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2019/01/18

Confession of Peter (18 January) and Second Sunday after the Epiphany - 2019

(Painting by Eugène Burnand 1850– 921. Image source: Wikimedia, public domain)

The Confession of Saint Peter
Commemorated January 18

ALMIGHTY Father, who didst inspire Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep thy Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reignth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-19 AV).

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany.
Psalm 48. Magnus Dominus.
GREAT is the Lord, and highly to be praised * in the city of our God, even upon his holy hill.
2 The hill of Sion is a fair place, and the joy of the whole earth; * upon the north side lieth the city of the great King: God is well known in her palaces as a sure refuge.
3 For lo, the kings of the earth * were gathered, and gone by together.
4 They marvelled to see such things; * they were astonished, and suddenly cast down.
5 Fear came there upon them; and sorrow, * as upon a woman in her travail.
6 Thou dost break the ships of the sea * through the east-wind.
7 Like as we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God; * God upholdeth the same for ever.
8 We wait for thy loving-kindness, O God, * in the midst of thy temple.
9 O God, according to thy Name, so is thy praise unto the world’s end; * thy right hand is full of righteousness.
10 Let the mount Sion rejoice, and the daughters of Judah be glad, * because of thy judgments.
11 Walk about Sion, and go round about her; * and tell the towers thereof.
12 Mark well her bulwarks, consider her palaces, * that ye may tell them that come after.
13 For this God is our God for ever and ever: * he shall be our guide unto death.  
Glory be to the Father, &c.
As it was in the beginning, &c.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
  
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 45.1-15
Psalter: Psalm 96, 97 | 45, 46
Epistle Reading: Romans 12.6-16
Gospel Reading: St. Mark 1.1-11

2019/01/12

First Sunday after the Epiphany - 2019


The First Sunday after the Epiphany.
Psalm 47. Omnes gentes, plaudite.
O CLAP your hands together, all ye peoples: * O sing unto God with the voice of melody.
2 For the Lord is high, and to be feared; * he is the great King upon all the earth.
3 He shall subdue the peoples under us, * and the nations under our feet.
4 He shall choose out an heritage for us, * even the excellency of Jacob, whom he loved.
5 God is gone up with a merry noise, * and the Lord with the sound of the trump.
6 O sing praises, sing praises unto our God; * O sing praises, sing praises unto our King.
7 For God is the King of all the earth: * sing ye praises with understanding.
8 God reigneth over the nations; * God sitteth upon his holy seat.
9 The princes of the peoples are joined unto the people of the God of Abraham; * for God, which is very high exalted, doth defend the earth, as it were with a shield.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
As it was in the beginning, &c.

The Collect.
O LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people which call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 60.1-9
Psalter: Psalm 47, 48 | 66, 67
Epistle Reading: Romans 12.1-5
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 2.41-52


Personal: Two or three years ago I encouraged you to employ this collect everyday through the whole year, praying on behalf of Christ’s Church world-over, and in our own country. I still use it weekly as I pray for my own congregation and the larger church. It is one of several prayers that has stuck with me through the years. The LORD knows we need somebody praying words like this for his people, and especially in the West, where large swaths of churches are caving in on the right and on the left. We need watchmen and warriors praying that that God would be pleased to open our eyes to “know and perceive what things we ought to do,” and we need Centurions and suppliants crying out to him for the grace and power we need to “faithfully fulfill the same”! Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

2019/01/04

The Epiphany (6 January) - 2019



The Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles
6 January
Psalm 46. Deus noster refugium.
GOD is our hope and strength, * a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved, * and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof rage and swell, * and though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same.
4 There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God; * the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most Highest.
5 God is in the midst of her, therefore shall she not be removed; * God shall help her, and that right early.
6 The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are moved; * but God hath showed his voice, and the earth shall melt away.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; * the God of Jacob is our refuge.
8 O come hither, and behold the works of the Lord, * what destruction he hath brought upon the earth.
9 He maketh wars to cease in all the world; * he breaketh the bow, and knappeth the spear in sunder, and burneth the chariots in the fire.
10 Be still then, and know that I am God: * I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; * the God of Jacob is our refuge.
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.

The Collect.
O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 60.1-9]
Psalter: Psalm 96
Epistle Reading: Ephesians 3.1-11
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 2.1-12


2018/12/31

The Circumcision of Christ - 1 January 2019

[The knife at the top of the picture is for circumcision; and the Hebrew word is Yehoshua - Hebrew for Jesus]


The Circumcision of Christ (1 January).
Psalm 6. Domine, ne in furore.
O  LORD, rebuke me not in thine indignation, * neither chasten me in thy displeasure.
2 Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak; * O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed.
3 My soul also is sore troubled: * but, Lord, how long wilt thou punish me?
4 Turn thee, O Lord, and deliver my soul; * O save me, for thy mercy’s sake.
5 For in death no man remembereth thee; * and who will give thee thanks in the pit?
6 I am weary of my groaning; * every night wash I my bed, and water my couch with my tears.
7 My beauty is gone for very trouble, * and worn away because of all mine enemies.
8 Away from me, all ye that work iniquity; * for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.
9 The Lord hath heard my petition; * the Lord will receive my prayer.
10 All mine enemies shall be confounded, and sore vexed; * they shall be turned back, and put to shame suddenly.
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.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true Circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the New Year: Almighty and Everlasting God, from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift; we give thee thanks for all thy benefits, temporal and spiritual, bestowed upon us in the year past, and we beseech thee of thy goodness, grant us a favorable and joyful year, defend us from all dangers and adversities, and send upon us the fullness of thy blessing; through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever One God, world without end. Amen (“The Book of Worship: Approved by the General Synod of the Evangelical Reformed Church,” 1947, p. 120).

Epistle Reading: Philippians 2.9-13
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 2.15-21

Homily
----
The feast of the circumcision of Jesus is also a good time to review baptism, and especially Christian baptism for infants and children. Here is a link to the sermon I preached right before I baptized a young child, on the 30th of December 2018: Follow the Little Ones to Jesus

2018/12/28

The First Sunday after Christmas - 2018/2019

["Mother and Child" watercolor by Jehuda Rodan (1916-1985). Accessed on 24 December 2018 at Kodner]

The Sunday after Christmas-Day.
Psalm 8. Domine, Dominus noster.
O  LORD our Governor, how excellent is thy Name in all the world; * thou that hast set thy glory above the heavens!
2 Out of the mouth of very babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies, * that  thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider thy heavens, even the work of thy fingers; * the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? * and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 Thou madest him lower than the angels, * to crown him with glory and worship.
6 Thou makest him to have dominion of the works of thy hands; * and thou hast put all things in subjection un- der his feet:
7 All sheep and oxen; * yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; * and whatsoever walketh through the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord our Governor, * how excellent is thy Name in all the world!
Glory be to the Father, &c.
As it was in the beginning, &c.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 9.2-7
Psalter: Morning-2, 8; Evening-89
Epistle Reading: Galatians 4.1-7
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 1.18-25


Personal: This link will take you to my homily on Christmas Eve which addresses the Epistle reading for this first Sunday after Christmas. It includes both manuscript and audio file: God sent forth his Son, born of a woman.

2018/12/25

Feast Days of St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist and the Holy Innocents - 2018/2019



Saint Stephen’s Day (26 December).
From Psalm 34
Benedicam Domino
I WILL alway give thanks unto the Lord * his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous * and his ears are open unto their prayers.
The countenance of the Lord is against them that do evil * to root out the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth them * and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart * and will save such as be of an humble spirit.
Great are the troubles of the righteous * but the Lord delivereth him out of all.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
As it was in the beginning, &c.

The Collect.
Grant, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-year’s Eve.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Epistle Reading: Acts (6.8-7.53) 7.54-60
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 23.34-39


Saint John the Evangelist’s Day (27 December).
From Psalm 37
Noli aemulari
FRET not thyself because of the ungodly * neither be thou envious against the evil-doers.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass * and be withered even as the green herb.
Put thou thy trust in the Lord, and be doing good * dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thou in the Lord * and he shall give thee thy heart’s desire.
Commit thy way unto the Lord, and put thy trust in him * and he shall bring it to pass.
He shall make thy righteousness as clear as the light * and thy just dealing as the noon-day.
Hold thee still in the Lord, and abide patiently upon him * but grieve not thyself at him whose way doth prosper, against the man that doeth after evil counsels.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
As it was in the beginning, &c.

The Collect.
MERCIFUL Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-year’s Eve.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


Epistle Reading:1 John 1.1-10
Gospel Reading: St. John 21.19-25

The Innocents’ Day (28 December).
From Psalm 90
Domine, refugium
LORD, thou hast been our refuge * from one generation to another.
So teach us to number our days * that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Turn thee again, O Lord, at the last * and be gracious unto thy servants.
O satisfy us with thy mercy, and that soon * so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Comfort us again now after the time that thou hast plagued us * and for the years wherein we have suffered adversity.
Shew thy servants thy work * and their children thy glory.
And the glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us * prosper thou the work of our hands upon us, O prosper thou our handywork.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
As it was in the beginning, &c.


The Collect.
O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths; Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-year’s Eve.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


Epistle Reading: Revelation 14.1-5
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew2.13-18


2018/12/24

The Eve of the Nativity of our Lord and Christmas-Day - 2018


The Eve of the Nativity of our Lord
December 24
Psalm 2. Quare fremuerunt gentes?
WHY do the heathen so furiously rage together? * and why do the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together * against the Lord, and against his Anointed:
3 Let us break their bonds asunder, * and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn: * the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, * and vex them in his sore displeasure:
6 Yet have I set my King * upon my holy hill of Sion.
7 I will rehearse the decree; * the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
8 Desire of me, and I shall give thee the nations for thine inheritance, * and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt bruise them with a rod of iron, * and break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; * be instructed, ye that are judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord in fear, * and rejoice unto him with reverence.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and so ye perish from the right way, if his wrath be kindled, yea but a little. *  Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
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.

GOD, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thine only Son Jesus Christ; Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our Judge, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Epistle Reading: Titus 2.11-15
Gospel Reading: Luke 2.1-14


The Nativity of our Lord, or the Birth-day of Christ,
Commonly called Christmas-Day.
Magnificat.
St. Luke I.
MY soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
As it was in the beginning, &c.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Epistle Reading: Hebrews 1.1-12
Gospel Reading: St. John 1.1-14