Friday, The Third Sunday in Lent
Gregory of Nyssa
I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son." Luke 15:18, 19
Hymn: God is love
God is love: let heaven adore him;
God is love: let earth rejoice;
let creation sing before him,
and exalt him with one voice.
He who laid the earth's foundation,
he who spread the heavens above,
he who breathes through all creation,
he is love eternal love.
God is love: and though with blindness
sin afflicts the souls of men,
God's eternal loving-kindness
holds them fast and guides them in.
Sin and death and hell shall never
o'er us final triumph gain;
God is love, so Love for ever
o'er the universe must reign.
Singers: The congregation and choir of St. David's Cathderal, Wales Words: Timothy Reese Music: Hydrofol
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.
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 is full of compassion and mercy: Come let us adore him.
1 Come, let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
3 For the Lord is a great God, *
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
and the heights of the hills are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it, *
and his hands have molded the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
7 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!
8 Harden not your hearts,
as your forebears did in the wilderness, *
at Meribah, and on that day at Massah,
when they tempted me.
9 They put me to the test, *
though they had seen my works.
10 Forty years long I detested that generation and said, *
"This people are wayward in their hearts;
they do not know my ways."
11 So I swore in my wrath, *
"They shall not enter into my rest."
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy:
Come, let us adore him.
Psalm 88 or
1O LORD, my God, my Savior, *
by day and night I cry to you.
2Let my prayer enter into your presence; *
incline your ear to my lamentation.
3For I am full of trouble; *
my life is at the brink of the grave.
4I am counted among those who go down to the Pit; *
I have become like one who has no strength;
5Lost among the dead, *
like the slain who lie in the grave,
6Whom you remember no more, *
for they are cut off from your hand.
7You have laid me in the depths of the Pit, *
in dark places, and in the abyss.
8Your anger weighs upon me heavily, *
and all your great waves overwhelm me.
9You have put my friends far from me;
you have made me to be abhorred by them; *
I am in prison and cannot get free.
10My sight has failed me because of trouble; *
LORD, I have called upon you daily;
I have stretched out my hands to you.
11Do you work wonders for the dead? *
will those who have died stand up and give you thanks?
12Will your loving-kindness be declared in the grave? *
your faithfulness in the land of destruction?
13Will your wonders be known in the dark? *
or your righteousness in the country where all
14But as for me, O LORD, I cry to you for help; *
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
15LORD, why have you rejected me? *
why have you hidden your face from me?
16Ever since my youth, I have been wretched and at the
point of death; *
I have borne your terrors with a troubled mind.
17Your blazing anger has swept over me; *
your terrors have destroyed me;
18They surround me all day long like a flood; *
they encompass me on every side.
19My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me, *
and darkness is my only companion.
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.
1 So Joseph went and told Pharaoh, My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan; they are now in the land of Goshen.
2 From among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh.
3 Pharaoh said to his brothers, What is your occupation? And they said to Pharaoh, Your servants are shepherds, as our ancestors were.
4 They said to Pharaoh, We have come to reside as aliens in the land; for there is no pasture for your servants flocks because the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, we ask you, let your servants settle in the land of Goshen.
5 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, Your father and your brothers have come to you.
6 The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land; let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know that there are capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.
7 Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob, and presented him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
8 Pharaoh said to Jacob, How many are the years of your life?
9 Jacob said to Pharaoh, The years of my earthly sojourn are one hundred and thirty; few and hard have been the years of my life. They do not compare with the years of the life of my ancestors during their long sojourn.
10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh.
11 Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and granted them a holding in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had instructed.
12 And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his fathers household with food, according to the number of their dependants.
13 Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.
14 Joseph collected all the money to be found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaohs house.
15 When the money from the land of Egypt and from the land of Canaan was spent, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, and said, Give us food! Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.
16 And Joseph answered, Give me your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.
17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph; and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. That year he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock.
18 When that year was ended, they came to him the following year, and said to him, We cannot hide from my lord that our money is all spent; and the herds of cattle are my lords. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands.
19 Shall we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. We with our land will become slaves to Pharaoh; just give us seed, so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.
20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. All the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe upon them; and the land became Pharaohs.
21 As for the people, he made slaves of them from one end of Egypt to the other.
22 Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh, and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.
23 Then Joseph said to the people, Now that I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh, here is seed for you; sow the land.
24 And at the harvests you shall give onefifth to Pharaoh, and fourfifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.
25 They said, You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be slaves to Pharaoh.
26 So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth. The land of the priests alone did not become Pharaohs.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Canticle 14 A Song of Penitence
Prayer of Manasseh 1-2, 4, 6-7, 11-15
O Lord and Ruler of the hosts of heaven, *
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
and of all their righteous offspring:
You made the heavens and the earth, *
with all their vast array.
All things quake with fear at your presence; *
they tremble because of your power.
But your merciful promise is beyond all measure; *
it surpasses all that our minds can fathom.
O Lord, you are full of compassion, *
long-suffering, and abounding in mercy.
You hold back your hand; *
you do not punish as we deserve.
In your great goodness, Lord,
you have promised forgiveness to sinners,*
that they may repent of their sin and be saved.
And now, O Lord, I bend the knee of my heart, *
and make my appeal, sure of your gracious goodness.
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, *
and I know my wickedness only too well.
Therefore I make this prayer to you: *
Forgive me, Lord, forgive me.
Do not let me perish in my sin, *
nor condemn me to the depths of the earth.
For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent, *
and in me you will show forth your goodness.
Unworthy as I am, you will save me,
in accordance with your great mercy, *
and I will praise you without ceasing all the days of my life.
For all the powers of heaven sing your praises, *
and yours is the glory to ages of ages. Amen.
1 Corinthians 9:16-27
16 If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!
17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission.
18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.
19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.
20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law.
21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law) so that I might win those outside the law.
22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.
23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.
24 Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.
25 Athletes exercise selfcontrol in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.
26 So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air;
27 but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Canticle 18 A Song to the Lamb
Revelation 4:11, 5:9-10, 13
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.
47 When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.
48 When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by.
49 But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out;
50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."
51 Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,
52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat.
54 When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him,
55 and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.
56 And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Gregory of Nyssa, his brother Basil the Great (14 June), and Basil's best friend Gregory of Nazianzus (9 May), are known collectively as the Cappadocian Fathers. They were a major force in the triumph of the Athanasian position at the Council of Constantinople in 381. Gregory of Nyssa tends to be overshadowed by the other two.
Gregory of Nyssa was born in Caesarea, the capital of Cappadocia (central Turkey) in about 334, the younger brother of Basil the Great and of Macrina (19 July), and of several other distinguished persons. As a youth, he was at best a lukewarm Christian. However, when he was twenty, some of the relics of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (10 March) were transferred to a chapel near his home, and their presence made a deep impression on him, confronting him with the fact that to acknowledge God at all is to acknowledge His right to demand a total commitment. Gregory became an active and fervent Christian. He considered the priesthood, decided it was not for him, became a professional orator like his father, married, and settled down to the life of a Christian layman. However, his brother Basil and his friend Gregory of Nazianzus persuaded him to reconsider, and he became a priest in about 362. (This did not affect his marriage.)
His brother Basil, who had become archbishop of Caesarea in 370, was engaged in a struggle with the Arian Emperor Valens, who was trying to stamp out belief in the deity of Christ. Basil desperately needed the votes and support of Athanasian bishops, and he maneuvered his friend Gregory into the bishopric of Sasima, and (in about 371) his brother Gregory into the bishopric of Nyssa, a small town about ten miles from Caesarea. Neither one wanted to be a bishop, neither was suited to be a bishop, and both were furious with Basil.) Gregory did not get along well with his flock, was falsely accused of embezzling church funds, fled the scene in about 376, and did not return until after the death of Valens about two years later.
In 379, Basil died, having lived to see the death of Valens and the end of the persecution. Shortly thereafter, Macrina died. Gregory was with her in the last few days of her life. Afterwards, he took to writing sermons and treatises on theology and philosophy. His philosophy was a form of Christian Platonism. In his approach to the Scriptures, he was heavily influenced by Origen, and his writings on the Trinity and the Incarnation build on and develop insights found in germ in the writings of his brother Basil. But he is chiefly remembered as a writer on the spiritual life, on the contemplation of God, not only in private prayer and meditation, but in corporate worship and in the sacramental life of the Church.
His treatise On the Making of Man deals with God as Creator, and with the world as a good thing, as something that God takes delight in, and that ought to delight us. His Great Catechism is esteemed as a work of systematic theology. His Commentary on the Song of Songs is a work of contemplative, devotional, mystical theology.
His book The Life of Moses is available from the Paulist Press in the series The Classics of Western Spirituality. The reader who is expecting a straightforward biography will be startled -- not necessarily disappointed. An example of his treatment is the following:
In Numbers 13 and 14 we read that when Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt and to the borders of Canaan, he sent twelve spies into the land to look it over. They returned to report two things: (1) The inhabitants of the land were fierce warriors and would prove a formidable enemy. (2) The land was a good land, with fertile soil and an abundance of natural resources. As proof, they brought back a cluster of grapes so large that they hung it from a wooden pole that two men carried horizontally between them. Ten of the spies said that the enemy was too strong to be defeated, and that the Israelites ought to turn back, but the remaining two, Joshua and Caleb, urged the people to remember that the LORD was with them, and had shown Himself mighty to save. The people listened to the ten and prepared to turn back. At this the LORD was angry and said, "Very well, you shall wander in the wilderness for forty years, until all the men of this generation have died, except for Joshua and Caleb. Only then shall the next generation go in to possess the homeland that I promised to Abraham for his descendants." Hence the well-known child's nursery rhyme that goes in part:
Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh
Were the only two who ever got thru to the land of milk and honey.
Gregory (following the example of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10) treats the Exodus as a type of our deliverance from the bondage of sin, and the Promised Land as a type of Heaven. He comments that the Israelites had been guilty of idolatry, of fornication, of repeated rebellions against Moses, of various disobediences to the commands of God, but that none of these moved God to deny them entrance into the Promised Land. It was only when they came to the Land, and God showed them what a good land He had prepared for them, and gave them a token of that goodness in the form of the cluster of grapes, hanging from a wooden pole between two spies, and they refused to trust in the promise of God to save them from their enemies, that they were turned back (indeed, that they turned themselves back). So, it is not failure to live virtuous lives that can keep us out of Heaven, but a refusal to believe in the mercy of God, and to trust His gracious declarations of His good will toward us, concretely expressed in the saving blood of Christ, Who is the True Vine, and Who for our sakes hung on the wood of the cross between two thieves, as the grape cluster hung on the wood of the pole between two spies, showing forth in His own Person the sign of God's good will to us and His assurance that He is ready to overcome all our enemies.
As you see, it is not really a biography of Moses, and it will not be to everyone's taste, not even to every Christian's taste. And even Christians who find this approach helpful will grant that it has its pitfalls. Clearly anyone who follows Gregory's example runs the risk of being led on a random walk by the will-o-the-wisp of his own imagination. But many Christians have received spiritual nourishment from this way of reading the Scriptures, and the example of St. Paul, as aforesaid, favors the view that this approach is at least sometimes of legitimate value.
written by James Kiefer
Almighty God, who have revealed to your Church your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like your bishop Gregory of Nyssa, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
Alternate Psalm and Readings
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.
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.
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.
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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.
We pray for the people of Ethiopia.
We pray for our sisters and brothers members of the Christian City Churches
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.
To my humble supplication
Lord, give ear and acceptation
Save thy servant, that hath none
Help nor hope but Thee alone. Amen.
Let us pray now for our own needs and those of others.
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.
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.
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: This is the truth
This is the truth sent from above,
The truth of God, the God of love:
Therefore dont turn me from your door,
But hearken all, both rich and poor.
The first thing which I do relate
Is that God did man create,
The next thing which to you I'll tell,
Woman was made with man to dwell.
Thus we were heirs to endless woes,
Till God the Lord did interpose,
And so a promise soon did run,
That he would redeem us by his Son.
And at that season of the year
Our blest Redeemer did appear,
He here did live, and here did preach,
and many thousands he did teach.
Thus he in love to us behaved,
To show us how we must be saved;
And if you want to know the way,
Be pleased to hear what he did say.
Choir of St. David's Cathedral, Wales
Music and words: Traditional
Arrangement: Vaughn Williams
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.
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.
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.
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
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.