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Saturday
Morning Prayer
John of Damascus

The Opening

Opening Sentence

Watch, for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning, lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. Mark 13:35, 36

Hymn: Savior of the nations, come

Savior of the nations, come,
Virgin's Son, make here Thy home!
Marvel now, O heav'n and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.

Not by human flesh and blood,
By the Spirit of our God,
Was the Word of God made flesh--
Woman's Offspring, pure and fresh.

Here a maid was found with child,
Yet remained a virgin mild.
In her womb this truth was shown:
God was there upon his throne.

Then stepped forth the Lord of all
From His pure and kingly hall;
God of God, yet fully man,
His heroic course began.

God the Father was His source,
Back to God He ran His course.
Into hell His road went down,
Back then to His throne and crown.

For you are the Father's Son
Who in flesh the vict'ry won.
By Your mighty pow'r make whole
All our ills of flesh and soul.

From the manger newborn light
Shines in glory through the night.
Darkness there no more resides;
In this light now faith abides.

Singer: The Lutheran Warbler
The Lutheran Hymnal Hymn 95
Text: John 1: 14
Words: St. Ambrose, +397
German version translated by Martin Luther, 1524
English version translated by: William M. Reynolds, 1860, alt.
Tune: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

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.

Our King and Savior now draws near:
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

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

The Psalms

20 Exaudiat te Dominus or
Coverdale

1May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble, *
the Name of the God of Jacob defend you;
2Send you help from his holy place *
and strengthen you out of Zion;
3Remember all your offerings *
and accept your burnt sacrifice;
4Grant you your heart's desire *
and prosper all your plans.
5We will shout for joy at your victory
and triumph in the Name of our God; *
may the Lord grant all your requests.
6Now I know that the Lord gives victory to his anointed; *
he will answer him out of his holy heaven,
with the victorious strength of his right hand.
7Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, *
but we will call upon the Name of the Lord our God.
8They collapse and fall down, *
but we will arise and stand upright.
9O Lord, give victory to the king *
and answer us when we call.

21:1-7 Domine, in virtute tua or
Coverdale

1The king rejoices in your strength, O Lord; *
how greatly he exults in your victory!
2You have given him his heart's desire; *
you have not denied him the request of his lips.
3For you meet him with blessings of prosperity, *
and set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
4He asked you for life, and you gave it to him: *
length of days, for ever and ever.
5His honor is great, because of your victory; *
splendor and majesty have you bestowed upon him.
6For you will give him everlasting felicity *
and will make him glad with the joy of your presence.
7For the king puts his trust in the Lord; *
because of the loving-kindness of the Most High, he
will not fall.

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 Lesson

Amos 5:18-27

18Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness, not light;19as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake.20Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?

21I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.22Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon.23Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps.24But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.25Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?26You shall take up Sakkuth your king, and Kaiwan your star-god, your images, which you made for yourselves;27therefore I will take you into exile beyond Damascus, says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Canticle 12
A Song of Creation
Benedicite, omnia opera Domini

Song of the Three Young Men, 35-65

Invocation

Glorify the Lord, all you works of the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

I The Cosmic Order

Glorify the Lord, you angels and all powers of the Lord, *
O heavens and all waters above the heavens.
Sun and moon and stars of the sky, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, every shower of rain and fall of dew, *
all winds and fire and heat.
Winter and summer, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O chill and cold, *
drops of dew and flakes of snow.
Frost and cold, ice and sleet, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O nights and days, *
O shining light and enfolding dark.
Storm clouds and thunderbolts, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

II The Earth and its Creatures

Let the earth glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O mountains and hills,
and all that grows upon the earth, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas, and streams, *
O whales and all that move in the waters.
All birds of the air, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O beasts of the wild, *
and all you flocks and herds.
O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

III The People of God

Let the people of God glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O priests and servants of the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O spirits and souls of the righteous, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

You that are holy and humble of heart, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Doxology

Let us glorify the Lord: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

The New Testament Lesson

Jude 17-25

17But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;18for they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts.”19It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions.20But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;21keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.22And have mercy on some who are wavering;23save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.24Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing,25to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Canticle 19
The Song of the Redeemed
Magna et mirabilia

Revelation 15:3-4

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.

The Gospel

Matthew 22:15-22

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality.17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?19Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius.20Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?”21They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Creed

The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Prayers

The Lord's Prayer

or traditional

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

Suffrages

Show us your mercy, O Lord;

And grant us your salvation.

Clothe your ministers with righteousness;

Let your people sing with joy.

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;

For only in you can we live in safety.

Lord, keep this nation under your care;

And guide us in the way of justice and truth.

Let your way be known upon earth;

Your saving health among all nations.

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;

Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Create in us clean hearts, O God;

And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.

Collect of the Day: The First Sunday of Advent

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

For Mission

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the 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 Rwanda

Ecumenical Cycle of Prayer

We pray for our sisters and brothers, members of the Batak Christian Community Church

A Collect for Saturdays

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Commemoration

John is generally accounted "the last of the Fathers". He was the son of a Christian official at the court of the moslem khalif Abdul Malek, and succeeded to his father's office.

In his time there was a dispute among Christians between the Iconoclasts (image-breakers) and the Iconodules (image-venerators or image-respectors). The Emperor, Leo III, was a vigorous upholder of the Iconoclast position. John wrote in favor of the Iconodules with great effectiveness. Ironically, he was able to do this chiefly because he had the protection of the moslem khalif (ironic because the moslems have a strong prohibition against the religious use of pictures or images).

John is also known as a hymn-writer. Two of his hymns are sung in English at Easter ("Come ye faithful, raise the strain" and "The Day of Resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad!"). Many more are sung in the Eastern Church.

His major writing is The Fount of Knowledge, of which the third part, The Orthodox Faith, is a summary of Christian doctrine as expounded by the Greek Fathers.

The dispute about icons was not a dispute between East and West as such. Both the Greek and the Latin churches accepted the final decision.

The Iconoclasts maintained that the use of religious images was a violation of the Second Commandment ("Thou shalt not make a graven image... thou shalt not bow down to them").

The Iconodules replied that the coming of Christ had radically changed the situation, and that the commandment must now be understood in a new way, just as the commandment to "Remember the Sabbath Day" must be understood in a new way since the Resurrection of Jesus on the first day of the week.

Before the Incarnation, it had indeed been improper to portray the invisible God in visible form; but God, by taking fleshly form in the person of Jesus Christ, had blessed the whole realm of matter and made it a fit instrument for manifesting the Divine Splendor. He had reclaimed everything in heaven and earth for His service, and had made water and oil, bread and wine, means of conveying His grace to men. He had made painting and sculpture and music and the spoken word, and indeed all our daily tasks and pleasures, the common round of everyday life, a means whereby man might glorify God and be made aware of Him. (NOTE: I always use "man" in the gender-inclusive sense unless the context plainly indicates otherwise.)

Obviously, the use of images and pictures in a religious context is open to abuse, and in the sixteenth century abuses had become so prevalent that some (not all) of the early Protestants reacted by denouncing the use of images altogether. Many years ago, I heard a sermon in my home parish (All Saints' Church, East Lansing, Michigan) on the Commandment, "Thou shalt not make a graven image, nor the likeness of anything in the heavens above, nor in the earth beneath, nor in the waters under the earth -- thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them." (Exodus 20:4-5 and Deuteronomy 5:8-9) The preacher (Gordon Jones) pointed out that, even if we refrain completely from the use of statues and paintings in representing God, we will certainly use mental or verbal images, will think of God in terms of concepts that the human mind can grasp, since the alternative is not to think of Him at all. (Here I digress to note that, if we reject the images offered in Holy Scripture of God as Father, Shepherd, King, Judge, on the grounds that they are not literally accurate, we will end up substituting other images -- an endless, silent sea, a dome of white radiance, an infinitely attenuated ether permeating all space, an electromagnetic force field, or whatever, which is no more literally true than the image it replaces, and which leaves out the truths that the Scriptural images convey. (One of the best books I know on this subject is Edwyn Bevan's Symbolism and Belief, Beacon Press, originally a Gifford Lectures series.[note - now out of print]) C S Lewis repeats what a woman of his acquaintance told him: that as a child she was taught to think of God as an infinite "perfect substance," with the result that for years she envisioned Him as a kind of enormous tapioca pudding. To make matters worse, she disliked tapioca. Back to the sermon.) The sin of idolatry consists of giving to the image the devotion that properly belongs to God. No educated man today is in danger of confusing God with a painting or statue, but we may give to a particular concept of God the unconditional allegiance that properly belongs to God Himself. This does not, of course, mean that one concept of God is as good as another, or that it may not be our duty to reject something said about God as simply false. Images, concepts, of God matter, because it matters how we think about God. The danger is one of intellectual pride, of forgetting that the Good News is, not that we know God, but that He knows us (1 Corinthians 8:3), not that we love Him, but that He loves us (1 John 4:10).

(Incidentally, it was customary in my parish in those days for the preacher to preach a short "Children's Sermon," after which the children were dismissed for Sunday School, and the regular sermon and the rest of the service followed. What I have described above was the Children's Sermon. I remained for the regular sermon, but found it a bit over my head -- a salutary correction to my intellectual snobbery.)

In the East Orthodox tradition, three-dimensional representations are seldom used. The standard icon is a painting, highly stylized, and thought of as a window through which the worshipper is looking into Heaven. (Hence, the background of the picture is almost always gold leaf.) In an Eastern church, an iconostasis (icon screen) flanks the altar on each side, with images of angels and saints (including Old Testament persons) as a sign that the whole church in Heaven and earth is one body in Christ, and unites in one voice of praise and thanksgiving in the Holy Liturgy. At one point in the service, the minister takes a censer and goes to each icon in turn, bows and swings the censer at the icon. He then does the same thing to the congregation -- ideally, if time permits, to each worshipper separately, as a sign that every Christian is an icon, made in the image and likeness of God, an organ in the body of Christ, a window through whom the splendor of Heaven shines forth.

written by James Kiefer

Prayer

Confirm our minds, O Lord, in the mysteries of the true faith, set forth with power by your servant John of Damscus; that we, with him, confessing Jesus to be true God and true Man, and singing the praises of the risen Lord, may, by the power of the resurrection, attain to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for evermore. Amen.

Intercessions

Let us pray now for our own needs and those of others.

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.

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 Joy in God's Creation

O heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Good Use of Leisure

O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Unemployed

Heavenly Father, we remember before you those who suffer want and anxiety from lack of work. Guide the people of this land so to use our public and private wealth that all may find suitable and fulfilling employment, and receive just payment for their labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: My Jesus, my Saviour

My Jesus, my Saviour
Lord there is none like You
All of my days I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love

My comfort, my shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You

Shout to the Lord, all the Earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name

I sing for joy at the work of Your hand
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have
In You

My Jesus, my Saviour
Lord there is none like You
All of my days I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love

My comfort
(My comfort)
My shelter
(My shelter)
You're my tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You

Shout to the Lord, all the Earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name

I sing for joy at the work of Your hand
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand (yes, I will)
Nothing compares to the promise I have
Nothing compares to the promise I have
Nothing compares to the promise I have
In You

Singer: Ruben Studdard
Words and Music: Darlene Joyce Zschech

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.

The Ending

The General Thanksgiving

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

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

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

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.


Noonday

The Opening

O God, make speed to save us.

O Lord, make haste to help us.

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.

The Psalm

Psalm 119 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.

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 Reading

The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:5

Thanks be to God.

The Prayers

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

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.

Lord, hear our prayer;

And let our cry come to you.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, Peace I give to you; my own peace I leave with you: Regard not our sins, but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and unity of that heavenly City, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

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

The Ending

Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.