Morning Prayer 28th December 2016

The Holy Innocents

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. St. Matthew 5.10

Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds asunder,
    and cast their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“I have set my king
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son,
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron,
    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
    with trembling kiss his feet,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way;
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
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 26

Vindicate me, O Lord,
    for I have walked in my integrity,
    and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
    test my heart and my mind.
For thy steadfast love is before my eyes,
    and I walk in faithfulness to thee.

I do not sit with false men,
    nor do I consort with dissemblers;
I hate the company of evildoers,
    and I will not sit with the wicked.

I wash my hands in innocence,
    and go about thy altar, O Lord,
singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
    and telling all thy wondrous deeds.

O Lord, I love the habitation of thy house,
    and the place where thy glory dwells.
Sweep me not away with sinners,
    nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
men in whose hands are evil devices,
    and whose right hands are full of bribes.

But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
    redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
    in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.
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.

Isaiah 49.13-23

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
    break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
    and will have compassion on his afflicted.

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
    my Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a woman forget her sucking child,
    that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
    yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are continually before me.
Your builders outstrip your destroyers,
    and those who laid you waste go forth from you.
Lift up your eyes round about and see;
    they all gather, they come to you.
As I live, says the Lord,
    you shall put them all on as an ornament,
    you shall bind them on as a bride does.

“Surely your waste and your desolate places
    and your devastated land—
surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants,
    and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
The children born in the time of your bereavement
    will yet say in your ears:
‘The place is too narrow for me;
    make room for me to dwell in.’
Then you will say in your heart:
    ‘Who has borne me these?
I was bereaved and barren,
    exiled and put away,
    but who has brought up these?
Behold, I was left alone;
    whence then have these come?’”

Thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
    and raise my signal to the peoples;
and they shall bring your sons in their bosom,
    and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
Kings shall be your foster fathers,
    and their queens your nursing mothers.
With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you,
    and lick the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
    those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”

St. Matthew 18.1-14

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the man by whom the temptation comes!And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hellof fire.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

The Holy Innocents

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 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.

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