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The Opening

The Psalms

The Lessons

The Commemoration

The Creed

The Prayers

The Ending

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The Sixth Wednesday in Easter
Morning Prayer
Gregory of Nazianzus

The Opening

Opening Sentence

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

Hymn: Very early Sunday morning

Very early Sunday morning
While the guards were still asleep
Jesus is risen declaring
Victory, no more defeat
Jesus is risen declaring
Victory, no more defeat

Resurrection is my song
Resurrection gave me life
Resurrection made me strong
Jesus, my Lord is alive
Resurrection made me strong
Jesus, my Lord is alive

Jesus is risen in glory
Heaven and earth sang and praised
And the angel told the story
He is risen as He said
And the angel told the story
He is risen as He said

Mary Magdalene was looking
In the garden for her Lord
While Jesus Himself was telling
Her to go and spread the word
While Jesus Himself was telling
Her to go and spread the word

[Interlude]

All the disciples were praying
They were really in great fear
When Mary came to them saying
He is risen He is not here
When Mary came to them saying
He is risen He is not here

While they gathered in the room
Jesus Christ Himself appeared
Said My peace I gave to you
And My peace with you I leave
Said My peace I gave to you
And My peace with you I leave

Resurrection is my song
Resurrection gave me life
Resurrection made me strong
Jesus, my Lord is alive
Resurrection made me strong
Jesus, my Lord is alive

[Interlude]

Tell the Marys no more mourning
Among the dead do not seek
For Jesus Our Lord is living
Giving power to the weak
For Jesus Our Lord is living
Giving power to the weak

Jesus My victorious Lord
Conquered the powers of Hades
And the thorns of death He broke
My salvation He declared
And the thorns of death He broke
My salvation He declared

The heavenly hosts were singing
Welcoming our glorious Lord
And the joy is overwhelming
He opened the doors of hope
And the joy is overwhelming
He opened the doors of hope

Alleluia. Alleluia.
Risen is the Lord of peace.
Alleluia. Alleluia.
Truly He's risen indeed.
Alleluia. Alleluia.
Truly He's risen indeed.

Resurrection is my song
Resurrection gave me life
Resurrection made me strong
Jesus, my Lord is alive
Resurrection made me strong
Jesus, my Lord is alive

singer: Sarah Bibawy
instrumentals and arrangement: John Bibawy

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.

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Christ our Passover
1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Romans 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22
Pascha nostrum

Alleluia.
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us; *
therefore let us keep the feast,
Not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, *
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia.
Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; *
death no longer has dominion over him.
The death that he dies, he dies to sin, once for all; *
but the life he lives, he lives to God.
So also consider yourselves dead to sin, *
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Alleluia.
Christ has been raised from the dead, *
the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since by a man came death, *
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, *
so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Alleluia.

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

Amen. Alleluia.

Cantor: The Rev. Philip N. Mayer
St. Peter's by the Lake Episcopal Church
The Colony, Texas

Antiphon

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

The Psalms

Psalm 119:97-120 or
Coverdale

Mem Quomodo dilexi!

97Oh, how I love your law! *
all the day long it is in my mind.

98Your commandment has made me wiser than my enemies, *
and it is always with me.

99I have more understanding than all my teachers, *
for your decrees are my study.

100I am wiser than the elders, *
because I observe your commandments.

101I restrain my feet from every evil way, *
that I may keep your word.

102I do not shrink from your judgments, *
because you yourself have taught me.

103How sweet are your words to my taste! *
they are sweeter than honey to my mouth.

104Through your commandments I gain understanding; *
therefore I hate every lying way.

Nun Lucerna pedibus meis

105Your word is a lantern to my feet *
and a light upon my path.

106I have sworn and am determined *
to keep your righteous judgments.

107I am deeply troubled; *
preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.

108Accept, O LORD, the willing tribute of my lips, *
and teach me your judgments.

109My life is always in my hand, *
yet I do not forget your law.

110The wicked have set a trap for me, *
but I have not strayed from your commandments.

111Your decrees are my inheritance for ever; *
truly, they are the joy of my heart.

112I have applied my heart to fulfill your statutes *
for ever and to the end.

Samekh Iniquos odio habui

113I hate those who have a divided heart, *
but your law do I love.

114You are my refuge and shield; *
my hope is in your word.

115Away from me, you wicked! *
I will keep the commandments of my God.

116Sustain me according to your promise, that I may live, *
and let me not be disappointed in my hope.

117Hold me up, and I shall be safe, *
and my delight shall be ever in your statutes.

118You spurn all who stray from your statutes; *
their deceitfulness is in vain.

119In your sight all the wicked of the earth are but dross; *
therefore I love your decrees.

120My flesh trembles with dread of you; *
I am afraid of your judgments.

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

Leviticus 26:27-42

27But if, despite this, you disobey me, and continue hostile to me, 28I will continue hostile to you in fury; I in turn will punish you myself sevenfold for your sins. 29You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. 30I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense-altars; I will heap your carcasses on the carcasses of your idols. I will abhor you. 31I will lay your cities waste, will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing odours. 32I will devastate the land, so that your enemies who come to settle in it shall be appalled at it. 33And you I will scatter among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword against you; your land shall be a desolation, and your cities a waste.

34Then the land shall enjoy its sabbath years as long as it lies desolate, while you are in the land of your enemies; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its sabbath years. 35As long as it lies desolate, it shall have the rest it did not have on your sabbaths when you were living on it. 36And as for those of you who survive, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall though no one pursues. 37They shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though no one pursues; and you shall have no power to stand against your enemies. 38You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall devour you. 39And those of you who survive shall languish in the land of your enemies because of their iniquities; also they shall languish because of the iniquities of their ancestors.

40But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their ancestors, in that they committed treachery against me and, moreover, that they continued hostile to me 41so that I, in turn, continued hostile to them and brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; I will remember also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Canticle 11 The Third Song of Isaiah

Isaiah 60:1-3, 11a, 14c, 18-19
Surge, illuminare

Arise, shine, for your light has come, *
and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.

For behold, darkness covers the land; *
deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.

But over you the Lord will rise, *
and his glory will appear upon you.

Nations will stream to your light, *
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.

Your gates will always be open; *
by day or night they will never be shut.

They will call you, The City of the Lord, *
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Violence will no more be heard in your land, *
ruin or destruction within your borders.

You will call your walls, Salvation, *
and all your portals, Praise.

The sun will no more be your light by day; *
by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.

The Lord will be your everlasting light, *
and your God will be your glory.
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 Reading

Ephesians 1:1-10

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Canticle 16 The Song of Zechariah
Luke 1:68-79
Benedictus Dominus Deus  

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;*
he has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty savior,*
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,

that he would save us from our enemies,*
from the hands of all who hate us.

he promised to show mercy to our fathers*
and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,*
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,

Free to worship him without fear,*
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.

You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,*
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

To give his people knowledge of salvation*
by the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God*
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,*
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
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

Matthew 22:41-46

41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he? They said to him, The son of David. 43He said to them, How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
44 The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet ?
45If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son? 46No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Commemoration

There is a traditional list of eight great Doctors (Teachers, Theologians) of the ancient Church. It lists four Western (Latin) Doctors -- Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, Jerome of Strido, and Gregory the Great (Pope Gregory I) -- and four Eastern (Greek) Doctors -- Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom of Antioch and Constantinople, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus (also called Gregory Nazianzen). Incidentally, this list is constantly referred to, but I have no idea when or where or by whom it was drawn up.

Gregory of Nazianzus, his friend Basil the Great, and Basil's brother Gregory of Nyssa, are jointly known as the Cappadocian Fathers (Cappadocia is a region in what is now Central Turkey).

Gregory lived in a turbulent time. In 312, Constantine, having won a battle that made him Emperor of the West, issued a decree that made it no longer a crime to be a Christian. In 325 he summoned a council of Bishops at Nicea, across the straits from Byzantium (Constantinople, Istanbul), to settle the dispute between those (led by Athanasius) who taught that the Logos (the "Word" of John 1:1, who "was made flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth) was completely God, in the same sense in which the Father is God, and those (led by Arius) who taught that the Logos is a being created by God the Father. The bishops assembled at Nicea declared that the view of Athanasius was that which they had received from their predecessors as the true Faith handed down from the Apostles. (The Athanasian view is held today by Roman Catholics, East Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterian and Reformed, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, and most other Protestant groups. The Arian view is held by the Watchtower Society, also called J------'s Witnesses, and by a few other groups, including some conservative Unitarians.)

The Arians did not accept defeat quietly. They created a sufficient disturbance so that Constantine, at first inclined to support the decision of the Council, decided that peace could best be obtained by adopting a Creed which simply evaded the issue. After his death in 336, he was succeeded by various of his relatives, some of whom sided with the Athanasians and some with the Arians, and one of whom (Julian the Apostate, Emperor 361-363) attempted to restore paganism as the religion of the Empire. The situation was complicated by the fact that missionaries to the Goths were first sent out in large numbers during the reign of an Arian Emperor, with the result that the Goths were converted to Arian Christianity. Since the professional Army was composed chiefly of Goth mercenaries, and the Army held the balance of power, this was a real problem.

Gregory of Nazianzus was born about 330. He went to school in Athens with his friend Basil, and with the aforesaid Julian. He and Basil compiled an anthology, called the Philokalia, of the works of the great (but somewhat erratic) Alexandrian theologian, philosopher, and scholar of the previous century, Origen. Later, he went home to assist his father, a bishop, in his struggles against Arianism. Meanwhile, his friend Basil had become Archbishop of (Cappadocian) Caesarea. Faced with a rival Arian bishop at Tyana, he undertook to consolidate his position by maneuvering Gregory into the position of Bishop of Sasima, an unhealthy settlement on the border between the two jurisdictions. Gregory called Sasima "a detestable little place without water or grass or any mark of civilization." He felt "like a bone flung to dogs." He refused to reside at Sasima. Basil accused him of shirking his duty. He accused Basil of making him a pawn in ecclesiastical politics. Their friendship suffered a severe breach, which took some time to heal. Gregory suffered a breakdown and retired to recuperate.

In 379, after the death of the Arian Emperor Valens, Gregory was asked to go to Constantinople to preach there. For thirty years, the city had been controlled by Arians or pagans, and the orthodox did not even have a church there. Gregory went. He converted his own house there into a church and held services in it. There he preached the Five Theological Orations for which he is best known, a series of five sermons on the Trinity and in defense of the deity of Christ. People flocked to hear him preach, and the city was largely won over to the Athanasian (Trinitarian, catholic, orthodox) position by his powers of persuasion. The following year, he was consecrated bishop of Constantinople. He presided at the Council of Constantinple in 381, which confirmed the Athanasian position of the earlier Council of Nicea in 325. Having accomplished what he believed to be his mission at Constantinople, and heartily sick of ecclesiastical politics, Gregory resigned and retired to his hometown of Nazianzus, where he died in 389.

His Five Theological Orations are available in several series of works of the Ancient Fathers. The best-known recent biography of him is Gregory of Nazianzus, Rhetor and Philosopher (Oxford U Press, 1969), by Rosemary Radford Reuther. I was in her Sunday School class back when she was writing it, until I was kicked out for asking too many awkward questions. She writes well, nonetheless.

written by James Kiefer

Prayer

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 Nazianzus, 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

Psalm 37:3-6,32-33
Wisdom 7:7-14
Ephesians 3:14-21
John 8:25-32

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 Sixth Sunday in Easter

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; 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 and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The World Cycle of Prayer

We pray for the people of Montenegro.

The Ecumenical Cycle of Prayer

We pray for our sisters and brothers members of the Community of the Lady of All Nations.

A Collect for Peace

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. 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 Country

Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech you that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion us into one united people. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in your Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may show forth your praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in you to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the President of the
United States
and all in Civil Authority

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to your merciful care, that, being guided by your Providence, we may dwell secure in your peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or, Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do your will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in your fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Hymn: Blessed Jesus

Blessd Jesus, at Thy Word
We are gathered all to hear Thee;
Let our hearts and souls be stirred
Now to seek and love and fear Thee,
By Thy teachings sweet and holy,
Drawn from earth to love Thee solely.

All our knowledge, sense and sight
Lie in deepest darkness shrouded,
Til Thy Spirit breaks our night
With the beams of truth unclouded.
Thou alone to God canst win us;
Thou must work all good within us.

Glorious Lord, Thyself impart!
Light of light, from God proceeding,
Open Thou our ears and heart;
Help us by Thy Spirit’s pleading;
Hear the cry Thy people raises;
Hear and bless our prayers and praises.

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Praise to Thee and adoration!
Grant that we Thy Word may trust
And obtain true consolation
While we here below must wander,
Till we sing Thy praises yonder.

Words: Tobias Clausnitzer
Choir of Christ Covenant Church

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. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!

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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