Evening Prayer 17th December 2016

But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4.7

Psalm 138

I give thee thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    before the gods I sing thy praise;
I bow down toward thy holy temple
    and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness;
for thou hast exalted above everything
    thy name and thy word.
On the day I called, thou didst answer me,
    my strength of soul thou didst increase.

All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord,
    for they have heard the words of thy mouth;
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;
    but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    thou dost preserve my life;
thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies,
    and thy right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfil his purpose for me;
    thy steadfast love, O Lord, endures for ever.
    Do not forsake the work of thy hands.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Psalm 139.1-17

O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me!
Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up;
    thou discernest my thoughts from afar.
Thou searchest out my path and my lying down,
    and art acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
Thou dost beset me behind and before,
    and layest thy hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high, I cannot attain it.

Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?
    Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend to heaven, thou art there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there thy hand shall lead me,
    and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Let only darkness cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to thee,
    the night is bright as the day;
    for darkness is as light with thee.

For thou didst form my inward parts,
    thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful.
    Wonderful are thy works!
Thou knowest me right well;
    my frame was not hidden from thee,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.
Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance;
    in thy book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Zechariah 8.9-17

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Let your hands be strong, you who in these days have been hearing these words from the mouth of the prophets, since the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in; for I set every man against his fellow. But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, says the Lord of hosts. For there shall be a sowing of peace; the vine shall yield its fruit, and the ground shall give its increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.”

For thus says the Lord of hosts: “As I purposed to do evil to you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the Lordof hosts, so again have I purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; fear not. These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, says the Lord.”

St. Luke 3.1-9

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tibe′ri-us Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturae′a and Trachoni′tis, and Lysa′ni-as tetrarch of Abile′ne, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Ca′iaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechari′ah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be brought low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

He said therefore to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

The Lord’s Prayer

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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who
trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Collect

O Almighty God, who hast committed to the hands of men the ministry of reconciliation; We humbly beseech thee, by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, to put it into the hearts of many to offer themselves for this ministry; that thereby mankind may be drawn to thy blessed kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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