March 15, 2020

Welcome to St. Mark’s Morning Prayer Service for the Third Sunday in Lent.

Here is the text of today’s liturgy:

Opening Verses

Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Joel 2:13

Jesus said, “If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Mark 8:34

The Confession

Let us pray.

God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you whenever we have opposed your will in our lives or denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created. We repent of any evil that ensnares us, any evil we have done, and any evil done on our behalf. Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will. Amen.

Absolution

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

The Invitatory and Psalter

V. O God, let our mouth proclaim your praise.

R. And your glory all the day long.

Doxology

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

Our God is full of compassion and mercy. Come, let us worship.

Venite Psalm 95:1-7

O come, let us sing unto the Lord; * let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving * and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.

For the Lord is a great God, * and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the corners of the earth, * and the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it, * and his hands prepared the dry land.

O come, let us worship and fall down, * and kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is the Lord our God, * and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; * let the whole earth stand in awe of him. For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth, * and with righteousness to judge the world and the peoples with his truth.

Deus misereatur Psalm 67:1-5

O God, be merciful to us and bless us, *

show us the light of your countenance and come to us.

Let your ways be known upon earth, *

your saving health among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; *

let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, *

for you judge the peoples with equity and guide all the nations upon earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; *

let all the peoples praise you.

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.

Lessons 

Following each lesson, say: The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Canticle 9 (following 1st lesson)

The First Song of Isaiah Ecce, Deus. Isaiah 12:2-6

Surely, it is God who saves me; * I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, * and he will be my Savior. Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing * from the springs of salvation. And on that day you shall say, * Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name; Make his deeds known among the peoples; * see that they remember that his Name is exalted. Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, * and this is known in all the world. Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, * for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.

Canticle E (following 2nd lesson)

A Song of Jerusalem Our Mother, Isaiah 66:10-14

Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her *

all you who love her,

Rejoice, rejoice with her, *

all you who mourn over her,

That you may drink deeply with delight *

from her comforting breast.

For thus says our God, “I will extend peace to her like a river, *

the wealth of nations like an overflowing stream.

“You shall nurse and be carried on her arm,

and you shall nestle in her lap.

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; *

you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

“You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice, *

you shall flourish like the grass of the fields.”

Homily 

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, and 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 (said together)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name,

thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,

as we forgive our debtors

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever. Amen.

The Suffrages

V. Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;

R. Govern and uphold them, now and always.

V. Day by day we bless you;

R. We praise your name for ever.

V. Lord, keep us from all sin today;

R. Have mercy upon us, Lord, have mercy.

V. Lord, show us your love and mercy;

R. For we put our trust in you.

V. In you, Lord, is our hope;

R. And we shall never hope in vain.

The Collects

A Collect for the Renewal of Life

O God, the King eternal, whose light 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 during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Peace

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Grace

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Guidance

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Mission

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you, through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The General Thanksgiving (together)

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.

Concluding Sentence

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

Ephesians 3:20,21

Blessing and Dismissal

Be at peace wherever the day may take you and among whom, in your goings and your comings, and in your returning home. And now, may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you, always.

About Episcopal Worship and this Service

Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is the principle worship service in The Episcopal Church. Along with Holy Baptism, it is at the center of the church’s sacramental life, and the chief means by which we worship as a community. In times of quarantine, however, for reasons of public health and safety, the community may not be able to gather for this important memorial of our salvation.

At such times, we may and should turn to another worship resource: the Daily Office. It consists of Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline (late night), as well as Daily Devotions for use by individuals and families. Each office, as they’re called, offers worship of praise and thanksgiving by means of word and song.

Morning Prayer, or Matins, is how many Christians have begun their days for well over a thousand years. It opens with a call to worship and repentance, then invites us to raise up psalms of praise and mercy. We then read aloud the lessons appointed for the day, each of which is followed by a canticle (song) drawn from a biblical or devotional text, typically from one of the prophets or saints. A brief homily, which is a commentary on the lessons of the day, may follow.

Then comes the Apostles’ Creed, an ancient statement of our faith, followed by a series of prayers. These include The Lord’s Prayer, which we say together; Suffrages (intercessory prayers), which we read by alternate versus; Collects, which are prayers particular to the day or occasion; Thanksgivings, which we also say together; and a final Blessing.

The biblical readings, or lessons, for any day of the church are found in two different versions. One is at the back of the Book of Common Prayer in the section marked “The Lectionary” and “Daily Office Lectionary.” The other is the updated one which we use on Sundays, as do most other Catholic and Protestant churches. It is called the “Revised Common Lectionary,” or RCL. The link below leads to it. The RCL works on a three-year cycle, taking the church through much of the Bible. All of the New Testament, except for the more disturbing parts of the Book of Revelation, is read each year.

If you’ve not done so in a while, or ever, now’s a good time to explore the prayers and devotions available to us in the resources listed below, particularly the Book of Common Prayer and Enriching Our Worship. They are meant to help each of us draw closer to God and to each other – especially when we can’t otherwise do so in person.

Resources (available for free online)

Book of Common Prayer, www.bcponline.org

Enriching Our Worship 1, https://www.churchpublishing.org/siteassets/pdf/enriching-our-worship-1/enrichingourworship1.pdf

These two sources contain the prayers and worship services used in The Episcopal Church and by Episcopalians in their daily devotions.

The Revised Common Lectionary and Daily Office, https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/

This source shows the readings assigned for use in Sunday worship and for daily office use for each day of the year, with links to online Bibles.

A Prayer in Times of Sickness and Contagion

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health, source of all wisdom and peace: Comfort and relieve your servants who suffer from sickness or fear, give your power of healing to those who minister to their needs, and let your grace be with all those who work to protect us from contagion and disease. May we be strengthened against any weakness, sickness, fear, and doubt, and place our confidence in your loving care through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever, Amen.