Morning Prayer
Advent
Thursday, 7 December 2017
Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher of the Faith, 397
[Lesser Festival]

Preparation

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

Reveal among us the light of your presence
Allthat we may behold your power and glory.

One or more of the following is said or sung:

this or another prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
AllBlessed be God for ever.

a suitable hymn, or A Song of the King’s Glory

1The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it,
the compass of the world and all who dwell therein.

2For he has founded it upon the seas
and set it firm upon the rivers of the deep.

3‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord,
or who can rise up in his holy place?’

4‘Those who have clean hands and a pure heart,
who have not lifted up their soul to an idol,
nor sworn an oath to a lie;

5‘They shall receive a blessing from the Lord,
a just reward from the God of their salvation.’

6Such is the company of those who seek him,
of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

7Lift up your heads, O gates;
be lifted up, you everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.

8‘Who is the King of glory?’
‘The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord who is mighty in battle.’

9Lift up your heads, O gates;
be lifted up, you everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.

10‘Who is this King of glory?’
‘The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory.’

Psalm 24

AllGlory 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.

This opening prayer may be said

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.
AllAmen.

The Word of God

Psalmody

The appointed psalmody is said.

Psalm 42

1 As the deer longs for the water brooks, 
so longs my soul for you, O God.

2 My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God; 
when shall I come before the presence of God?

3 My tears have been my bread day and night, 
while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’

4 Now when I think on these things, I pour out my soul: 
how I went with the multitude
and led the procession to the house of God,

5 With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, 
among those who kept holy day.

6 Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, 
and why are you so disquieted within me?

7 O put your trust in God; 
for I will yet give him thanks,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

8 My soul is heavy within me; 
therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan,
and from Hermon and the hill of Mizar.

9 Deep calls to deep in the thunder of your waterfalls; 
all your breakers and waves have gone over me.

10 The Lord will grant his loving-kindness in the daytime; 
through the night his song will be with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.

11 I say to God my rock,
‘Why have you forgotten me, 
and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?’

12 As they crush my bones, my enemies mock me; 
while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’

13 Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? 
and why are you so disquieted within me?

14 O put your trust in God; 
for I will yet give him thanks,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Come, creator Spirit, source of life;
sustain us when our hearts are heavy
and our wells have run dry,
for you are the Father’s gift,
with him who is our living water,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 43

1 Give judgement for me, O God,
and defend my cause against an ungodly people; 
deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked.

2 For you are the God of my refuge;
why have you cast me from you, 
and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?

3 O send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, 
and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling,

4 That I may go to the altar of God,
to the God of my joy and gladness; 
and on the lyre I will give thanks to you, O God my God.

5 Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, 
and why are you so disquieted within me?

6 O put your trust in God; 
for I will yet give him thanks,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Come, creator Spirit, light and truth;
bring us to the altar of life
and renew our joy and gladness
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Each psalm or group of psalms may end with

AllGlory 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.

If there are two Scripture readings, the first may be read here, or both may be read after the canticle.

Isaiah 28.14-end


Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers
   who rule this people in Jerusalem.
Because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death,
   and with Sheol we have an agreement;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through
   it will not come to us;
for we have made lies our refuge,
   and in falsehood we have taken shelter’;
therefore thus says the Lord God,
See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone,
   a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation:
   ‘One who trusts will not panic.’
And I will make justice the line,
   and righteousness the plummet;
hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
   and waters will overwhelm the shelter.
Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
   and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through
   you will be beaten down by it.
As often as it passes through, it will take you;
   for morning by morning it will pass through,
   by day and by night;
and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.
For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it,
   and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it.
For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim,
   he will rage as in the valley of Gibeon
to do his deed—strange is his deed!—
   and to work his work—alien is his work!
Now therefore do not scoff,
   or your bonds will be made stronger;
for I have heard a decree of destruction
   from the Lord God of hosts upon the whole land.


Listen, and hear my voice;
   Pay attention, and hear my speech.
Do those who plough for sowing plough continually?
   Do they continually open and harrow their ground?
When they have levelled its surface,
   do they not scatter dill, sow cummin,
and plant wheat in rows
   and barley in its proper place,
   and spelt as the border?
For they are well instructed;
   their God teaches them.


Dill is not threshed with a threshing-sledge,
   nor is a cartwheel rolled over cummin;
but dill is beaten out with a stick,
   and cummin with a rod.
Grain is crushed for bread,
   but one does not thresh it for ever;
one drives the cartwheel and horses over it,
   but does not pulverize it.
This also comes from the Lord of hosts;
   he is wonderful in counsel,
   and excellent in wisdom.

Canticle

A Song of the Wilderness, or another suitable canticle, for example, number 30 (page 581) or number 49 (page 601), may be said

Refrain:

AllLift up your voice with strength,
O herald of good tidings. Alleluia.

1The wilderness and the dry land shall rejoice,
the desert shall blossom and burst into song.

2They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

3Strengthen the weary hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.

4Say to the anxious, ‘Be strong, fear not,
your God is coming with judgement,
coming with judgement to save you.’

5Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

6Then shall the lame leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.

7For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;

8The ransomed of the Lord shall return with singing,
with everlasting joy upon their heads.

9Joy and gladness shall be theirs,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35.1, 2b-4a, 4c-6, 10

AllGlory 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.

AllLift up your voice with strength,
O herald of good tidings. Alleluia.

Scripture Reading

One or more readings appointed for the day are read.

The reading(s) may be followed by a time of silence.

Matthew 13.1-23

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!’

Then the disciples came and asked him, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ He answered, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to them in parables is that “seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.” With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
“You will indeed listen, but never understand,
   and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
   and their ears are hard of hearing,
     and they have shut their eyes;
     so that they might not look with their eyes,
   and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
   and I would heal them.”
But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.

‘Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’

A suitable song or chant, or a responsory in this or another form, may follow

Now it is time to awake out of sleep,
Allfor the night is far spent and the day is at hand.
Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed,
Allfor the night is far spent.
Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness
and put on the armour of light,
Allfor the day is at hand.
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ
and make no provision for the flesh,
Allfor the night is far spent and the day is at hand.

from Romans 13

Gospel Canticle

The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah) is normally said, or A Song of Redemption (page 620) may be said

Refrain:

All Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the heavens,
and those who have instructed many in virtue will shine like stars
for all eternity. Alleluia.

1Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel,
who has come to his people and set them free.

2He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
born of the house of his servant David.

3Through his holy prophets God promised of old
to save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all that hate us,

4To show mercy to our ancestors,
and to remember his holy covenant.

5This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,

6Free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.

7And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

8To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of all their sins.

9In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

10To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke 1.68-79

AllGlory 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.

Refrain:

All Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the heavens,
and those who have instructed many in virtue will shine like stars
for all eternity. Alleluia.

Prayers

Intercessions are offered
for the day and its tasks
for the world and its needs
for the Church and her life

Prayers may include the following concerns from the cycle on pages 364–365

The Church, that she may be ready for the coming of Christ
The leaders of the Church
The nations, that they may be subject to the rule of God
Those who are working for justice in the world
The broken, that they may find God’s healing

A form of prayer found on page 377 may be used.

These responses may be used

Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer

(or)

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Silence may be kept.

The Collect of the day is said

God of hosts,
who called Ambrose from the governor's throne
to be a bishop in your Church
and an intrepid champion of your faithful people:
mercifully grant that, as he did not fear to rebuke rulers,
so we, with like courage,
      may contend for the faith we have received;
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.
AllAmen.

The Lord’s Prayer is said

Awaiting his coming in glory,
as our Saviour taught us, so we pray

AllOur 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.

(or)

Awaiting his coming in glory,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

AllOur 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 Conclusion

May the Lord, when he comes,
find us watching and waiting.
AllAmen.

Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
AllThanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.