• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Evening Prayer for December 22, 2021

Fourth Wednesday of Advent

Evening Prayer

December 22, 2021


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Evening Prayer

Enriching Our Worship 1 and Book of Common Prayer



In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

[Isaiah 40:3; BCP, p. 75]



Confession & Absolution

[EOW1, pp. 19-20]


Let us confess our sins to God.


Silence may be kept.


God of all mercy,

we confess that we have sinned against you,

opposing your will in our lives.

We have denied your goodness in each other,

in ourselves, and in the world you have created.

We repent of the evil that enslaves us,

the evil we have done,

and the evil done on our behalf.

Forgive, restore, and strengthen us

through our Savior Jesus Christ,

that we may abide in your love

and serve only your will. Amen.


A Bishop or Priest says:

Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.


[Or, a Deacon or Lay Person says:]

[Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.]



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 111

[BCP, p. 754]


1 Hallelujah! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, *

in the assembly of the upright, in the congregation.

2 Great are the deeds of the LORD! *

they are studied by all who delight in them.

3 His work is full of majesty and splendor, *

and his righteousness endures for ever.

4 He makes his marvelous works to be remembered; *

the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.

5 He gives food to those who fear him; *

he is ever mindful of his covenant.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works *

in giving them the lands of the nations.

7 The works of his hands are faithfulness and justice; *

all his commandments are sure.

8 They stand fast for ever and ever, *

because they are done in truth and equity.

9 He sent redemption to his people; he commanded his covenant for ever; *

holy and awesome is his Name.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; *

those who act accordingly have a good understanding; his praise endures for ever.


Psalm 113

[BCP, p. 756]


1 Hallelujah! Give praise, you servants of the LORD; *

praise the Name of the LORD.

2 Let the Name of the LORD be blessed, *

from this time forth for evermore.

3 From the rising of the sun to its going down *

let the Name of the LORD be praised.

4 The LORD is high above all nations, *

and his glory above the heavens.

5 Who is like the LORD our God, who sits enthroned on high, *

but stoops to behold the heavens and the earth?

6 He takes up the weak out of the dust *

and lifts up the poor from the ashes.

7 He sets them with the princes, *

with the princes of his people.

8 He makes the woman of a childless house *

to be a joyful mother of children.


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 Luke (1:39-56)


In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord." And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.


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

Thanks be to God.



Canticle C: The Song of Hannah

[EOW1, p. 31; 1 Samuel 2:1-8]


My heart exults in you, O God; *

my triumph song is lifted in you.

My mouth derides my enemies, *

for I rejoice in your salvation.

There is none holy like you, *

nor any rock to be compared to you, our God.

Do not heap up prideful words or speak in arrogance; *

Only God is knowing and weighs all actions.

The bows of the mighty are broken, *

but the weak are clothed in strength.

Those once full now labor for bread, *

those who hungered now are well fed.

The childless woman has borne sevenfold, *

while the mother of many is forlorn.

God destroys and brings to life, casts down and raises up; *

gives wealth or takes it away, humbles and dignifies.

God raises the poor from the dust; *

and lifts the needy from the ash heap

To make them sit with the rulers *

and inherit a place of honor.

For the pillars of the earth are God’s *

on which the whole earth is founded.


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 20: Katarina von Bora, Church Reformer, d. 1552 [p. 555]


Katharina von Bora was born in 1499, the daughter of impoverished German nobles, and was educated at the Benedictine convent in Brehna. Instinctively devout, she initially felt deeply drawn to the monastic life, and as a teenager took vows at a Cistercian convent in Nimbschen.


As a young woman, however, Katharina became increasingly critical of many of the abuses that she perceived in the church, and became keenly interested in the movements of ecclesiastical reform. In 1523, she and 11 others sisters secretly contacted Martin Luther and asked for his help in escaping from the convent. Smuggled out in a fish wagon, they soon found that they had nowhere to go, because their families refused to take them back. Several of the Protestant reformers sheltered the women, and Katharina found a temporary home with the family of the famous painter Lucas Cranach.


Eventually all of the women found husbands within the new community of church reformers, but for Katharina no match was found. Most of her potential suitors found her intellect intimidating and her assertiveness off-putting. Eventually, she expressed a desire to wed Martin Luther himself, and rather to the surprise of most of his friends, he agreed.


Many within the early Lutheran community were opposed to Luther’s marriage, fearing that it would open him to criticism that he had only left the monastic life because he did not want to fulfill his vow of celibacy, rather than because he was genuinely concerned about abuses within the church. But Luther came to believe that married life was itself a vocation from God, and also that clerical marriage gave women the opportunity to assist in the work of the Reformation as coworkers and colleagues.


Katharina therefore became an early model for the vocation of a pastor’s spouse, assisting Martin in his ministry and providing hospitality to many, as well as raising six children and opening their home to a number of orphans. The family regularly hosted dozens of people at dinner, which would involve heated theological debates. Katharina was an active participant in these, knowing both the scriptures and Latin as well as many of the men, and Martin encouraged her contributions. He gave her a degree of authority that was unprecedented in that time, including allowing her to handle the publication of his works, and naming her as his sole heir upon his death. She died on December 20th, 1552.



Canticle L: A Song of Christ's Humility

[EOW1, p. 36; Philippians 2:6-11]


Though in the form of God, *

Christ Jesus did not cling to equality with God,

But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, *

and was born in human likeness.

Being found in human form, he humbled himself *

and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.

Therefore, God has highly exalted him *

and given him the name above every name,

That at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, *

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, *

to the glory of God the Father.


Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God:

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



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 B

[BCP, p. 122]


That this evening may be holy, good, and peaceful, We entreat you, O Lord.


That your holy angels may lead us in paths of peace and goodwill, We entreat you, O Lord.


That we may be pardoned and forgiven for our sins and offenses, We entreat you, O Lord.


That there may be peace to your Church and to the whole world, We entreat you, O Lord.


That we may depart this life in your faith and fear, and not be condemned before the great judgment seat of Christ, We entreat you, O Lord.


That we may be bound together by your Holy Spirit in the communion of [________ and] all your saints, entrusting one another and all our life to Christ, We entreat you, O Lord.



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.



Collect of the Day: Katarina von Bora, Church Reformer, d. 1552

[Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, p. 556]


Almighty God, who called servant Katharina von Bora from a cloister to work for the reform of your church: Grant that, for the sake of your glory and the welfare of your church, we may go wherever you should call, and serve however you should will; through Jesus Christ, our only mediator and advocate. Amen.



A Collect for Protection

[BCP, p. 124]


O God, the life of all who live, the light of the faithful, the strength of those who labor, and the repose of the dead: We thank you for the blessings of the day that is past, and humbly ask for your protection through the coming night. Bring us in safety to the morning hours; through him who died and rose again for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.



Prayer for Mission

[BCP, p. 124]


Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. 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.


May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. [Romans 15:13]



Credits: 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.

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