Year V: 12 Days of Christmas

Saturday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Feast: Holy Innocents: The feast of Holy Innocents dates back to very early on in the story of the church. In it we remember Herod’s execution of all the male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem to avoid losing his throne to the newborn Messiah, Jesus. This was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15

Today is also the Fourth Day of Christmas, the traditional twelve day festival that begins on Christmas Day and runs until January 5th. During this time we concentrate our readings on Jesus’ early life. This leads us to January 6th, which is the Feast of the Epiphany, where we celebrate Christ’s revelation to the world as Messiah, predominantly in the events leading up to and immediately after his baptism.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All:
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:

Psalm 24 (Domini est terra)

All:

The King of Glory and His Kingdom
A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world and all who live upon it.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face. Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

All:
Glory be 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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 104:1-15

Let all that I am praise the Lord.

O Lord my God, how great you are!
    You are robed with honor and majesty.
    You are dressed in a robe of light.
You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;
    you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.
You make the clouds your chariot;
    you ride upon the wings of the wind.
The winds are your messengers;
    flames of fire are your servants.

You placed the world on its foundation
    so it would never be moved.
You clothed the earth with floods of water,
    water that covered even the mountains.
At your command, the water fled;
    at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.
Mountains rose and valleys sank
    to the levels you decreed.
Then you set a firm boundary for the seas,
    so they would never again cover the earth.

You make springs pour water into the ravines,
    so streams gush down from the mountains.
They provide water for all the animals,
    and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
The birds nest beside the streams
    and sing among the branches of the trees.
You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,
    and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
You cause grass to grow for the livestock
    and plants for people to use.
You allow them to produce food from the earth—
    wine to make them glad,
olive oil to soothe their skin,
    and bread to give them strength.
The trees of the Lord are well cared for—
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
There the birds make their nests,
    and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.
High in the mountains live the wild goats,
    and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.

You made the moon to mark the seasons,
    and the sun knows when to set.
You send the darkness, and it becomes night,
    when all the forest animals prowl about.
Then the young lions roar for their prey,
    stalking the food provided by God.
At dawn they slink back
    into their dens to rest.
Then people go off to their work,
    where they labor until evening.

O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
    In wisdom you have made them all.
    The earth is full of your creatures.
Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
    teeming with life of every kind,
    both large and small.
See the ships sailing along,
    and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea.

They all depend on you
    to give them food as they need it.
When you supply it, they gather it.
    You open your hand to feed them,
    and they are richly satisfied.
But if you turn away from them, they panic.
    When you take away their breath,
    they die and turn again to dust.
When you give them your breath, life is created,
    and you renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the Lord continue forever!
    The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!
The earth trembles at his glance;
    the mountains smoke at his touch.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.
    I will praise my God to my last breath!
May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth;
    let the wicked disappear forever.

Let all that I am praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

All:
Glory be 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


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Father of Lights, we thank you for the blessings of the weekend and the promise of this New Year. Give us faith to try the impossible and courage to persevere to the end. Grant us enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference!
             – For yours is the Kingdom…
  • For strength in the fight, determination in trials and victory in temptation…
             – For yours is the Kingdom…
  • For prosperity in our finances, generosity in our sowing, health in our bodies and protection along our path…
             – For yours is the Kingdom…

Family & Friends

  • God of Glory, grant that today our children will go from strength to strength, and that they will be kept from all attacks of the evil one. Supply every need and answer every prayer…
             – For yours is the Kingdom…
  • For those who are far from you, that our witness would be bold and your Word would be effective…
             – For yours is the Kingdom…
  • For mothers and fathers and all elderly relatives and friends. Bring blessing upon their later years and vigour to their bodies…
             – For yours is the Kingdom…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, you came as a child in a manger to save us. May we be as the Wise Men, who sought you out and brought their best gifts to you. May your church rise in adoration and wonder…
             – For yours is the Kingdom…
  • For those raising the next generation. Empower Christian parents to rear their little ones for Christ and for His cause.
             – For yours is the Kingdom…
  • For our young people, that they may be protected in their schooling and bold in their testimony…
             – For yours is the Kingdom…

The World

  • Lord of all, enable your church to bear true witness of your Kingdom until all nations bow to your sovereignty. Show your power O Lord, and break every evil stronghold, snap every demonic chain and bind every wicked influence…
             – For yours is the Kingdom…
  • For wisdom and clear direction for our Government, our Prime Minister David Cameron, his cabinet and all in parliament…
             – For yours is the Kingdom…
  • For our MP, Local Council, support services and public servants. Let your will be done in all places of power…
             – For yours is the Kingdom.


THE LORD’S
PRAYER

Reader:
And so we pray…

All:
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your 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 yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever, Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 2:13-18

Jesus’ Parents Take Him to Egypt

After they left, an angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, because Herod is starting to look for the child so he can kill him. Stay in Egypt until I tell you to return.”

So Joseph got up and left for Egypt during the night with the child and his mother. And Joseph stayed in Egypt until Herod died. This happened to bring about what the Lord had said through the prophet: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Herod Kills the Baby Boys

When Herod saw that the wise men had tricked him, he was furious. So he gave an order to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem and in the surrounding area who were two years old or younger. This was in keeping with the time he learned from the wise men. So what God had said through the prophet Jeremiah came true:

“A voice was heard in Ramah
    of painful crying and deep sadness:
Rachel crying for her children.
    She refused to be comforted,
    because her children are dead.”

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Community: The Principle of Transparency.

Remembering that scripture encourages us to “confess your sins to one another that you might be healed”, I embrace the Principle of Transparency. As a follower of the Way of Community, I will be open with my church community about my personal struggles and failures, avoiding wearing a mask that would make me appear better than I really am.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Transparency.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader:
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting. Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets,
To preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins,
That we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our
Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may God himself, the God of peace, make you perfect and holy,
And keep you safe and blameless in spirit, soul and body,
For the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen


Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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