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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Evening Prayer for July 29, 2020

Wednesday in the Week of Proper 12

Evening Prayer

July 29, 2020

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Note: We are praying using Rite II (contemporary English) language, as is our normal pattern at St. Matthew's. It reminds us that we can speak to God with our ordinary, everyday language. This service is drawn from The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and other liturgical resources of The Episcopal Church and the scriptures are reprinted from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Evening Prayer, Rite II

[BCP, p. 117]

Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

[Psalm 141:2; BCP, p. 115]

Confession of Sin

[BCP, p. 116]

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Most merciful God,

we confess that we have sinned against you

in thought, word, and deed,

by what we have done,

and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart;

we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

have mercy on us and forgive us;

that we may delight in your will,

and walk in your ways,

to the glory of your Name. Amen.

The Officiant says the following (a Priest substitutes "you" for "us")

Almighty God have mercy on [us], forgive [us] all your sins through our Lord 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

[BCP, p. 117]

V: O God, make speed to save us. R: O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Spirit:

as it was in the beginning, is now, * and will be forever. Amen.


O Gracious Light

[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 119: Yodh

[BCP, p. 769]

73   Your hands have made me and fashioned me; * give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments. 74   Those who fear you will be glad when they see me, * because I trust in your word. 75   I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right * and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. 76   Let your loving-kindness be my comfort, * as you have promised to your servant. 77   Let your compassion come to me, that I may live, * for your law is my delight. 78   Let the arrogant be put to shame, for they wrong me with lies; * but I will meditate on your commandments. 79   Let those who fear you turn to me, * and also those who know your decrees. 80   Let my heart be sound in your statutes, * that I may not be put to shame.

Psalm 119: Kaph

81   My soul has longed for your salvation; * I have put my hope in your word. 82   My eyes have failed from watching for your promise, * and I say, "When will you comfort me?" 83   I have become like a leather flask in the smoke, * but I have not forgotten your statutes. 84   How much longer must I wait? * when will you give judgment against those who persecute me? 85   The proud have dug pits for me; * they do not keep your law. 86   All your commandments are true; * help me, for they persecute me with lies. 87   They had almost made an end of me on earth, * but I have not forsaken your commandments. 88   In your loving-kindness, revive me, * that I may keep the decrees of your mouth.

Psalm 119: Lamedh

89   O LORD, your word is everlasting; * it stands firm in the heavens. 90   Your faithfulness remains from one generation to another; * you established the earth, and it abides. 91   By your decree these continue to this day, * for all things are your servants. 92   If my delight had not been in your law, * I should have perished in my affliction. 93   I will never forget your commandments, * because by them you give me life. 94   I am yours; oh, that you would save me! * for I study your commandments. 95   Though the wicked lie in wait for me to destroy me, * I will apply my mind to your decrees. 96   I see that all things come to an end, * but your commandment has no bounds.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Lessons

A reading from Matthew (27:45-54)

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, "This man is calling for Elijah." At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him." Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, "Truly this man was God's Son!"

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Song of Mary

[BCP, p. 119; Luke 1:46-55]

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; * for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: * the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him * in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, * he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, * and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, * and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel, * for he has remembered his promise of mercy, The promise he made to our fathers, * to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

A Reading from "non-biblical Christian literature" [OPTIONAL]

[(BCP, p. 142)]

The Song of Simeon

[BCP, p. 120; Luke 2:29-32]

Lord, you now have set your servant free *

to go in peace as you have promised;

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *

whom you have prepared for all the world to see:

A Light to enlighten the nations, *

and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Spirit:

as it was in the beginning, is now, * and will be forever. Amen.

The Apostles' Creed

[BCP, p. 120]

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 power of 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.

The Prayers

[BCP, p. 121]

V: The Lord 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 Blessed Mary the Bearer of God, Blessed Matthew our patron, Blessed Mary and Blessed Martha of Bethany, and the first women ordained in The Episcopal Church, whom we commemorate today, and all your saints, entrusting one another and all our life to Christ,

We entreat you, O Lord.

Collect of the Day: Proper 12

[BCP, p. 231]

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect of the Day: Mary and Martha of Bethany (1st century AD)

[Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, p. 332 (pre-publication)]

O God, heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ enjoyed rest and refreshment in the home of Mary and Martha of Bethany: Give us the will to love you, open our hearts to hear you, and strengthen our hands to serve you in others for his sake; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Collect of the Day: First Ordination of Women to the Priesthood in The Episcopal Church, a.k.a. "The Philadelphia Eleven" (1974)

[A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2015), p. 358]

O God, you poured your Spirit from on high to bless and summon these women, who heard the strength of your call: Equip, guide, and inspire us with wisdom, boldness, and faith to trust you in all circumstances, hear you preach new life to your Church, and stretch out our hands to serve you, as you created us and redeemed us in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God everlasting. 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.

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.

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]

About Today's Commemoration(s)

July 29: Mary and Martha of Bethany (1st century AD)

[Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, p. 331 (pre-publication)]

Mary and Martha of Bethany are described in the Gospels according to Luke and John as close and well-loved friends of Jesus. Luke records the well-known story of their hospitality, which has made Martha a symbol of the active life and Mary of the contemplative.

John’s Gospel sheds additional light on the characters of Mary and Martha. When their brother Lazarus is dying, Jesus delays his visit to the family and arrives after Lazarus’ death. Martha comes to meet him, still trusting in his power to heal and restore. The exchange between them evokes Martha’s deep faith and acknowledgment of Jesus as the Messiah (John 11:21–27).

John also records the supper at Bethany at which Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with fragrant ointment and wiped them with her hair. This tender gesture of love evoked criticism from the disciples. Jesus interpreted the gift as a preparation for his death and burial.

The devotion and friendship of Mary and Martha have been an example of fidelity and service to the Lord. Their hospitality and kindness, and Jesus’ enjoyment of their company, show us the beauty of human friendship and love at its best.

Many Christian writers have interpreted Martha and Mary as symbolizing the active and contemplative lives. In most cases, however, they stressed that this division of action and contemplation was not a simple dichotomy. Although most ancient and medieval theologians tended to prioritize the contemplative life, all of them stressed the necessity for the different vocations of both sisters in the church.

In his sermon 104, Augustine of Hippo writes that “Martha has to set sail in order that Mary can remain quietly in port.” Although in some ways he thinks that the adoring worship of Christ is indeed superior, it does no good to adore Christ without serving and feeding him as Martha did, and as all Christians can do by serving those in need.

The Cistercian theologian Aelred of Rievaulx wrote that just as Mary and Martha dwelt as sisters within one house, so also the active and contemplative life should ideally dwell within the same soul.

Although most premodern writers did tend view Mary as superior to Martha, the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart argued in his sermon 86 that Martha was the more spiritually advanced of the two sisters, suggesting that she is mature enough that she is no longer enamored by religious feelings and experiences, but able to move on from them to the practical work of service. In this case, Jesus’ words that Mary “has chosen the better part” are meant to reassure Martha that her sister is on the right track, and that when she is ready, she too will eventually move on from only seeking spiritual consolation to serving where she is needed.

July 29: First Ordination of Women to the Priesthood in The Episcopal Church, a.k.a. "The Philadelphia Eleven" (1974)

[A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2015), p. 357-358]

On July 29, 1974, the feast of Martha and Mary of Bethany, eleven women deacons were ordained to the priesthood at the Church of the Advocate, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “We are certain that the Church needs women in priesthood to be true to the gospel understanding of human unity in Christ,” explained the eleven ordinands in a public statement.

One year earlier, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church had defeated a resolution to amend the canons on ordination to state that they “shall be equally applicable to men and women.” A similar resolution in 1970 had also been narrowly defeated. After the 1973 convention, a group began exploring the possibility of ordaining women without General Convention action.

After months of planning, Merrill Bittner, Alla Bozarth-Campbell, Allison Cheek, Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward, Suzanne Hiatt, Marie Moorefield, Jeannette Piccard, Betty Bone Schiess, Katrina Welles Swanson, and Nancy Hatch Wittig were ordained by three retired or resigned bishops—Daniel Corrigan, Robert DeWitt, and Edward Welles—in the presence of one active bishop, Antonio Ramos of Costa Rica, and a congregation of about 2000.

Following the ordination, a special session of the House of Bishops, convened on August 14, 1974, determined that the ordinations were not only canonically irregular but also invalid. At their regularly scheduled meeting in October 1974, the bishops affirmed the principle of ordaining women but condemned the bishops who had acted without the church’s authorization.

A year later, on September 7, 1975, E. Lee McGee, Alison Palmer, Elizabeth Rosenberg, and Diane Tickell were ordained to the priesthood by retired Bishop George Barrett at the Church of St. Stephen and the Incarnation in Washington, DC. Two weeks later, the House of Bishops decried this action as well.

On September 16, 1976, the General Convention voted to amend the canons to stipulate that both women and men are eligible for ordination. The House of Bishops determined that each woman ordained before 1977 could function as a priest after a “completion of the ritual acts” performed in Philadelphia or Washington.

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