|The Necessity for Watchfulness - Mark 13:32-37|
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
~ Psalm 19:14
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me. Amen.
Confession and Forgiveness
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
The First Reading is taken from 1 Kings 1:38-2:4
So the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, went down and had Solomon ride on King David's mule, and led him to Gihon. There the priest Zadok took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, "Long live King Solomon!" And all the people went up following him, playing on pipes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth quaked at their noise. Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished feasting. When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, "Why is the city in an uproar?" While he was still speaking, Jonathan son of the priest Abiathar arrived. Adonijah said, "Come in, for you are a worthy man and surely you bring good news." Jonathan answered Adonijah, "No, for our lord King David has made Solomon king; the king has sent with him the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and they had him ride on the king's mule; the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you heard. Solomon now sits on the royal throne. Moreover the king's servants came to congratulate our lord King David, saying, 'May God make the name of Solomon more famous than yours, and make his throne greater than your throne.' The king bowed in worship on the bed and went on to pray thus, 'Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who today has granted one of my offspring to sit on my throne and permitted me to witness it.'" Then all the guests of Adonijah got up trembling and went their own ways. Adonijah, fearing Solomon, got up and went to grasp the horns of the altar. Solomon was informed, "Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; see, he has laid hold of the horns of the altar, saying, 'Let King Solomon swear to me first that he will not kill his servant with the sword.'" So Solomon responded, "If he proves to be a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die." Then King Solomon sent to have him brought down from the altar. He came to do obeisance to King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, "Go home."
[David’s Instruction to Solomon] When David's time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying: "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. Then the LORD will establish his word that he spoke concerning me: 'If your heirs take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.'
The Second Reading is taken from Acts 26:24-27:8
[Paul Appeals to Agrippa to Believe] While he was making this defense, Festus exclaimed, "You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!" But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth. Indeed the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am certain that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe." Agrippa said to Paul, "Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?" Paul replied, "Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am-- except for these chains." Then the king got up, and with him the governor and Bernice and those who had been seated with them; and as they were leaving, they said to one another, "This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment." Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to the emperor."
[Paul Sails for Rome] When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius. Embarking on a ship of Adramyttium that was about to set sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul kindly, and allowed him to go to his friends to be cared for. Putting out to sea from there, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. After we had sailed across the sea that is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy and put us on board. We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind was against us, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. Sailing past it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.
The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 13:28-37
[The Lesson of the Fig Tree] "From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
[The Necessity for Watchfulness] "But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake-- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake."
Psalm 5 Verba mea auribus
1 Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my meditation.
2 Hearken to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I make my prayer to you.
3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; early in the morning I make my appeal and watch for you.
4 For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, and evil cannot dwell with you.
5 Braggarts cannot stand in your sight; you hate all those who work wickedness.
6 You destroy those who speak lies; the bloodthirsty and deceitful, O LORD, you abhor.
7 But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy I will go into your house; I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness, because of those who lie in wait for me; make your way straight before me.
9 For there is no truth in their mouth; there is destruction in their heart;
10 Their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.
11 Declare them guilty, O God; let them fall, because of their schemes.
12 Because of their many transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.
13 But all who take refuge in you will be glad; they will sing out their joy for ever.
14 You will shelter them, so that those who love your Name may exult in you.
15 For you, O LORD, will bless the righteous; you will defend them with your favor as with a shield.
Psalm 6 Domine, ne in furore
1 LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger; do not punish me in your wrath.
2 Have pity on me, LORD, for I am weak; heal me, LORD, for my bones are racked.
3 My spirit shakes with terror; how long, O LORD, how long?
4 Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me for your mercy's sake.
5 For in death no one remembers you; and who will give you thanks in the grave?
6 I grow weary because of my groaning; every night I drench my bed and flood my couch with tears.
7 My eyes are wasted with grief and worn away because of all my enemies.
8 Depart from me, all evildoers, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be confounded and quake with fear; they shall turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
Psalm 10 Ut quid, Domine?
1 Why do you stand so far off, O LORD, and hide yourself in time of trouble?
2 The wicked arrogantly persecute the poor, but they are trapped in the schemes they have devised.
3 The wicked boast of their heart's desire; the covetous curse and revile the LORD.
4 The wicked are so proud that they care not for God; their only thought is, "God does not matter."
5 Their ways are devious at all times; your judgments are far above out of their sight; they defy all their enemies.
6 They say in their heart, "I shall not be shaken; no harm shall happen to me ever."
7 Their mouth is full of cursing, deceit, and oppression; under their tongue are mischief and wrong.
8 They lurk in ambush in public squares and in secret places they murder the innocent; they spy out the helpless.
9 They lie in wait, like a lion in a covert; they lie in wait to seize upon the lowly; they seize the lowly and drag them away in their net.
10 The innocent are broken and humbled before them; the helpless fall before their power.
11 They say in their heart, "God has forgotten; he hides his face; he will never notice."
12 Rise up, O LORD; lift up your hand, O God; do not forget the afflicted.
13 Why should the wicked revile God? why should they say in their heart, "You do not care"?
14 Surely, you behold trouble and misery; you see it and take it into your own hand.
15 The helpless commit themselves to you, for you are the helper of orphans.
16 Break the power of the wicked and evil; search out their wickedness until you find none.
17 The LORD is King for ever and ever; the ungodly shall perish from his land.
18 The LORD will hear the desire of the humble; you will strengthen their heart and your ears shall hear;
19 To give justice to the orphan and oppressed, so that mere mortals may strike terror no more.
Psalm 11 In Domino confido
1 In the LORD have I taken refuge; how then can you say to me, "Fly away like a bird to the hilltop;
2 For see how the wicked bend the bow and fit their arrows to the string, to shoot from ambush at the true of heart.
3 When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
4 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD'S throne is in heaven.
5 His eyes behold the inhabited world; his piercing eye weighs our worth.
6 The LORD weighs the righteous as well as the wicked, but those who delight in violence he abhors.
7 Upon the wicked he shall rain coals of fire and burning sulphur; a scorching wind shall be their lot.
8 For the LORD is righteous; he delights in righteous deeds; and the just shall see his face.
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Prayer of the Day
Oh Lord and Master of my life, take away from me the spirit of laziness, cowardliness, lust for power, and malicious and idle speech. But rather give me, throughout the day to come, an ample spirit of vitality and force in your service, to the benefit of your glory and the good of my fellow man. Let me act in humility, patience, and decency at all times, seeing my own error and overlooking the faults of others; and let me always know the presence of your Holy Spirit, to remind me of what I have asked, in the name of my savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
For Strength and Peace
O Thou who art my quietness, my deep repose, My rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill, Fair is Thy pavilion, where I hold me still.
Back let them fall from me, my clamorous foes, Confusions multiplied; From crowding things of sense I flee, in Thee I hide. Until this tyranny be overpast, Thy hand will hold me fast;
What though the tumult of the storm increase, Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord, and bless with peace. Amen.
~ based on Toward Jerusalem by Amy Carmichael
A Prayer for Mission
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
One of the world's great gospel choirs
singing a (mostly) English hymn.
singing a (mostly) English hymn.
Soweto Gospel Choir
Soweto Gospel Choir
Alleluia! Christ has risen.
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in His sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.