In the Morning
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.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth your praise.
The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
Miserere mei, Deus
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,*
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,*
and take not your holy Spirit from me.
12 O give me the comfort of your help again,*
and sustain me with your willing Spirit.
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
Give thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Character of Judith
8 At that time Judith heard about these things: she was the daughter of Merar′i the son of Ox, son of Joseph, son of O′ziel, son of Elki′ah, son of Anani′as, son of Gid′eon, son of Raph′a-im, son of Ahi′tub, son of Eli′jah, son of Hilki′ah, son of El′iab, son of Nathan′ael, son of Salam′iel, son of Sarasad′ai, son of Israel. 2 Her husband Manas′seh, who belonged to her tribe and family, had died during the barley harvest. 3 For as he stood overseeing the men who were binding sheaves in the field, he was overcome by the burning heat, and took to his bed and died in Bethu′lia his city. So they buried him with his fathers in the field between Dothan and Bala′mon. 4 Judith had lived at home as a widow for three years and four months. 5 She set up a tent for herself on the roof of her house, and girded sackcloth about her loins and wore the garments of her widowhood. 6 She fasted all the days of her widowhood, except the day before the sabbath and the sabbath itself, the day before the new moon and the day of the new moon, and the feasts and days of rejoicing of the house of Israel. 7 She was beautiful in appearance, and had a very lovely face; and her husband Manas′seh had left her gold and silver, and men and women slaves, and cattle, and fields; and she maintained this estate. 8 No one spoke ill of her, for she feared God with great devotion.
Judith and the Elders
9 When Judith heard the wicked words spoken by the people against the ruler, because they were faint for lack of water, and when she heard all that Uzzi′ah said to them, and how he promised them under oath to surrender the city to the Assyrians after five days, 10 she sent her maid, who was in charge of all she possessed, to summon Chabris and Charmis, the elders of her city. 11 They came to her, and she said to them,
“Listen to me, rulers of the people of Bethu′lia! What you have said to the people today is not right; you have even sworn and pronounced this oath between God and you, promising to surrender the city to our enemies unless the Lord turns and helps us within so many days. 12 Who are you, that have put God to the test this day, and are setting yourselves up in the place of God among the sons of men? 13 You are putting the Lord Almighty to the test—but you will never know anything! 14 You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart, nor find out what a man is thinking; how do you expect to search out God, who made all these things, and find out his mind or comprehend his thought? No, my brethren, do not provoke the Lord our God to anger. 15 For if he does not choose to help us within these five days, he has power to protect us within any time he pleases, or even to destroy us in the presence of our enemies. 16 Do not try to bind the purposes of the Lord our God; for God is not like man, to be threatened, nor like a human being, to be won over by pleading. 17 Therefore, while we wait for his deliverance, let us call upon him to help us, and he will hear our voice, if it pleases him.
18 “For never in our generation, nor in these present days, has there been any tribe or family or people or city of ours which worshiped gods made with hands, as was done in days gone by— 19 and that was why our fathers were handed over to the sword, and to be plundered, and so they suffered a great catastrophe before our enemies. 20 But we know no other god but him, and therefore we hope that he will not disdain us or any of our nation. 21 For if we are captured all Judea will be captured and our sanctuary will be plundered; and he will exact of us the penalty for its desecration. 22 And the slaughter of our brethren and the captivity of the land and the desolation of our inheritance—all this he will bring upon our heads among the Gentiles, wherever we serve as slaves; and we shall be an offense and a reproach in the eyes of those who acquire us. 23 For our slavery will not bring us into favor, but the Lord our God will turn it to dishonor.
24 “Now therefore, brethren, let us set an example to our brethren, for their lives depend upon us, and the sanctuary and the temple and the altar rest upon us. 25 In spite of everything let us give thanks to the Lord our God, who is putting us to the test as he did our forefathers. 26 Remember what he did with Abraham, and how he tested Isaac, and what happened to Jacob in Mesopota′mia in Syria, while he was keeping the sheep of Laban, his mother’s brother. 27 For he has not tried us with fire, as he did them, to search their hearts, nor has he taken revenge upon us; but the Lord scourges those who draw near to him, in order to admonish them.”
28 Then Uzzi′ah said to her, “All that you have said has been spoken out of a true heart, and there is no one who can deny your words. 29 Today is not the first time your wisdom has been shown, but from the beginning of your life all the people have recognized your understanding, for your heart’s disposition is right. 30 But the people were very thirsty, and they compelled us to do for them what we have promised, and made us take an oath which we cannot break. 31 So pray for us, since you are a devout woman, and the Lord will send us rain to fill our cisterns and we will no longer be faint.”
32 Judith said to them, “Listen to me. I am about to do a thing which will go down through all generations of our descendants. 33 Stand at the city gate tonight, and I will go out with my maid; and within the days after which you have promised to surrender the city to our enemies, the Lord will deliver Israel by my hand. 34 Only, do not try to find out what I plan; for I will not tell you until I have finished what I am about to do.”
35 Uzzi′ah and the rulers said to her, “Go in peace, and may the Lord God go before you, to take revenge upon our enemies.” 36 So they returned from the tent and went to their posts.
The Apostles' Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
A hymn or canticle may be used.
Prayers may be offered for ourselves and others.
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.
O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day: Defend us by your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin nor run into any danger; and that, guided by your Spirit, we may do what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saturday after the Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, or the Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity (Proper 27)
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A COLLECT FOR SABBATH REST
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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