at the Close of Day
These devotions follow the basic structure of the Daily Office of the Church and are particularly appropriate for families with young children.
The Reading and the Collect may be read by one person, and the other parts said in unison, or in some other convenient manner.
I will lay me down in peace, and take my rest; for you, LORD, only, make me dwell in safety.
Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.
1 Behold now, praise the Lord,*
all you servants of the Lord,
2 You that stand by night in the house of the Lord,*
even in the courts of the house of our God.
3 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary*
and sing praises unto the Lord.
4 The Lord who made heaven and earth*
give you blessing out of Zion.
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.
A READING FROM HOLY SCRIPTURE
1 THESSALONIANS 5:23
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
20 One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up 2 and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” 3 He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, 4 was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” 5 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
The Parable of the Wicked Tenants
9 And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. 10 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” 17 But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
Paying Taxes to Caesar
19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar's.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.
A hymn or canticle may be used.
Prayers may be offered for ourselves and others. It is appropriate that prayers of thanksgiving for the blessings of the day, and penitence for our sins, be included.
The Lord's Prayer
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 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,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessing be upon us always; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thomas the Apostle
Everliving God, you strengthened your apostle Thomas with firm and certain faith in your Son’s resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in your sight; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
A Collect for Aid Against Peril
Lighten our darkness, we beseech you, O Lord; and by your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Song of Simeon
Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,*
according to your word.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,*
which you have prepared before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,*
and to be the glory of your people Israel.
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.
The almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us, this night and evermore.
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