Shared Prayers

Advent Vespers - St. Thomas

Saint Thomas the Apostle
21 December 2021
according to the Book of Common Prayer (p. 109)

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The church is dark, or partially so, when the service is to begin.
All stand, and the Officiant greets the people with these words

BCP 109

Officiant:

Light and peace, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

People:
Thanks be to God.

Officiant:

Let us pray.

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The candles at the Altar are now lighted, as are other candles and lamps as may be convenient. During the candle-lighting silence is kept.
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The following hymn is then given voice.

BCP 119

O Gracious LightPhos hilaron

Officiant and People:

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 People are seated.
The Psalms are sung or said in a suitable manner (e.g., responsively by verse, in unison, or read by the lector).

Psalm 126

In convertendo

1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, *
then were we like those who dream.
2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, *
and our tongue with shouts of joy.

3 Then they said among the nations, *
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
4 The LORD has done great things for us, *
and we are glad indeed.

5 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, *
like the watercourses of the Negev.
6 Those who sowed with tears *
will reap with songs of joy.

7 Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, *
will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.

At the end of the Psalms is sung or said

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.

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The Lessons

The First Lesson: Habakkuk 2:1-4

Lector:

A reading from the prophet Habakkuk.

I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.
For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.
Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.

Lector:

The word of the Lord.

People:

Thanks be to God.

Silence may be kept.
The people stand as able.

BCP 119

Canticle 15: The Song of MaryMagnificat (Luke 1:46-55)

All:

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.

The people are seated.

The Second Lesson: Hebrews 10:35-11:1

Lector:

A reading from the book of Hebrews.

Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet

“in a very little while,
the one who is coming will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one will live by faith.
My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.”

But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Lector:

The word of the Lord.

People:

Thanks be to God.

Silence may be kept.
The people stand as able.

BCP 93

Canticle 17: The Song of SimeonNunc Dimittis (Luke 2:29-32)

All:

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 for ever. Amen.

The people are seated.

The Third Lesson: John 20:24-29

Lector:

A reading from John’s Gospel.

Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with the other disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Lector:

The word of the Lord.

People:

Thanks be to God.

Silence may be kept.
A brief homily, spiritual conversation, or moment of silence may be placed here.
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BCP 120

The Apostles’ Creed

Officiant and People together, all standing

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 people stand or kneel
Officiant:

The Lord be with you.

People:

And also with you.

Officiant:

Let us pray.

Officiant and People:

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.

BCP 122

Suffrages B

Officiant:

That this evening may be holy, good, and peaceful,

People:

We entreat you, O Lord.

Officiant:

That your holy angels may lead us in paths of peace and goodwill,

People:

We entreat you, O Lord.

Officiant:

That we may be pardoned and forgiven for our sins and offenses,

People:

We entreat you, O Lord.

Officiant:

That there may be peace to your Church and to the whole world,

People:

We entreat you, O Lord.

Officiant:

That we may depart this life in your faith and fear, and not be condemned before the great judgment seat of Christ,

People:

We entreat you, O Lord.

Officiant:

That we may be bound together by your Holy Spirit in the communion of the Blessed Virgin Mary, blessed Thomas, and all your saints, entrusting one another and all our life to Christ,

People:

We entreat you, O Lord.

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Collects may be said by the Officiant or by the people together, or they may be said in turn.

The Collect of the Day

Officiant:

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

People:

Amen.

modeled after BCP 260

20. For the Sick
Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Comfort and relieve your sick servants, and give your power of healing to those who minister to their needs, that those suffering from Covid-19 and its secondary harms may be strengthened in their weakness and have confidence in your loving care; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

People:

Amen.

BCP 124

A Collect for Protection
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.

People:

Amen.

BCP 125

A Prayer for Mission
O God, you manifest in your servants the signs of your presence: Send forth upon us the Spirit of love, that in companionship with one another your abounding grace may increase among us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

People:

Amen.

Intercessions and thanksgivings may follow.

BCP 125

The General Thanksgiving

Officiant and People:

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.

Officiant:

Let us bless the Lord.

People:

Thanks be to God.

The Officiant then concludes with the following sentence of scripture:

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

All:

Amen.


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