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.

17 So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, passed 18to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, in the presence of all who went in at the gate of his city. 19After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20The field and the cave that is in it passed from the Hittites into Abrahams possession as a burying-place.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Canticle 8 The Song of Moses 
Exodus 15:1-6, 11-13, 17-18
Cantemus Domino

I will sing to the Lord, for he is lofty and uplifted;*
the horse and its rider has he hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my refuge;*
the Lord has become my Savior.
This is my God and I will praise him,*
the God of my people and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a mighty warrior;*
Yahweh is his Name.
The chariots of Pharaoh and his army has he hurled into the sea;*
the finest of those who bear armor have been
drowned in the Red Sea.
The fathomless deep has overwhelmed them;*
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in might;*
your right hand, O Lord, has overthrown the enemy.
Who can be compared with you, O Lord, among the gods? *
who is like you, glorious in holiness,
awesome in renown, and worker of wonders?
You stretched forth your right hand;*
the earth swallowed them up.
With your constant love you led the people you redeemed;*
with your might you brought them in safety to
your holy dwelling.
You will bring them in and plant them *
on the mount of your possession,
The resting-place you have made for yourself, O Lord,*
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hand has established.
The Lord shall reign *
for ever and for ever.
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

Hebrews 11:32-12:2

32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented 38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better so that they would not, without us, be made perfect.

12Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Canticle 19 The Song of the Redeemed
Revelation 15:3-4
Magna et mirabilia

O ruler of the universe, Lord God,
great deeds are they that you have done,*
surpassing human understanding.
Your ways are ways of righteousness and truth,*

O King of all the ages
Who can fail to do you homage, Lord
and sing the praises of your Name
for you only are the Holy One.

All nations will draw near and fall down before you
because your just and holy works have been revealed.

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 6:60-71

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, 'This teaching is difficult; who can accept it? 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, 'Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65And he said, 'For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.

66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, 'Do you also wish to go away? 68Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God. 70Jesus answered them, 'Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil. 71He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Commemoration

Bridget (Brigid, Bride, Bridey, or in Welsh, Ffraid) of Kildare was born around 450 into a Druid family, being the daughter of Dubhthach, court poet to King Loeghaire. At an early age, she decided to become a Christian, and she eventually took vows as a nun. Together with a group of other women, she established a nunnery at Kildare (meaning, Church of the Oak). She was later joined by a community of monks led by Conlaed. Kildare had formerly been a pagan shrine where a sacred fire was kept perpetually burning, and Bridget and her nuns, instead of stamping out the fire, kept it going but gave it a Christian interpretation. (This was in keeping with the general process whereby Druidism in Ireland gave way to Christianity with very little opposition, the Druids for the most part saying that their own beliefs were a partial and tentative insight into the nature of God, and that they recognized in Christianity what they had been looking for.) Bridget as an abbess participated in several Irish councils, and her influence on the policies of the Church in Ireland was considerable.

Many stories of her younger days deal with her generosity toward the needy. This aspect of her character has been the subject of a poem:

"The Giveaway" (from The Love Leters of Phyllis McGinley, New York, Viking Press, 1954)

Saint Bridget was
A problem child.
Although a lass
Demure and mild,
And one who strove
To please her dad,
Saint Bridget drove
The family mad.
For here's the fault in Bridget lay:
She would give everything away.

To any soul
Whose luck was out
She'd give her bowl
Of stirabout;
She'd give her shawl,
Divide her purse
With one or all.
And what was worse,
When she ran out of things to give
She'd borrow from a relative.

Her father's gold,
Her grandsire's dinner,
She'd hand to cold
and hungry sinner;
Give wine, give meat,
No matter whose;
Take from her feet
The very shoes,
And when her shoes had gone to others,
Fetch forth her sister's and her mother's.

She could not quit.
She had to share;
Gave bit by bit
The silverware,
The barnyard geese,
The parlor rug,
Her little
niece's christening mug,
Even her bed to those in want,
And then the mattress of her aunt.

An easy touch
For poor and lowly,
She gave so much
And grew so holy
That when she died
Of years and fame,
The countryside
Put on her name,
And still the Isles of Erin fidget
With generous girls named Bride or Bridget.

Well, one must love her.
Nonetheless,
In thinking of her
Givingness,
There's no denial
She must have been
A sort of trial
Unto her kin.
The moral, too, seems rather quaint.
Who had the patience of a saint,
From evidence presented here?
Saint Bridget? Or her near and dear?

It is reported of Francis of Assisi that as a young man he had a dream in which God said to him, "Francis, repair my church." He took this to refer to a church building near Assisi which was in need of repair, and he sold a bale of silk from his father's warehouse to obtain building materials. His father was furious. Francis had not asked for permission: he simply took it for granted that his father would wish to contribute to such a worthy cause. It is said of Bridget that as a young girl she made similar assumptions about her family.

There is a problem here. On the one hand, it can be argued that if our family members do not choose to make sacrifices for God we have no right to make that choice for them. Some time ago, if I remember aright, one listmember wrote in considerable bitterness about a childhood that had been blighted by the decision of the father that it would be nice if the whole family lived in Christian Poverty. (Said listmember found no spiritual blessings in the experience, and saw no sign that anyone else did, emphatically including said father.)

On the other hand, I far more frequently hear Christians argue that their sacred duty to keep everything nice for their spouses and children prevents them, not only from going as missionaries to distant shores, but also from volunteering even quite moderate amounts of their time and money for worthy causes down the block. (Not that all unattached Christians are blameless in this regard.) You will note that Saint Paul, writing to the Corinthians, told them that marriage, while instituted of God and a sign of the union between Christ and His Church, was not without its dangers to the spiritual life of the Christian. But the danger he saw had nothing to do with sex. He was concerned instead that the married are tempted to overvalue security, to feel that they cannot afford, for their families' sakes, to take chances. And since he expected Christians to be facing persecution soon, he saw this as a matter of urgency.

So, as I said, there is a problem here. I have no final answer to give, but commend it to your consideration.

written by James Kiefer

Prayer

O God, by whose grace your servant Brigid, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen.

Alternate Psalms and Readings

Psalm 138
Judges 4:4-9
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Matthew 6:25-33

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

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 Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For Mission

O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

World Cycle of Prayer

We pray for the people of Bulgaria.

Ecumenical Cycle of Prayer

We pray for our sisters and brothers members of the Primitive Baptist

A Collect for the Renewal of Life

O God, the King eternal, who divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ 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 Peace Among Nations

Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

For Those in the Armed Forces of Our Country

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Conservation of Natural Resources

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: When Jesus left his Father's throne

When Jesus left his Father's throne,
he chose an humble birth;
like us, unhonoured and unknown,
he came to dwell on earth.
Like him, may we be found below
in wisdom's paths of peace;
like him in grace and knowledge grow
as years and strength increase.

Sweet were his words, and kind his look,
when mothers round him pressed;
their infants in his arms he took,
and on his bosom blessed.
Safe from the world's alluring harms,
beneath his watchful eye,
thus in the circle of his arms,
may we forever lie.

When Jesus into Zion rode,
the children sang around;
for joy they plucked the palms and strowed
their garments on the ground.
Hosanna our glad voices raise,
hosanna to our King!
Should we forget our Saviour's praise,
the stones themselves would sing.

Singers: London Fox Singers | Words: James Montgomery |
Tune: St. Lucy

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.

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.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20,21

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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