Welcome to Morning Prayer

Welcome! Consider this your invitation to join our on-line morning prayer group. We gather every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. Central Time.

If you would like to join us, simply  go to our Zoom hangout at 8:30 am (Central Time) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (You will have to download something the first time you use Zoom.) We are currently using the Morning Prayer Liturgy below.

For more information about me, please see my primary blog, Spacious Faith.

Thanks for stopping by,
Joanna

Easter Season 2022

Call to Worship 

After nights of deep shadows, we come in the brightness of morning.
We come in search of the Living One. The Resurrected One.
We come with eyes open to the mysterious emptiness of the tomb.
We come with ears tuned to hear the Good News:
Jesus is not here, but is risen.

Jesus is risen indeed!

Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm: from Psalm 118

O give thanks to the Holy One, who is good;
    God’s steadfast love endures forever!

Out of my distress I called on God
    who answered me and set me in a broad place.

With the Holy One on my side I do not fear.
    What can mortals do to me?
God is my strength and my might,
    and has become my salvation.

I shall not die, but I shall live,
    and recount the deeds of my God.
 I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the chief cornerstone.
This is God’s doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Holy One has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
    you are my God, I will extol you.

O give thanks to the Holy One, who is good;
   God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Collect (adapted from Notre Dame campus ministry)

Almighty ever-living God,
constantly accomplish the Easter Mystery within us,
that we, who seek to follow the Resurrected One,
may, under your protective care, bear much fruit
and come to the joys of life abundant and eternal.

Scripture: Acts 17:28-34

28 For ‘In God we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,

‘For we, too, are God’s offspring.’

29 “Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now God commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because God has fixed a day on which to have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom God has appointed, and of this God has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

32 When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed, but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 At that point Paul left them. 34 But some of them joined him and became believers, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

 

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Offering Our Prayers 

Holy One, we give thanks to you, for you are good. Your steadfast love endures forever! Hear now our prayers of gratitude. [God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]

God our strength, out of our distress, we pray to you. [In your mercy . . . God hear our prayer.]

Canticle: (from the Church of England)

God of glory,
by the raising of Jesus you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open in our Savior Jesus Christ.

Benediction (from Romans 38-39)

Live this day knowing that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, the Resurrected One.

Morning Prayer: Lent 2022

Call to Worship (from Psalm 5)

Give ear to my words, O God;
    give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry,
        for to you I pray.
Holy One, in the morning you hear my voice;
    in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm:  from Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin. . . .

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.

O God, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Collect

Jesus, you are the way through the wilderness: show us your truth in which we journey, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit be in us the life that draws us to God. Amen.

(source: F.B. McNutt, The Prayer Manual)

Scripture: John 19:31-42 (CEB)

31 It was the Preparation Day and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath, especially since that Sabbath was an important day. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of those crucified broken and the bodies taken down. 32 Therefore, the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men who were crucified with Jesus. 33 When they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead so they didn’t break his legs. 34 However, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 The one who saw this has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he speaks the truth, and he has testified so that you also can believe. 36 These things happened to fulfill the scripture, They won’t break any of his bones. 37 And another scripture says, They will look at him whom they have pierced.

38 After this Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take away the body of Jesus. Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one because he feared the Jewish authorities. Pilate gave him permission, so he came and took the body away. 39 Nicodemus, the one who at first had come to Jesus at night, was there too. He brought a mixture of myrrh and aloe, nearly seventy-five pounds in all.[d] 40 Following Jewish burial customs, they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it, with the spices, in linen cloths. 41 There was a garden in the place where Jesus was crucified, and in the garden was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish Preparation Day and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus in it.

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Offering Our Prayers

God of the journey, we dwell in your Presence through the abundance of  your steadfast love. Receive these words of joy and gratitude. (God of life . . . we give you thanks.)

God of the wilderness, in the morning we plead our case to you. Receive our prayers for those we love and for this beloved world. (God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.)

Canticle: A Song of Christ’s Goodness Anselm of Canterbury

Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you;
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.
Often you weep over our sins and our pride,
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgment.
You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds,
in sickness you nurse us and with pure milk you feed us.
Jesus, by your dying, we are born to new life;
by your anguish and labor we come forth in joy.
Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness;
through your gentleness, we find comfort in fear.
Your warmth gives life to the dead,
your touch makes sinners righteous.
Lord Jesus, in your mercy, heal us;
in your love and tenderness, remake us.
In your compassion, bring grace and forgiveness,
for the beauty of heaven, may your love prepare us.

Benediction (From Psalm 121)

The Holy One is our keeper;
The Eternal One is our shade at our right hands.
The sun shall not strike us by day, nor the moon by night.
God will keep us from all evil; God will keep our lives.
The Holy One will keep our going out and our coming in
from this time on and forevermore.

Morning Prayer: Epiphany 2022

Call to Worship (from Psalm 96)

O sing to God a new song; sing to the Holy One, all the earth.
For great is our God and greatly to be praised.

Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Scripture (Isaiah 42:5-9)

Thus says God, the Holy One,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
I am God, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am Hashem, that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to idols.
See, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
I tell you of them.

Collect (source: Gelasian Sacramentary)

Christ our true and only Light: receive our morning prayers, and illumine the secrets of our hearts with your healing goodness, that no evil desires may possess us who are made new in the light of your heavenly grace. Amen.

Scripture: Luke 4:1-13

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,
    and serve only him.’”

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    to protect you,’

11 and

‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Offering Our Prayers

God who puts a new song in our hearts, we offer our thanks for your steadfast love and faithfulness. [God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]

Holy God, who stretched out the heavens and spread out the earth, hear our prayers for ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and our world. [God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly radiance of your light.
Come, parent of the poor, come, giver of gifts, come, light of the heart.
Greatest comforter, sweet guest of the soul, sweet consolation.

In labor, rest, in heat, temperance, in tears, solace.
O most blessed light, fill the inmost heart of your faithful.
Without your spirit, there is nothing in us, nothing that is not harmful.
Cleanse that which is unclean, water that which is dry, heal that which is wounded.
Bend that which is inflexible, fire that which is chilled, correct what goes astray.
Give to your faithful, those who trust in you, the sevenfold gifts.
Grant the reward of virtue, grant the deliverance of salvation, grant eternal joy.

Benediction

Bless the poets, the workers for justice,
the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache,
the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh
meaning– We will all make it through,
despite politics and wars, despite failures
and misunderstandings. There is only love.

[–Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, opening dedication for Owen Chopoksa Sapulpa]

Morning Prayer: Advent 2021

Call to Worship (Philip Doddridge)

Hark, the glad sound! the Savior comes, / The Savior promised long;
Let every heart prepare a room, / And every voice a song.

 Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm (Psalm 146)

Praise God! Praise God, O my soul!
I will praise the Holy One as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in rulers, in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in their God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.
God sets the prisoners free and opens the eyes of the blind.
God lifts up those who are bowed down and loves the righteous.
God watches over the strangers and upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked God brings to ruin.
Our God will reign forever, for all generations. Praise God!

Prayer (Charles Wesley)

Come, thou long-expected Jesus.
Release us from our fears and our sins.
Let us find our rest in you.
You are hope of all the earth.
You are our dear desire.
You are the joy of every longing heart.
Amen.

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

9 What gain have the workers from their toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11 He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13 moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Offering Our Prayers 

Holy One, you are the joy of our longing hearts. We thank you for all that is good and gracious in our lives. [Offer prayers of gratitude with response: God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]

Holy One, we come to you for release, for rest, for hope. Receive our prayers . . . [Offer prayers of intercession with response: God, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer.]

Canticle: Luke 1:46-55

My soul magnifies the Holy One,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for you have looked with favor on the lowliness of your servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for you, O Mighty One, have done great things for me,
and holy is your name.
Your mercy is for those who fear you
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm;
you have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
You have brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
you have filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
You have helped your servant Israel,
in remembrance of your mercy,
according to the promise you made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and Hagar and Sarah and to their descendants forever.

Benediction (Luke 1:78-79)

By the tender mercy of our God,
    the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Morning Prayer: October/November 2021

Call to Worship (Psalm 75:1)

We give you thanks, O God, we give you thanks, calling upon your Name and declaring all your wonderful deeds.

 Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm (Psalm 100)

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth.
    Worship the Holy One with gladness;
come into the divine presence with singing.

Know that Hashem is God.
It is God who made us, and we are God’s;
we are God’s people, and the sheep of the holy pasture.

Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving,
and the divine courts with praise.
Give thanks to God, bless the holy name.

For God is good;
The Divine steadfast love endures forever,
and faithfulness to all generations.

Collect (a prayer of St. Gertrude)

Loving Jesus: Protect and sustain us with your hand. Open the door of your love that, sealed with your wisdom, we may be free to serve you with joy. Amen.

Scripture: Jeremiah 33:14-16

14 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Offering Our Prayers 

God, we enter your gates with thanksgiving, giving gratitude for the good and the beautiful in our lives. (God of life, we give you thanks.)

Along with our gratitude, God, we also bring our pain. Hear our prayers for healing, guidance, mercy, and justice. (God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.)

Concluding Prayer (Miriam Therese Winter, WomanWord: A Feminist Lectionary and Psalter, p. 153)

You call us into discipleship,
O One Who Bears All Burdens,
making a way through the wilderness,
hovering near in pillar and cloud,
revealing bits of Your glory
when all seems hopeless and courage fails.
Carry us on the wingtips of Your
never-failing promise,
through moments of discouragement
as we push against the tide.
You are my friends,
You told us all,
my friends and my disciples.
Be with us always,
be with us now
as we seek Your way.
Amen.

Benediction (Celtic)

God’s Blessing be with us, Christ’s peace be with us, the Spirit’s outpouring be with us, now and always. Amen.

Morning Prayer: September 2021

Call to Worship from Isaiah 35

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.

Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.”

Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Scripture: Isaiah 43: 1-3, 16, 18-19

But now thus says the Holy One:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . .
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters.

 Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
 I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

Collect

Jesus, you are the way through the wilderness: show us your truth in which we journey, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit be in us the life that draws us to God. Amen.

(source: F.B. McNutt, The Prayer Manual [London: Mowbray, 1961], p. 29, adapted)

Scripture: Exodus 16:9-21

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12 “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”[a] For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’” 17 The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. 18 But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed. 19 And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over until morning.” 20 But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul. And Moses was angry with them. 21 Morning by morning they gathered it, as much as each needed; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Offering Our Prayers

Holy One, even in the midst of the wilderness, we rejoice with joy and singing. Hear now our prayers of thanksgiving. [God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]

Holy One, it feels at times as if we must pass through the waters and walk through the fire. Do not let us be overwhelmed. Grant us your peace and receive these concerns we carry in our hearts . . . [God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.]

Prayer from Hildegard of Bingen 

O comforting fire of Spirit,
Life, within the very Life of all Creation.
Holy you are in giving life to All.

Holy you are in anointing
those who are not whole;
Holy you are in cleansing
a festering wound.

O sacred breath,
O fire of love, . . .
enfold those who offer blessing.

Care for those
who are imprisoned by the enemy
and dissolve the bonds of those
whom Divinity wishes to save.

O mightiest path which penetrates All,
from the height to every Earthly abyss,
you compose All, you unite All. . . .

Therefore, praise be to you
who are the sound of praise
and the greatest prize of Life,
who are hope and richest honor
bequeathing the reward of Light.

Amen

Benediction from Saint Clare

Live without fear: your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Go in peace to follow the good road and may God’s blessing be with you always. Amen.

Morning Prayer: Summer 2021

Call to Worship

O God, let us hear of your steadfast love in the morning
for in you we put our trust.
Teach us the way we should go,
for to you we lift up our souls.

Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm: from Psalm 42

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
    and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
    a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise the Holy One,
    my help and my God.
By day the Holy One commands Divine steadfast love,
    and at night God’s song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.

Collect

God our rock and refuge: keep us safe in your care and strengthen us with your grace, that we may pray to you faithfully and love one another boldly, following the example of Jesus, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives for ever and ever. Amen.
(source: Veronese Sacramentary)

Scriptures: Revelation 21:1-6

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
God will dwell with them;
they will be God’s peoples,
and God will be with them,
and will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Offering our Prayers

Holy One, you are our hope and help. We praise you. And we offer to you now our prayers of gratitude . . .  [God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]

Holy  One, our souls are disquieted within us, and we pour them out to you. We offer up the concerns we carry in our hearts . . .  [God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.]

Concluding Prayer  (Attributed to Dallán Forgaill, 6th-8th century, adapted)

Be my vision, O God of my heart.
There is none other but the Ruler of the seven heavens.

Be my meditation by day and night.
May it be you that I behold even in my sleep.

Be my speech, be my understanding.
Be with me, may I be with you.

Be my Parent, may I be your child.
May you be mine, may I be yours.

Be my battle-shield, be my sword.
Be my dignity, be my delight.

Be my shelter, be my stronghold.
Raise me up to the company of the angels.

Be every good to my body and soul.
Be my home in heaven and on earth.

Be solely the chief love of my heart.
Let there be none other, O Ruler of heaven,

Your love in my soul and in my heart —
Grant this to me, O God of the seven heavens.

O heart of my heart, whatever befall me,
O ruler of all, be my vision.

Benediction (From Ephesians 3:17-19)

I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have power together with all the saints
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Amen.

Morning Prayer: Pentecost Season 2021

Call to Worship

Veni Sancte Spiritus
Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly radiance of your light.
Come, parent of the poor, come, giver of gifts, come, light of the heart.
Greatest comforter, sweet guest of the soul, sweet consolation.
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Scripture: Isaiah 61:4-10

The spirit of the Holy One is upon me,
    because God has anointed me;
God has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners;
 to proclaim the year of God’s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Holy One, to display divine glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.

Collect (from the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship)

God of power,
may the boldness of your Spirit transform us,
may the gentleness of your Spirit lead us,
may the gifts of your Spirit
be our goal and our strength,
now and always. Amen.

Scripture: Mark 6b-13

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Offering Our Prayers

Holy One, we celebrate the gift of Your Spirit in this Pentecost season. We offer to you now our deep thanks for your presence in our lives and for all that is good . . .  [offer prayers of gratitude with response: God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]

Holy One, we flee to you for refuge; in you we put our trust. Receive now these concerns we carry in our hearts . . . [offer prayers of intercession with response: In your mercy . . . God hear our prayer.]

Pentecost Prayer from the Reformed Church in America

Holy Spirit, voice of the prophets:
You enflame your varied prophets with a passion for your truth,
and through them call your people to the ways of justice and compassion.
Come, Spirit of Righteousness, and burn in our hearts.

Holy Spirit, wind and flame:
You filled disciples with joy and courage,
empowering them to preach your word and to share your good news.
Come, Spirit of Power, make us bold witnesses of your redeeming love.

Amen.

Benediction

As we live this day,
may the wind of the Spirit startle our senses and blow through our lives;
may the fire of the Spirit scorch our complacency and light our way.
And may the blessing of the Holy One—Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer—rest with us now and forever more. Amen.

Morning Prayer: Easter Season 2021

Call to Worship 

After nights of deep darkness, we come in the bright light of morning.
We come in search of the Living One. The Resurrected One.
We come with eyes open to the dark emptiness of the tomb.
We come with ears tuned to hear the Good News:
Christ is not here, but is risen.

Christ is risen indeed!

Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm: from Psalm 118

O give thanks to the Holy One, who is good;
    God’s steadfast love endures forever!

Out of my distress I called on God
    who answered me and set me in a broad place.

With the Holy One on my side I do not fear.
    What can mortals do to me?
God is my strength and my might,
    and has become my salvation.

I shall not die, but I shall live,
    and recount the deeds of my God.
 I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the chief cornerstone.
This is God’s doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Holy One has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
    you are my God, I will extol you.

O give thanks to the Holy One, who is good;
   God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Collect (from the Church of England)

God of glory,
by the raising of Jesus you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open in our Savior Jesus Christ.

Scripture: Acts 2:1-12

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Meditation from Debie Thomas

If you are bilingual, then you know that there is nothing easy about substituting one language for another.  Languages are intricate and messy.  They carry the full weight of their respective cultures, histories, psychologies, and spiritualities.  To attempt one language instead of another is to make oneself a learner, a servant, a supplicant.  It is an act of exploration and of hospitality.  To speak across barriers of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, culture, or politics is to challenge stereotypes and risk ridicule.  It is a brave and disorienting act.  A risky act.

But this is what the Holy Spirit required of Christ’s frightened disciples on the birthday of the church.  Essentially, she told them: Stop huddling in what you call safety.  Throw open your windows and doors.  Feel the pressure of my hand against your backs, pour yourselves into the streets you’ve come to fear, and speak!  Don’t you understand?  Silence is no longer an option.  You are on fire!

Offering Our Prayers 

Holy One, we give thanks to you, for you are good. Your steadfast love endures forever! Hear now our prayers of gratitude. [God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]

Out of our distress, we call to you God. [In your mercy . . . God hear our prayer.]

Canticle: (from A New Zealand Prayer Book)

God of unchangeable power, when you fashioned the world the stars sang together and the host of heaven shouted for joy; open our eyes to the wonders of creation and teach us to use all things for good, to the honor of your glorious name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Benediction (from Romans 38-39)

Live this day knowing that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, the Resurrected One.

Morning Prayer: Lent 2021

Call to Worship (from Psalm 5)

Give ear to my words, O God;
    give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry,
        for to you I pray.
Holy One, in the morning you hear my voice;
    in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

Through the abundance of your steadfast love,
   I will enter your house,
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    in awe of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
    make your way straight before me.

Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm:  from Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin. . . .

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.

O God, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Collect

Jesus, you are the way through the wilderness: show us your truth in which we journey, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit be in us the life that draws us to God. Amen.

(source: F.B. McNutt, The Prayer Manual)

Scripture: Luke 22:14-23

When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22 For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!” 23 Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Meditation:

Offering Our Prayers

God of the journey, we dwell in your Presence through the abundance of  your steadfast love. Receive these words of joy and gratitude. (God of life . . . we give you thanks.)

God of the wilderness, in the morning we plead our case to you. Receive our prayers for those we love and for this beloved world. (God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.)

Canticle:  A Song of Our True Nature (Julian of Norwich)

Christ revealed our frailty and our falling, our trespasses and our humiliations.
Christ also revealed his blessed power, his blessed wisdom and love.
He protects us as tenderly and as sweetly when we are in greatest need;
he raises us in spirit and turns everything to glory and joy without ending.
God is the ground and the substance, the very essence of nature;
God is the true father and mother of natures.
We are all bound to God by nature, and we are all bound to God by grace.
And this grace is for all the world, because it is our precious mother, Christ.
For this fair nature was prepared by Christ for the honor and nobility of all,
and for the joy and bliss of salvation.

Benediction (From Psalm 121)

The Holy One is our keeper;
The Eternal One is our shade at our right hands.
The sun shall not strike us by day, nor the moon by night.
God will keep us from all evil; God will keep our lives.
The Holy One will keep our going out and our coming in
from this time on and forevermore.