Morning Prayer 21st March 2017

Thomas Cranmer, Bishop, 1556

THE PREPARATION

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

Christ, though tempted like us, was without sin.
O come, let us worship.

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 WORD OF GOD

Psalm 78.1-39

  1. Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
  2. I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,
  3. things that we have heard and known,
    that our ancestors have told us.
  4. We will not hide them from their children;
    we will tell to the coming generation
    the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.
  5. He established a decree in Jacob,
    and appointed a law in Israel,
    which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach to their children;
  6. that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
    and rise up and tell them to their children,
  7. so that they should set their hope in God,
    and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;
  8. and that they should not be like their ancestors,
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
    a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
    whose spirit was not faithful to God.
  9. The Ephraimites, armed with the bow,
    turned back on the day of battle.
  10. They did not keep God’s covenant,
    but refused to walk according to his law.
  11. They forgot what he had done,
    and the miracles that he had shown them.
  12. In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels
    in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
  13. He divided the sea and let them pass through it,
    and made the waters stand like a heap.
  14. In the daytime he led them with a cloud,
    and all night long with a fiery light.
  15. He split rocks open in the wilderness,
    and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
  16. He made streams come out of the rock,
    and caused waters to flow down like rivers.
  17. Yet they sinned still more against him,
    rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
  18. They tested God in their heart
    by demanding the food they craved.
  19. They spoke against God, saying,
    ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
  20. Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out
    and torrents overflowed,
    can he also give bread,
    or provide meat for his people?’
  21. Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of rage;
    a fire was kindled against Jacob,
    his anger mounted against Israel,
  22. because they had no faith in God,
    and did not trust his saving power.
  23. Yet he commanded the skies above,
    and opened the doors of heaven;
  24. he rained down on them manna to eat,
    and gave them the grain of heaven.
  25. Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
    he sent them food in abundance.
  26. He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
    and by his power he led out the south wind;
  27. he rained flesh upon them like dust,
    winged birds like the sand of the seas;
  28. he let them fall within their camp,
    all around their dwellings.
  29. And they ate and were well filled,
    for he gave them what they craved.
  30. But before they had satisfied their craving,
    while the food was still in their mouths,
  31. the anger of God rose against them
    and he killed the strongest of them,
    and laid low the flower of Israel.
  32. In spite of all this they still sinned;
    they did not believe in his wonders.
  33. So he made their days vanish like a breath,
    and their years in terror.
  34. When he killed them, they sought for him;
    they repented and sought God earnestly.
  35. They remembered that God was their rock,
    the Most High God their redeemer.
  36. But they flattered him with their mouths;
    they lied to him with their tongues.
  37. Their heart was not steadfast towards him;
    they were not true to his covenant.
  38. Yet he, being compassionate,
    forgave their iniquity,
    and did not destroy them;
    often he restrained his anger,
    and did not stir up all his wrath.
  39. He remembered that they were but flesh,
    a wind that passes and does not come again.

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.

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Add your burnt-offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. For on the day that I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt-offerings and sacrifices. But this command I gave them, ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backwards rather than forwards. From the day that your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did.

So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.
Cut off your hair and throw it away;
raise a lamentation on the bare heights,
for the Lord has rejected and forsaken
the generation that provoked his wrath.

For the people of Judah have done evil in my sight, says the Lord; they have set their abominations in the house that is called by my name, defiling it. And they go on building the high place of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire—which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter: for they will bury in Topheth until there is no more room. The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the animals of the earth; and no one will frighten them away. And I will bring to an end the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bride and bridegroom in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for the land shall become a waste. (Jeremiah 7.21-34)

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification. (Romans 4.13-25)

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

THE GOSPEL CANTICLE: BENEDICTUS – THE SONG OF ZECHARIAH

Blessèd are those who hunger and thirst
for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

  1. Blessèd be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them.
  2. He has raised up a mighty saviour for us
    in the house of his servant David,
  3. as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
  4. that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
  5. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
    and has remembered his holy covenant,
  6. the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
    to grant us
  7. that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
    might serve him without fear,
  8. in holiness and righteousness
    before him all our days.
  9. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
  10. to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    by the forgiveness of their sins.
  11. By the tender mercy of our God,
    the dawn from on high will break upon us,
  12. to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.’ (St Luke 1.68-79)

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.

Blessèd are those who hunger and thirst
for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

THE PRAYERS

THE KYRIES

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Trusting in the compassion of God,
as our Saviour taught us, so we pray
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 COLLECT

Father of all mercies,
who through the work of your servant Thomas Cranmer
renewed the worship of your Church
and through his death
revealed your strength in human weakness:
by your grace strengthen us to worship you in spirit and in truth
and so to come to the joys of your everlasting kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Mediator and Advocate,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

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