• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Home Worship for Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday

Morning Prayer, The Great Litany, & The Proper Liturgy for Holy Saturday

April 11, 2020


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Want to pray on your own? Visit prayer.forwardmovement.org for many varieties of Daily Prayer in the Episcopal tradition.


Note: We are praying using Rite I (traditional, Elizabethan, "Ye Olde English") language during the season of Lent. This change is to help us slow down and pay attention to the words we are praying and also to experience different forms of the Confession of Sin.

This service is drawn from The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and the scriptures are reprinted from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.



Morning Prayer (BCP, p. 41)



"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me. (Lamentations 1:12; BCP, p. 39)


Confession of Sin


Dearly beloved, we have come together in the presence of Almighty God our heavenly Father, to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his holy Word, and to ask, for ourselves and on behalf of others, those things that are necessary for our life and our salvation. And so that we may prepare ourselves in heart and mind to worship him, let us kneel in silence, and with penitent and obedient hearts confess our sins, that we may obtain forgiveness by his infinite goodness and mercy.


Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, we have offended against thy holy laws, we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, spare thou those who confess their faults, restore thou those who are penitent, according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord; and grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.


The Almighty and merciful Lord grant us absolution and remission of all our sins, true repentance, amendment of life, and the grace and consolation of his Holy Spirit. Amen.


The Invitatory and Psalter


V: O Lord, open thou our lips. R: And our mouth shall show forthy thy praise.


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.


Psalm 95: Traditional (BCP, p. 146)


V. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy:

R. O come, let us adore him.


O come, let us sing unto the Lord; *     let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, *     and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.

For the Lord is a great God, *     and a great King above all gods. In his hand are all the corners of the earth, *     and the strength of the hills are his also. The sea is his and he made it, *     and his hands prepared the dry land.

O come, let us worship and fall down *     and kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is the Lord our God, *     and we are the people of his pasture     and the sheep of his hand.

Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts *     as in the provocation,     and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness; When your fathers tempted me, *     proved me, and saw my works.

Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, *     It is a people that do err in their hearts,     for they have not known my ways. Unto whom I sware in my wrath, *     that they should not enter into my rest.


V. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy:

R. O come, let us adore him.


The Psalm or Psalms Appointed


Psalm 88

  O LORD, my God, my Savior, *

by day and night I cry to you.

  Let my prayer enter into your presence; *

incline your ear to my lamentation.

  For I am full of trouble; *

my life is at the brink of the grave.

  I am counted among those who go down to the Pit; *

I have become like one who has no strength;

  Lost among the dead, *

like the slain who lie in the grave,

  Whom you remember no more, *

for they are cut off from your hand.

  You have laid me in the depths of the Pit, *

in dark places, and in the abyss.

  Your anger weighs upon me heavily, *

and all your great waves overwhelm me.

  You have put my friends far from me; you have made me to be abhorred by them; *

I am in prison and cannot get free.

10   My sight has failed me because of trouble; *

LORD, I have called upon you daily; I have stretched out my hands to you.

11   Do you work wonders for the dead? *

will those who have died stand up and give you thanks?

12   Will your loving-kindness be declared in the grave? *

your faithfulness in the land of destruction?

13   Will your wonders be known in the dark? *

or your righteousness in the country where all is forgotten?

14   But as for me, O LORD, I cry to you for help; *

in the morning my prayer comes before you.

15   LORD, why have you rejected me? *

why have you hidden your face from me?

16   Ever since my youth, I have been wretched and at the point of death; *

I have borne your terrors with a troubled mind.

17   Your blazing anger has swept over me; *

your terrors have destroyed me;

18   They surround me all day long like a flood; *

they encompass me on every side.

19   My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me, *

and darkness is my only companion.


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 Lessons


A reading from Lamentations (3:37-58)


Who can command and have it done, if the Lord has not ordained it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should any who draw breath complain about the punishment of their sins? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD. Let us lift up our hearts as well as our hands to God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled, and you have not forgiven. You have wrapped yourself with anger and pursued us, killing without pity; you have wrapped yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through. You have made us filth and rubbish among the peoples. All our enemies have opened their mouths against us; panic and pitfall have come upon us, devastation and destruction. My eyes flow with rivers of tears because of the destruction of my people. My eyes will flow without ceasing, without respite, until the LORD from heaven looks down and sees. My eyes cause me grief at the fate of all the young women in my city. Those who were my enemies without cause have hunted me like a bird; they flung me alive into a pit and hurled stones on me; water closed over my head; I said, "I am lost." I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit; you heard my plea, "Do not close your ear to my cry for help, but give me relief!" You came near when I called on you; you said, "Do not fear!" You have taken up my cause, O Lord, you have redeemed my life.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


Canticle 14: A Song of Penitence

Prayer of Manasseh 1-2, 4, 6-7, 11-15


O Lord and Ruler of the hosts of heaven,*      God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,      and of all their righteous offspring:  You made the heavens and the earth,*      with all their vast array.

All things quake with fear at your presence;*      they tremble because of your power.  But your merciful promise is beyond all measure;*      it surpasses all that our minds can fathom.  O Lord, you are full of compassion,*      long-suffering, and abounding in mercy.  You hold back your hand;*      you do not punish as we deserve.  In your great goodness, Lord,  you have promised forgiveness to sinners,*      that they may repent of their sin and be saved. 

And now, O Lord, I bend the knee of my heart,*      and make my appeal, sure of your gracious goodness.  I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned,*      and I know my wickedness only too well.  Therefore I make this prayer to you:*      Forgive me, Lord, forgive me.  Do not let me perish in my sin,*      nor condemn me to the depths of the earth.  For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent,*     and in me you will show forth your goodness.  Unworthy as I am, you will save me,  in accordance with your great mercy,*      and I will praise you without ceasing all the days of my life.  For all the powers of heaven sing your praises,*      and yours is the glory to ages of ages. Amen.

A Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews (4:1-16)


Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "As in my anger I swore, 'They shall not enter my rest,'" though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works." And again in this place it says, "They shall not enter my rest." Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day-- "today"-- saying through David much later, in the words already quoted, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God's rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs. Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


Canticle 4: The Song of Zechariah

Luke 1:68-79


Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, *

    for he hath visited and redeemed his people;

And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us *

    in the house of his servant David,

As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, *

    which have been since the world began:

That we should be saved from our enemies, *     and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our forefathers, *     and to remember his holy covenant; To perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham, *     that he would give us, That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies *     might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, *     all the days of our life.

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest, *     for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people *     for the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, *     whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us; To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, *     and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

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


I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.


The Prayers


V: The Lord be with you. R: And with thy spirit. Let us pray.

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.


Suffrages A


V. O Lord, show thy mercy upon us;

R. And grant us thy salvation.

V. Endue thy ministers with righteousness;

R. And make thy chosen people joyful.

V. Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;

R. For only in thee can we live in safety.

V. Lord, keep this nation under thy care;

R. And guide us in the way of justice and truth.

V. Let thy way be known upon earth;

R. Thy saving health among all nations.

V. Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;

R. Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

V. Create in us clean hearts, O God;

R. And sustain us with thy Holy Spirit.


Collect of the Day: Holy Saturday


O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of thy dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


A Collect for Fridays


O Lord Jesus Christ, who by thy death didst take away the sting of death: Grant unto us thy servants so to follow in faith where thou hast led the way, that we may at length fall asleep peacefully in thee, and awake up after thy likeness; for thy tender mercies' sake. Amen.


A Collect for Saturdays


Almighty God, who after the creation of the world didst rest from all thy works and sanctify a day of rest for all thy creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of thy sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to thy people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



The Great Litany (BCP, pp. 148)


O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, Have mercy upon us.  O God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy upon us.  O God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of the faithful, Have mercy upon us.  O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God, Have mercy upon us.


Remember not, Lord Christ, our offenses, nor the offenses of our forefathers; neither reward us according to our sins. Spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood, and by thy mercy preserve us, for ever. Spare us, good Lord.


From all evil and wickedness; from sin; from the crafts and assaults of the devil; and from everlasting damnation, Good Lord, deliver us.


From all blindness of heart; from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all want of charity, Good Lord, deliver us.


From all inordinate and sinful affections; and from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil, Good Lord, deliver us.


From all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word and commandment, Good Lord, deliver us.


From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine, Good Lord, deliver us.


From all oppression, conspiracy, and rebellion; from violence, battle, and murder; and from dying suddenly and unprepared, Good Lord, deliver us.


By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; by thy holy Nativity and submission to the Law; by thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation, Good Lord, deliver us.


By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; by thy Cross and Passion; by thy precious Death and Burial; by thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension; and by the Coming of the Holy Ghost, Good Lord, deliver us.


In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment, Good Lord, deliver us.


We sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God; and that it may please thee to rule and govern thy holy Church Universal in the right way, We beesech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to illumine all bishops, priests, and deacons, with true knowledge and understanding of thy Word; and that both by their preaching and living, they may set it forth, and show it accordingly, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to bless and keep all thy people, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to send forth laborers into thy harvest, and to draw all mankind into thy kingdom, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to give to all people increase of grace to hear and receive thy Word, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to bring into the way of truth all such as have erred, and are deceived, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to give us a heart to love and fear thee, and diligently to live after thy commandments, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee so to rule the hearts of thy servants, the President of the United States, and all others in authority, that they may do justice, and love mercy, and walk in the ways of truth, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world; to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord; and to bestow freedom upon all peoples,  We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to show thy pity upon all prisoners and captives, the homeless and the hungry, and all who are desolate and oppressed, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the bountiful fruits of the earth, so that in due time all may enjoy them, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to inspire us, in our several callings, to do the work which thou givest us to do with singleness of heart as thy servants, and for the common good, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to preserve all who are in danger by reason of their labor or their travel, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to preserve, and provide for, all women in childbirth, young children and orphans, the widowed, and all whose homes are broken or torn by strife, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to visit the lonely; to strengthen all who suffer in mind, body, and spirit; and to comfort with thy presence those who are failing and infirm, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to support, help, and comfort all who are in danger, necessity, and tribulation, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to have mercy upon all mankind, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to give us true repentance; to forgive us all our sins, negligences, and ignorances; and to endue us with the grace of thy Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to thy holy Word, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to strengthen such as do stand; to comfort and help the weak-hearted; to raise up those who fall; and finally to beat down Satan under our feet, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to grant to all the faithful departed eternal life and peace, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


That it may please thee to grant that, in the fellowship of all the saints, we may attain to thy heavenly kingdom, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.


Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us. Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.


O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, Grant us thy peace.


O Christ, hear us. O Christ, hear us.


Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us.



The Proper Liturgy for Holy Saturday (BCP, p. 283)



The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray.

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


A Reading from the Book of Job (14:1-14)

Job said, "A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble, comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last. Do you fix your eyes on such a one? Do you bring me into judgment with you? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one can. Since their days are determined, and the number of their months is known to you, and you have appointed the bounds that they cannot pass, look away from them, and desist, that they may enjoy, like laborers, their days. "For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.

Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant. But mortals die, and are laid low; humans expire, and where are they? As waters fail from a lake, and a river wastes away and dries up, so mortals lie down and do not rise again; until the heavens are no more, they will not awake or be roused out of their sleep. Oh, that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If mortals die, will they live again? All the days of my service I would wait until my release should come."

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16

Read responsively by half-verse.

1 In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; * deliver me in your righteousness.

2 Incline your ear to me; * make haste to deliver me.

3 Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; * for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.

4 Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, * for you are my tower of strength.

15 My times are in your hand; * rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.

16 Make your face to shine upon your servant, * and in your loving-kindness save me."

A Reading from the First Letter of St. Peter (4:1-8)

Since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does. The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Matthew (27:57-66)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, `After three days I will rise again.' Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, `He has been raised from the dead,' and the last deception would be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can." So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Burial Anthem (BCP, p. 492)

In the midst of life we are in death;

from whom can we seek help?

From you alone, O Lord,

who by our sins are justly angered.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,

Holy and merciful Savior,

deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

Lord, you know the secrets of our hearts;

shut not your ears to our prayers,

but spare us, O Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,

Holy and merciful Savior,

deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

O worthy and eternal Judge,

do not let the pains of death

turn us away from you at our last hour.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,

Holy and merciful Savior,

deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.


The Lord’s Prayer

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

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.

The Grace

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all evermore. Amen.



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