• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Evening Prayer for December 21, 2021

The Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle

Evening Prayer

December 21, 2021


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Evening Prayer

Enriching Our Worship 1 and Book of Common Prayer



You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

[Ephesians 2:19; BCP, p. 78]



The Invitatory and Psalter

[EOW1, p. 20]


V: O God, be not far from us. R: Come quickly to help us, O God.


Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God:

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Alleluia!



O Gracious Light (Phos hilaron)

[BCP, p. 118]


O gracious light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven, O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun, and our eyes behold the vesper light, we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Son of God, O Giver of life, and to be glorified through all the worlds.



The Psalm or Psalms Appointed


Psalm 27

[BCP, p. 617]


1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? *

the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh, *

it was they, my foes and my adversaries, who stumbled and fell.

3 Though an army should encamp against me, *

yet my heart shall not be afraid;

4 And though war should rise up against me, *

yet will I put my trust in him.

5 One thing have I asked of the LORD; one thing I seek; *

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life;

6 To behold the fair beauty of the LORD *

and to seek him in his temple.

7 For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; *

he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling and set me high upon a rock.

8 Even now he lifts up my head *

above my enemies round about me.

9 Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation with sounds of great gladness; *

I will sing and make music to the LORD.

10 Hearken to my voice, O LORD, when I call; *

have mercy on me and answer me.

11 You speak in my heart and say, "Seek my face." *

Your face, LORD, will I seek.

12 Hide not your face from me, *

nor turn away your servant in displeasure.

13 You have been my helper; cast me not away; *

do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.

14 Though my father and my mother forsake me, *

the LORD will sustain me.

15 Show me your way, O LORD; *

lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.

16 Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries, *

for false witnesses have risen up against me, and also those who speak malice.

17 What if I had not believed that I should see the goodness of the LORD *

in the land of the living!

18 O tarry and await the LORD'S pleasure; be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; *

wait patiently for the LORD.


Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, One God: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.



The Lessons



A Reading from Isaiah (43:8-13)


Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears! Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble. Who among them declared this, and foretold to us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, "It is true." You are my witnesses, says the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses, says the LORD. I am God, and also henceforth I am He; there is no one who can deliver from my hand; I work and who can hinder it?


Hear what the Spirit is saying to God's people.

Thanks be to God.



Canticle 15 EOW: The Song of Mary

[EOW1, p. 27; Luke 1:46-55]


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in you, O God my Savior, *

for you have looked with favor on your lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed: *

you, the Almighty, have done great things for me,

and holy is your name.

You have mercy on those who fear you *

from generation to generation.

You have shown strength with your arm *

and scattered the proud in their conceit,

Casting down the mighty from their thrones *

and lifting up the lowly.

You have filled the hungry with good things *

and sent the rich away empty.

You have come to the help of your servant Israel, *

for you have remembered your promise of mercy,

The promise made to our forebears, *

to Abraham and his children for ever.


Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God:

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.



A Reading from John (14:1-7)


"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."


Hear what the Spirit is saying to God's people.

Thanks be to God.


Canticle O: A Song of the Heavenly City

[EOW1, p. 38; Revelation 21:22-22:4]


I saw no temple in the city, *

for its temple is the God of surpassing strength and the Lamb.

And the city has no need of sun or moon to light it, *

for the glory of God shines on it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

By its light the nations shall walk, *

and the rulers of the world lay their honor and glory there.

Its gates shall never be shut by day, nor shall there be any night; *

into it they will bring the honor and glory of nations.

I saw the clean river of the water of life, bright as crystal, *

flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

The tree of life spanned the river, giving fruit every month, *

and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations.

All curses cease where the throne of God and the Lamb stands,

and all servants give worship there; *

there they will see God’s face, whose Name shall be on their foreheads.


Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God:

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.



A Reading from Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018

December 21: St. Thomas, Apostle, d. 1st Century [p. 557]


The Gospel according to John records several incidents in which Thomas appears, and from them we are able to gain some impression of the sort of man he was. When Jesus insisted on going to Judea, to visit his friends at Bethany, Thomas boldly declared, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16). At the Last Supper, he interrupted our Lord’s discourse with the question, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). And after Christ’s resurrection, Thomas would not accept the account of the women and the other apostles, until Jesus himself appeared before him, showing him his wounds. This drew from him the first explicit acknowledgment of Christ’s divinity, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).


Thomas appears to have been a thoughtful if perhaps literal-minded man, inclined to skepticism; but he was a staunch friend when his loyalty was once given. The expression “Doubting Thomas,” which has become established in English usage, is not entirely fair to Thomas. He did not refuse belief: he wanted to believe, but did not dare, without further evidence. Because of his goodwill, Jesus gave him a sign, although Jesus had refused a sign to the Pharisees. His Lord’s rebuke was well deserved: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29). The sign did not create faith; it merely released the faith that was in Thomas already.


According to an early tradition mentioned by Eusebius and others, Thomas evangelized the Persians. Syrian Christians of India cherish a tradition that after his mission to Persia, he continued East and brought the Gospel to India. The site of his burial, in present day Chennai, has been a shrine and place of Christian pilgrimage since antiquity.


Thomas’ honest questioning and doubt, and Jesus’ assuring response to him, have given many modern Christians courage to persist in faith, even when they are still doubting and questioning.



The Apostles' Creed

[EOW1, p. 41]


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.


I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

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,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and 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.



The Prayers

[EOW1, p. 42; BCP, p. 121]


V: God be with you. R: And also with you. Let us pray.


Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your Name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and for ever. Amen.



Suffrages A

[BCP, p. 121]


Show us your mercy, O Lord;

And grant us your salvation.


Clothe your ministers with righteousness;

Let your people sing with joy.


Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;

For only in you can we live in safety.


Lord, keep this nation under your care;

And guide us in the way of justice and truth.


Let your way be known upon earth;

Your saving health among all nations.


Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;

Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.


Create in us clean hearts, O God;

And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.



Collect of the Day: St. Thomas, Apostle, d. 1st Century

[BCP, p. 237]


Everliving God, who 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.



Collect of the Day: Fourth Sunday of Advent

[BCP, 212]


Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



A Collect for Aid against Perils

[BCP, p. 123]


Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in 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.



Prayer for Mission

[BCP, p. 124]


O God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Offer your own intercessions and thanksgivings.



One or both of the following prayers may be used:


The General Thanksgiving

[BCP, p. 125]


Almighty God, Father of all mercies,

we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks

for all your goodness and loving-kindness

to us and to all whom you have made.

We bless you for our creation, preservation,

and all the blessings of this life;

but above all for your immeasurable love

in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;

for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.

And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,

that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,

not only with our lips, but in our lives,

by giving up our selves to your service,

and by walking before you

in holiness and righteousness all our days;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,

be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.


AND/OR


A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

[BCP, p. 126]


Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.



The Dismissal

[BCP, p. 126]


Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.


Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to God from generation to generation int he Church, and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen. [Ephesians 3:20-21]



Psalm 926 This service is drawn from The Book of Common Prayer (1979), Enriching Our Worship 1 (1997), and other liturgical resources of The Episcopal Church and the scriptures are reprinted from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.2

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