Morning Prayer
Wednesday 1 July 2020

 

Preparation

 

          O Lord, open our lips and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

         

1        O Lord our governor,

          how glorious is your name in all the world!

2        Your majesty above the heavens is praised

          out of the mouths of babes at the breast.

3        You have founded a stronghold against your foes,

          that you might still the enemy and the avenger.

4        When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,

          the moon and the stars that you have ordained,

5        What are mortals, that you should be mindful of them;

          mere human beings, that you should seek them out?

6        You have made them little lower than the angels

          and crown them with glory and honour.

7        You have given them dominion over the works of your hands

          and put all things under their feet,

8        All sheep and oxen,

          even the wild beasts of the field,

9        The birds of the air, the fish of the sea

          and whatsoever moves in the paths of the sea.

10      O Lord our governor,

          how glorious is your name in all the world!

 

          Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;

          as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

 

          The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
          let us pray with one heart and mind.

          Silence is kept.

          As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,

          so may the light of your presence, O God,

          set our hearts on fire with love for you;
          now and for ever.

          Amen.

Psalmody

 

Psalm 77

1        I cry aloud to God;

          I cry aloud to God and he will hear me.

2        In the day of my trouble I have sought the Lord;

          by night my hand is stretched out and does not tire; my soul refuses comfort.

3        I think upon God and I groan;

          I ponder, and my spirit faints.

4        You will not let my eyelids close;

          I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

5        I consider the days of old;

          I remember the years long past;

6        I commune with my heart in the night;

          my spirit searches for understanding.

7        Will the Lord cast us off for ever?

          Will he no more show us his favour?

8        Has his loving mercy clean gone for ever?

          Has his promise come to an end for evermore?

9        Has God forgotten to be gracious?

          Has he shut up his compassion in displeasure?

10      And I said, ‘My grief is this:

          that the right hand of the Most High has lost its strength.’

11      I will remember the works of the Lord

          and call to mind your wonders of old time.

12      I will meditate on all your works

          and ponder your mighty deeds.

13      Your way, O God, is holy;

          who is so great a god as our God?

14      You are the God who worked wonders

          and declared your power among the peoples.

15      With a mighty arm you redeemed your people,

          the children of Jacob and Joseph.

16      The waters saw you, O God;

          the waters saw you and were afraid; the depths also were troubled.

17      The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered;

          your arrows flashed on every side;

18      The voice of your thunder was in the whirlwind;

          your lightnings lit up the ground; the earth trembled and shook.

19      Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters,

          but your footsteps were not known.

20      You led your people like sheep

          by the hand of Moses and Aaron.      

          Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;

          as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

 

 

1st Reading

                            

Judges 9.22-end

Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. But God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem; and the lords of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech. This happened so that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be avenged and their blood be laid on their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and on the lords of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. So, out of hostility to him, the lords of Shechem set ambushes on the mountain tops. They robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was reported to Abimelech.

 

When Gaal son of Ebed moved into Shechem with his kinsfolk, the lords of Shechem put confidence in him. They went out into the field and gathered the grapes from their vineyards, trod them, and celebrated. Then they went into the temple of their god, ate and drank, and ridiculed Abimelech. Gaal son of Ebed said, ‘Who is Abimelech, and who are we of Shechem, that we should serve him? Did not the son of Jerubbaal and Zebul his officer serve the men of Hamor father of Shechem? Why then should we serve him? If only this people were under my command! Then I would remove Abimelech; I would say to him, “Increase your army, and come out.” ’

 

When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. He sent messengers to Abimelech at Arumah, saying, ‘Look, Gaal son of Ebed and his kinsfolk have come to Shechem, and they are stirring up the city against you. Now therefore, go by night, you and the troops that are with you, and lie in wait in the fields. Then early in the morning, as soon as the sun rises, get up and rush on the city; and when he and the troops that are with him come out against you, you may deal with them as best you can.’

 

So Abimelech and all the troops with him got up by night and lay in wait against Shechem in four companies. When Gaal son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, Abimelech and the troops with him rose from the ambush. And when Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, ‘Look, people are coming down from the mountain tops!’ And Zebul said to him, ‘The shadows on the mountains look like people to you.’ Gaal spoke again and said, ‘Look, people are coming down from Tabbur-erez, and one company is coming from the direction of Elon-meonenim.’ Then Zebul said to him, ‘Where is your boast now, you who said, “Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?” Are not these the troops you made light of? Go out now and fight with them.’ So Gaal went out at the head of the lords of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him. Many fell wounded, up to the entrance of the gate. So Abimelech resided at Arumah; and Zebul drove out Gaal and his kinsfolk, so that they could not live on at Shechem.

 

On the following day the people went out into the fields. When Abimelech was told, he took his troops and divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the fields. When he looked and saw the people coming out of the city, he rose against them and killed them. Abimelech and the company that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city, while the two companies rushed on all who were in the fields and killed them. Abimelech fought against the city all that day; he took the city, and killed the people that were in it; and he razed the city and sowed it with salt.

 

When all the lords of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the temple of El-berith. Abimelech was told that all the lords of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. So Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the troops that were with him. Abimelech took an axe in his hand, cut down a bundle of brushwood, and took it up and laid it on his shoulder. Then he said to the troops with him, ‘What you have seen me do, do quickly, as I have done.’ So every one of the troops cut down a bundle and following Abimelech put it against the stronghold, and they set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.

 

Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women and all the lords of the city fled to it and shut themselves in; and they went to the roof of the tower. Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and came near to the entrance of the tower to burn it with fire. But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, and crushed his skull. Immediately he called to the young man who carried his armour and said to him, ‘Draw your sword and kill me, so people will not say about me, “A woman killed him.” ’ So the young man thrust him through, and he died. When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they all went home. Thus God repaid Abimelech for the crime he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers; and God also made all the wickedness of the people of Shechem fall back on their heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham son of Jerubbaal.

 

Canticle

 

          Return to the Lord, who will have mercy, to our God, who will richly pardon.

 

1        Seek the Lord while he may be found,

          call upon him while he is near;

2        Let the wicked abandon their ways,

          and the unrighteous their thoughts;

3        Return to the Lord, who will have mercy;

          to our God, who will richly pardon.

4        ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

          neither are your ways my ways,’ says the Lord.

5        ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

          so are my ways higher than your ways

          and my thoughts than your thoughts.

6        ‘As the rain and the snow come down from above,

          and return not again but water the earth,

7        ‘Bringing forth life and giving growth,

          seed for sowing and bread to eat,

8        ‘So is my word that goes forth from my mouth;

          it will not return to me fruitless,

9        ‘But it will accomplish that which I purpose,

          and succeed in the task I gave it.’                                              Isaiah 55.6-11

 

          Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;

          as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

 

          Return to the Lord, who will have mercy, to our God, who will richly pardon.

 

2nd Reading

 

Luke 16.1-18

Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

 

‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’

 

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.

 

‘The law and the prophets were in effect until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone tries to enter it by force. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one stroke of a letter in the law to be dropped.

 

‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

 

Gospel Canticle

 

          You show mercy to our ancestors and remember your holy covenant.

 

1        Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel,

          who has come to his people and set them free.

2        He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,

          born of the house of his servant David.                                                   

3        Through his holy prophets God promised of old

          to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all that hate us,

4        To show mercy to our ancestors,

          and to remember his holy covenant.

5        This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:

          to set us free from the hands of our enemies,

6        Free to worship him without fear,

          holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.

7        And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,

          for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

8        To give his people knowledge of salvation

          by the forgiveness of all their sins,

9        In the tender compassion of our God

          the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

10      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 shall be for ever. Amen.

 

          You show mercy to our ancestors and remember your holy covenant.

 

Intercessions

Prayers for the needs of others – spend some time praying for those in need. Just share with the Lord what’s on your mind today…

 

The Collect

         

          Almighty God,

          you have broken the tyranny of sin

          and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts

         whereby we call you Father:

          give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,

          that we and all creation may be brought

         to the glorious liberty of the children of God;

          through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

          who is alive and reigns with you,

          in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

          one God, now and for ever.    

          Amen.

 

          Our Father in heaven,

          hallowed be your name,

          your kingdom come,                                                                

          your will be done,

          on earth as in heaven.

          Give us today our daily bread.

          Forgive us our sins

          as we forgive those who sin against us.

          Lead us not into temptation                                                              

          but deliver us from evil.

          For the kingdom, the power,                                                             

          and the glory are yours

          now and for ever. Amen.

 

The Conclusion

         

          The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil, and keep us in eternal life.

          Let us bless the Lord - thanks be to God.

Gatley VP
St James
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