“The Battle Is Not Ours” – Pursued by Grace Closing Worship Liturgy

I had the privilege of designing worship for the PC(USA)’s 1001 New Worshipping Communities Conference – Pursued by Grace. This is the liturgy I wrote for the closing worship service, themed “The Battle Is Not Ours.” 

Music was selected and led by Aaron Howard of As One Fellowship in Nashville. I’m including the names and original artists of the songs for reference, but can’t include lyrics due to copyright.

Call to Worship

Though we live in the world,
we do not wage war as the world does.
Thanks be to God,
who always leads us as captives
in Christ’s triumphal procession
and uses us everywhere
to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Christ.

The weapons we fight with
are not the weapons of the world.
On the contrary,
they have divine power
to demolish strongholds.
Thanks be to God,
who always leads us as captives
in Christ’s triumphal procession
and uses us everywhere
to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Christ.

Do not be afraid or discouraged
because of this vast army.
For the battle is not yours,
but God’s.
Thanks be to God,
who always leads us as captives
in Christ’s triumphal procession
and uses us everywhere
to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Christ.

You will not have to fight this battle.
Take up your positions;
stand firm
and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.
Thanks be to God,
who always leads us as captives
in Christ’s triumphal procession
and uses us everywhere
to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Christ.

Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged.
Go out to face the world tomorrow,
and the Lord will be with you.
Thanks be to God,
who always leads us as captives
in Christ’s triumphal procession
and uses us everywhere
to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Christ.

 Songs of Praise

  1. We Have Overcome (by Israel Houghton)
  2. Blessed (by Fred Hammond)
  3. Alpha and Omega (by Erasmus Mutanbira)

Confession and Pardon

2 Corinthians 20, Isaiah 54, Psalm 44

If calamity comes upon us,
whether the sword of judgment,
or the plague of famine,
we can stand in God’s presence
in Jesus’ Name,
and will cry out to you in our distress
and you will hear us and save us.
Lord, God of our ancestors,
are you not the God who is in heaven?
You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.
Power and might are in your hand,
and no one can withstand you.
We confess that we too often forget you.
We have been false to your covenant.
Our hearts turn back,
and our feet stray from your path.
We have no power to face the vast army of our own sin.
There’s nothing we can do to save ourselves,
so our eyes look to you.
Rise up and help us, O God;
rescue us because of of your unfailing love for us
in Jesus Christ.

The Lord declares:
“No weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me.”

Friends, believe the good news of the gospel:
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!
In God we make our boast all day long,
and we will praise Your name forever.

Song of Praise

  1. Awesome (by Charles Jenkins)

Passing the Peace

Scripture – 2 Chronicles 20

Sermon 

Invitation to the Table and Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is truly right and our great joy
to give thanks to you, God our faithful shepherd,
for you have pursued us with your grace
and supply our every need.
Whether in green pastures, still waters,
or the valley of the shadow of death,
your grace, goodness, and steadfast love,
pursue us all our days,
and no matter where we are,
we find ourselves in your house.
We thank you that
when, like sheep, we went astray,
each of us turning to our own way,
you, Good Shepherd, sought us out,
through the voice of your prophets,
and the sending of your Son.
We thank you that though we were lost,
we are now found,
though we were dead,
we have been brought to life.
We join the angels,
who rejoice over one sinner who repents,
in praising your name:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of your glory
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the Highest!

Your are holy, Father,
and holy is your Son, Jesus Christ,
who walked among us.
Like the Good Shepherd,
who left the ninety-nine to search for the one lost sheep,
Christ seeks us out,
and leads us in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Like the Good Hostess,
who diligently sought out her lost coin,
and rejoiced with her friends and neighbors when she found it,
Christ sets a table before us,
and our cup overflows.
Like the Father who welcomes his lost son with outstretched arms,
Christ welcomes us
with outstretched arms upon the cross.
Though we were lost,
we have been found.
Though we were dead,
by Christ’s resurrection
we have been brought to life.
Great is the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

Father, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us,
and upon these, your gifts of bread and wine,
that the bread we break,
and the cup we bless,
may be for us the communion of the body and blood of Christ.
As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
make us to be Christ’s body for the world.
Give us wisdom
to lead your people beside still waters,
Give us courage
to lead them through the valley of death’s shadow.
Give us diligence
to seek after the lost.
Give us great joy
over one sinner who repents.
Give us great love
that we might embrace every prodigal child we meet on the road.
Through our voice, our hands, and our feet,
may the whole world be pursued by your grace.
Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ,
we pray as He would have us:

Our Father… 

Words of Institution

Communion by Intinction

Music During Communion: 

  • What a Savior (by Laura Story)
  • Jesus at the Center (by Israel Houghton)

Benediction

Pursued by Grace Opening Worship Liturgy

I’ve had the privilege of designing the evening worship services at “Pursued by Grace,” the annual conference for the PC(USA)’s 1001 New Worshipping Communities movement.

Below is the liturgy I composed for the opening service. I’m including the names and artists for the songs selected and led by our musical worship leader, Aaron Howard of As One Fellowship, but  I can’t include the lyrics due to copyright.

Call to Worship

Adapted from Lamentations 3, Daniel 3, and Habakkuk 3

Leader:
The prophet Jeremiah,
though downcast in spirit,
stood in defiance of his affliction.
With him, we call this to mind
and therefore have hope:

People:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for Him.”

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,
though threatened with death,
stood in defiance of the demand
to bow before the king’s image.
With them, we proclaim:

We do not need to defend ourselves.
The God we serve is able to deliver us,
and He will deliver us.
But even if He does not,
we will not serve or worship the gods of this world.

The prophet Habakkuk,
though surrounded by violence and injustice,
stood in defiance of his circumstances
by praising God.
With him, we declare:

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior. 

Songs of Praise 

1. Blessed Be Your Name (by Matt Redman)
2. One Thing Remains (by Kristian Stanfill)

Confession and Pardon

Leader:
The Lord probes our hearts.
The Lord examines us and tests us.
The Lord confronts us in our sin and brokenness,
and saves us and rescues us.
Trust in the Lord at all times, O people of God;
pour out your hearts before him;
for God is a refuge for us.

People:
Hear us, O Lord,
and listen to our cries for mercy,
for we are a people of unclean lips,
and we live among a people of unclean lips.
Evil is in our heart.
Our feet have stumbled
and wandered from Your right paths.
We call on you, our God,
for you will answer us;
turn your ear to us and hear our prayer.
Show us the wonders of your great love,
save us by the pierced hands of Christ your Son,
for we take our refuge in Him,
and pray to you in His name.
Amen.

Leader:
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Through Christ,
God drew us from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set our feet upon a rock,
making our steps secure.
Friends, believe the gospel:
in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven! 

Song of Praise

Made Me Glad (Hillsong)

Scripture and Sermon

Invitation to the Table and Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is truly right and our great joy
to give thanks to you, God our faithful shepherd,
for you have pursued us with your grace
and supply our every need.
Whether in green pastures, still waters,
or the valley of the shadow of death,
your grace, goodness, and steadfast love,
pursue us all our days,
and no matter where we are,
we find ourselves in your house.
We thank you that
when, like sheep, we went astray,
each of us turning to our own way,
you, Good Shepherd, sought us out,
through the voice of your prophets,
and the sending of your Son.
We thank you that though we were lost,
we are now found,
though we were dead,
we have been brought to life.
We join the angels,
who rejoice over one sinner who repents,
in praising your name:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of your glory
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the Highest!

Your are holy, Father,
and holy is your Son, Jesus Christ,
who walked among us.
Like the Good Shepherd,
who left the ninety-nine to search for the one lost sheep,
Christ seeks us out,
and leads us in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Like the Good Hostess,
who diligently sought out her lost coin,
and rejoiced with her friends and neighbors when she found it,
Christ sets a table before us,
and our cup overflows.
Like the Father who welcomes his lost son with outstretched arms,
Christ welcomes us
with outstretched arms upon the cross.
Though we were lost,
we have been found.
Though we were dead,
by Christ’s resurrection
we have been brought to life.
Great is the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

Father, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us,
and upon these, your gifts of bread and wine,
that the bread we break,
and the cup we bless,
may be for us the communion of the body and blood of Christ.
As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
make us to be Christ’s body for the world.
Give us wisdom
to lead your people beside still waters,
Give us courage
to lead them through the valley of death’s shadow.
Give us diligence
to seek after the lost.
Give us great joy
over one sinner who repents.
Give us great love
that we might embrace every prodigal child we meet on the road.
Through our voice, our hands, and our feet,
may the whole world be pursued by your grace.
Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ,
we pray as He would have us:

Our Father… 

Words of Institution 

Communion by Intinction

Music During Communion:

I Need You Now (Matt Redman)
10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman)

Benediction 

Closing Song

Hallelujah, You’re Worthy to Be Praised (Judith McCalister)

A Liturgy for Lighting Advent Candles

Using the words of Archangel Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1, and the the lyrics to Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus:

Leader:“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”
People, singing: Come Thou long-expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee. 

Week 2, we continue, lighting the second candle.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the saints Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Week 3, we continue, lighting the third candle:
And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring. 

Week 4, we continue, lighting the fourth candle:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”
(sung) By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Liturgy based on Acts 2-4

I’ve decided to start posting liturgical elements that I write for The Upper Room, or elsewhere. This Sunday, Upper Room begins a new series in the book of Acts. We’ll be spending the first six weeks in Acts 2:42-4:37. Below is the Call to Worship, Prayer of Confession, Assurance of Pardon, and Prayer for Illumination that we’ll be praying for the next 6 weeks.

Call to Worship

In the name of Jesus,
let us devote ourselves
to the apostle’s teaching and fellowship
to the breaking of bread
and to the prayers.
In the name of Jesus,
we ask for awe to come upon every soul,
and for signs and wonders to be done in our midst.
In the name of Jesus,
we ask for our bodies to be healed.
In the name of Jesus,
we ask for the people to be filled
with wonder and amazement
at what happens here.
In the name of Jesus,
we ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit and power.
In the name of Jesus,
we ask for boldness to speak His Word.
In the name of Jesus,
we ask for our prayers to shake this place.
When we leave this place, 
may the world see that we have been with Jesus.

Call to Confession

And now, brothers and sisters,
I know that you acted in ignorance,
as did also your leaders.
But what God foretold
by the mouth of all the prophets,
that His Christ would suffer,
He thus fulfilled.
Repent therefore, and turn back,
that your sins may be blotted out,
that times of refreshing may come
from the presence of the Lord,
and that He may send the Christ
appointed for you, Jesus,
whom heaven must receive
until the time for restoring all the things
about which God spoke
by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

Prayer of Confession

God of Abraham, God of Isaac,
and God of Jacob,
we confess that
we have trusted in our own power and piety.
We confess
that we have denied Your servant Jesus
by our actions and failure to act,
by our words and our silence. 
God, we repent and turn to You.
By faith in the name of Jesus,
make us strong.
Blot out our sins.
Refresh us. Restore us.
Bless us by turning us from our wickedness.
Fulfill Your promise to our father, Abraham:
in his offspring,
may all the families of the earth be blessed.

(sung) Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Have mercy on us. 

Assurance of Pardon

Jesus’ name – by faith in His name –
has made you strong,
and the faith that is through Jesus
gives perfect health in the presence of all.
There is salvation in no one else, 
for there is no other name under heaven given among humankind 
by which we must be saved.

Prayer for Illumination

Father, you were pleased
to fill the apostles with Your Holy Spirit
to speak you word with power.
In the name of Jesus,
you worked signs and wonders through them. 
We devote ourselves 
to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship. 
Fix our eyes upon them, 
that we might receive 
the proclamation of Jesus.

“On Earth, Peace” – a Homily for Christmas Eve

Preached at the Upper Room on Christmas Eve, 2013.

Glory to God in the highest.
And on earth peace among those on whom his favor rests. 

We likely are well familiar with these words the angels speak to the Shepherds. When we read them, we may associate them with the voice of a pastor reading them in a church we attended, or with a choir singing them in a performance of Handel’s Messiah, or with the voice of Linus reciting them in the Peanuts Christmas special. 

They sound like words of worship – “Glory to God in the highest.”

And they sound like a nice greeting for angels to give to shepherds – “On earth, peace among those on whom his favor rests.” Peace (Shalom in Hebrew) was a common greeting in Israel. It still is. And so these words the angels speak sound typical. Like words of a nice greeting or well wishes. Not much different from saying “good morning” or “have a nice day” to a friend.

On earth, peace among those on whom his favor rests.

However, even this early in Luke’s story of Jesus (we’re only in chapter 2), we’ve learned that words spoken by angels have an uncanny propensity for becoming completely true.

Already an angel has promised Zechariah that he and his wife Elizabeth would give birth to John the Baptist. The angel Gabriel told Mary that she would give birth to Jesus. And now an angel has told shepherds that the Christ is born – news confirmed to be true by the time we finished reading our Scripture passage tonight. 

If angels say that there is peace on earth among those favored by God, we should probably expect it to be completely true. Not just a nice wish. Not just figuratively true. Not just ‘inner peace.’ But complete, 100% real peace on earth.

And that peace lives and abides among the favored people of God.

This afternoon, as I was finishing work on this sermon, I was sitting in the 61B cafe, where Chris works. Chris had actually just left and a new barista started her shift. Chris had been playing WYEP (91.3) on the radio, and the new barista turned it off. (I was disappointed because the DJ had just said they were going to play the Chipmunks Christmas song.) But then I was delighted by what I heard. Words and melody that were very familiar to me – the sound of a child singing, Once in Royal David’s city stood a lowly cattle shed…” 

I immediately knew that the barista was playing a recording of the annual Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings college.

I love that every year Kings College begins their Nine Lessons and Carols with a child singing Once in Royal David’s City. It bears witness to the fact that the coming of the Son of God, and the coming of peace on earth starts small. And it was striking that in a relatively busy cafe, where a number of people were sitting at tables doing their work, and others were ordering coffee, the message of good news of great joy once heralded by angels was piercing through the air.

I began to think to myself, “How many times is it possible for a hymn of praise to be played in a public, “secular” coffee shop?” The reality is Christmas is one of the few times it’s possible.

I then began to think about all that the Jesus’ birth makes possible.

The story of Jesus’s birth shows us that seeing angels, and experiencing the glory of the Lord shining around you, is just as likely to happen at your job (even a menial job that most people don’t want, like shepherding) as it is to happen in a church.

The story of Jesus’ birth shows us that the work of angels is also our work. Just as the angels proclaimed good news of great joy to the shepherds and then praised God saying “glory to God.” So too the shepherds made known the saying that had been told them, and returned to their homes glorifying and praising God.

The story of Jesus’ birth shows us that the savior of the world is approachable, relatable, and for us. The sign that the angels give to the shepherds, that they will find the baby Jesus “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” is considerably unremarkable. Wrapping a baby in swaddling clothes was the common practice in rural villages. And despite how out of the ordinary it sounds to us, in ancient Israel mangers were kept in the family room of a home, and always doubled as cribs. The point is this: The shepherds are told that the savior of the world is born, and will be found in a context that for them was entirely familiar and approachable. Imagine how difficult or intimidating it would be for the shepherds to visit Jesus if he were born in some exceptional way. If Jesus were born in a royal palace, he would have been inaccessible to shepherds and others on the lower rungs of society. But being wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger means that Jesus is accessible to all.

The story of Jesus’ birth tells us that peace on earth is possible and begins with the favored people of God; with us. We live in a world that is longing for peace. And a life of genuinely following Jesus, begets peace, and that is good news of great joy.

This year, on Facebook, the number one most posted-about topic around the world was Pope Francis. People found joy in the fact that the Pope was leading the church’s leadership to greater simplicity. People found joy when he invited a boy with down syndrom to ride with him in the Pope mobile. People found joy when he embraced and kissed a man with a genetic disorder. People found joy when he had a Maundy Thursday footwashing service in a youth prison where he washed the feet of teenage prisoners. People found joy when he invited homeless men to join his birthday dinner celebration. And recently the media discovered evidence that Pope Francis might be sneaking out of the Vatican at night and personally giving money to the homeless and poor.

All that Pope Francis is doing are the things any follower of Jesus is supposed to do. And the world is receiving it as good news. That’s not to say that if and when we follow Jesus, we’ll make the news or be a buzz topic on social media. We’re not high-profile, public figures whom the world is watching. But it does show that any who do see us following Jesus will be seeing good news of great joy when we live a life of following Jesus. The coming of Jesus really is good news of great joy for all the people. And good news of great joy begets peace.

Friends, Christ is born this day. Let us join the angels and shepherds in glorying and praising God. And let us with the shepherds and the whole Church, tell and do all that we have seen and heard of our savior. For peace on earth has come. And it abides in us , for we are the favored people of God. 

Glory to God in the highest.
And on earth peace among those with whom he is well pleased.
Amen.

 

Hospitality and Holy Kisses

On any visit to a different country, your first impressions usually have to do with cultural differences.

Last month, I traveled to Spain. One of the first differences between American life and Spanish life that I experienced was how people greet one another and say goodbye. In Spain, it’s almost always with a kiss on each cheek. And always with everyone in the group.

I got to meet many relatives in Spain for the first time, and each time I saw them, and each time we said goodbye, it was always with a kiss on each cheek. (Though the men usually didn’t do this with me. I assume because of sensitivity to it being something I wasn’t accustomed to. But they did do it with one another.) It didn’t matter how many were there. You took time to greet and kiss each person.

And this custom wasn’t just with family. Anytime my family introduced me to anybody else, the greeting was the same. “Mike, this is our neighbor who lives across the street.” Kiss kiss. “These are our former neighbors and good friends.” Kiss kiss. “Oh! I know that person! We went to elementary school together.” Kiss kiss. On one occasion, we were in a bank and one of the tellers left. I watched as he gave goodbye kisses to his two fellow tellers and the cleaning woman.

This way of greeting one another made me feel instantly connected and welcomed with these new family and friends. Despite being in a new place, and meeting people for the first time, and hardly able to speak any Spanish, I felt connected and welcomed.

Experiencing this for two weeks gave me newfound appreciation for the command given in the New Testament to “greet one another with a holy kiss.” Paul gives this instruction in some form or other four times – Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26. A similar phrase is also in 1 Peter 5:14.

In the past, when I read any of these verses, I saw the command as bound up in ancient middle eastern culture. In our contemporary American context, we don’t just kiss anybody. I understood these verses to mean that we should greet one another in church in whatever expression seemed appropriate.

I still think about these verses as culturally bound, but I now realize that we can’t substitute a “holy kiss” with just any other form of greeting. Simply waving and saying “hello” won’t do. Kisses connect two people in a way that is physical and affectionate. Greeting in this way also takes time and demands honoring each person’s presence. You can’t kiss a group all at once. You have to give attention and time to each person you see.

What would happen in our churches and in our homes if we showed this level of hospitality? I’m not suggesting we all start kissing every person we see; there’s still a need to recognize cultural differences. But what if we sought to ensure that every guest in our church or in our home receives a welcome that connects them with every individual in a way that is physical, and affectionate, and that is honoring each individual’s presence?

Is such hospitality possible in our American culture? What would it look like?

Morning Prayer for Good Friday

First, a Few Notes

**For some thoughts on how to use this liturgy well, go here. 

♰ indicates an invitation to make the sign of the cross

✙ indicates an invitation to make the sign of the cross, followed by bow

☦ indicates an invitation to make the sign of the cross, followed by a prostration

Words that are in italic font are addressed to saints and others who Scripture tells us are in the heavenly throne room with the Triune God, most often Mary (the Theotokos). Our communion with them is real, and addressing them is no worse than pausing one’s prayer to talk to another person. If anything, it’s better. Nevertheless, I know some still have scruples concerning this practice, and so the use of italic font makes passing over these prayers easier for those wanting to do so.

Let Us Pray

Remembrance of Baptism

♰ In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to You, our God. Glory to You.

We Call Upon Our Lord 

Lord,
send down your abundant blessing
upon your people who have devoutly recalled the death of your son
in the sure hope of the resurrection.
Grant them pardon, bring them comfort.
May their faith grow stronger
and their eternal salvation be assured

Trisagion Prayers

✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.
✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.
✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us!
O Lord, cleanse us from our sins!
O Master, pardon our transgressions
O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Your Name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

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 sins, as we forgive those who sin against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory,
of the ♰ Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

We are Called to Prayer

Behold the cross,
on which hung the salvation of the whole world.
Come. Let us worship.

Hymn – 

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
’Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life’s oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Trisagion Prayers

✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.
✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.
✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us!
O Lord, cleanse us from our sins!
O Master, pardon our transgressions
O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Your Name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

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 sins, as we forgive those who sin against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory,
of the ♰ Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Remembrance of the Holy and Life-giving Cross

O Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance.
Grant victory unto faithful Christians over their enemies,
and by the power of Your Cross preserve Your commonwealth.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

O You Who was lifted up willingly upon the Cross,
bestow Your mercies upon the new community named after You, O Christ God;
gladden with Your power all faithful Christians,
granting them victory over enemies;
may they have as Your help the weapon of peace, the invincible trophy.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Awesome intercession that cannot be put to shame,
O good one,
disdain not our prayer;
O all-hymned Theotokos,
establish the commonwealth of the Church,
save the faithful Christians,
and grant unto them victory from heaven,
for you did bring forth God, O only blessed one.

Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Father,
I put my life in your hands.
In you, O Lord, I take refuge.
Let me never be put to shame.
In your justice, set me free.
Into your hands I commend my spirit.
It is you who will redeem me, Lord.

Morning Psalm – Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.

Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.

But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.

From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.

All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

♰ Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Encountering the Risen Christ

God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His steadfast love endures forever.
God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

All nations surrounded me; in the Name of the Lord, I withstood them.
God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

I shall not die, but live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.
God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing and is marvelous in marvelous in our eyes.
God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

Remembrance for Friday – The Holy and Life-giving Cross

O Lord, save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance
Grant victories to all Christians
Over their adversaries.
And by virtue of Your Cross,
Preserve Your habitation.

Having thy protection, O immaculate one, and being delivered from afflictions by thy prayers, we who are in every way guarded by the Cross of thy Son do all magnify thee reverently as is due.

(Additional Psalms May be Read Here)

Short Verse – Tuesday (From Psalm 99)

Extol the Lord our God; worship at His footstool, for it is holy!
The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!

Preparing to Read the Scriptures

Lord our God,
holy is your name!
Incline our hearts to your commandments,
and give us the wisdom of the cross,
so that, freed from sin,
which imprisons us in our own self-centeredness,
we may be open to the gift of your Spirit,
and so become living temples of your love.

Old Testament Reading

Genesis 22:1-14

Epistle Reading

1 Peter 1:10-20

Gospel Reading

John 13:36-38; 19:38-42

Prayer of Penitence: Psalm 51

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which You have broken may rejoice.

Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous Spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.

Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart –– these, O God, You will not despise,

Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem.

Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and

whole burnt offering; then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

(At this point, time may be taken to remember saints of the Church or to read other devotional material.)

Honoring her with hymns, Let us magnify the Theotokos, the Mother of Light:
More honorable than the cherubim
And more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim!
Without corruption you gave birth to God the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify you!

We Sing with Mary

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with His arm;
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.

He has helped His servant Israel,
in remembrance of His mercy,
as He spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his seed forever.

Psalm of Praise: Psalm 148

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever—
he issued a decree that will never pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
And he has raised up for his people a horn,
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Praise the Lord.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Canticle: Third Song of Isaiah

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

No longer will violence be heard in your land,
nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
and your gates Praise.
The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.

I will give thanks to You every day and praise Your Name forever and ever.
Lord, You have been our refuge from generation to generation!
I said, “Lord, have mercy on me. Heal my Soul, for I have sinned against You!”
Lord, I flee to You. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. For with You is the fountain of Life, and In Your light shall we see light. Continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and praised and glorified is Your Name for ever. Amen.

Let Your mercy be upon us, O Lord, even as we have set our hope on You.
Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.
Blessed are You, O Master; make me to understand Your commandments.
Blessed are You, O Holy One; enlighten me with Your precepts.
Your mercy endures for ever, O Lord! Do not despise the works of Your hands!
To You belongs worship, to You belongs praise, to You belongs glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life,
Keep from me the spirit if indifference
And discouragement,
Lust of power, and idle chatter.

Instead, grant to me, Your servant,
The spirit of wholeness of being,
Humble-mindedness, patience, and love.

O Lord and King,
Grant me the grace to be aware of my sins
And not to judge my brother and sister,
For You are blessed,
Now and ever and forever. Amen.

Dismissal

Confirm, O God, the holy Christian Faith unto ages of ages! Amen.
Glory to You, O Christ, our God and our hope, glory to You!

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Let your face shine on your servant.
Save me in your love.
Be strong, let your heart take courage,
all who hope in the Lord.