Thursday

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Collect

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.
(This Collect is to be repeated every day after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Eve.)

Psalm 18:1–19

Royal Thanksgiving for Victory

To the leader. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
 my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
 my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
 so I shall be saved from my enemies.

The cords of death encompassed me;
 the torrents of perdition assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me;
 the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
 to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
 and my cry to him reached his ears.

Then the earth reeled and rocked;
 the foundations also of the mountains trembled
 and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils,
 and devouring fire from his mouth;
 glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He bowed the heavens, and came down;
 thick darkness was under his feet.
He rode on a cherub, and flew;
 he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering around him,
 his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before him
 there broke through his clouds
 hailstones and coals of fire.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
 and the Most High uttered his voice.
And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them;
 he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
 and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
 at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

He reached down from on high, he took me;
 he drew me out of mighty waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
 and from those who hated me;
 for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity;
 but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
 he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Isaiah 2:12–22

A Call to Repentance

For the Lord of hosts has a day
 against all that is proud and lofty,
 against all that is lifted up and high;
against all the cedars of Lebanon,
 lofty and lifted up;
 and against all the oaks of Bashan;
against all the high mountains,
 and against all the lofty hills;
against every high tower,
 and against every fortified wall;
against all the ships of Tarshish,
 and against all the beautiful craft.
The haughtiness of people shall be humbled,
 and the pride of everyone shall be brought low;
 and the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.
The idols shall utterly pass away.
Enter the caves of the rocks
 and the holes of the ground,
from the terror of the Lord,
 and from the glory of his majesty,
 when he rises to terrify the earth.
On that day people will throw away
 to the moles and to the bats
their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
 which they made for themselves to worship,
to enter the caverns of the rocks
 and the clefts in the crags,
from the terror of the Lord,
 and from the glory of his majesty,
 when he rises to terrify the earth.
Turn away from mortals,
 who have only breath in their nostrils,
 for of what account are they?

I Thessalonians 3:1–13

Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we decided to be left alone in Athens; and we sent Timothy, our brother and co–worker for God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the sake of your faith, so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions. Indeed, you yourselves know that this is what we are destined for. In fact, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer persecution; so it turned out, as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith; I was afraid that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labour had been in vain.

Timothy’s Encouraging Report

But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. He has told us also that you always remember us kindly and long to see us—just as we long to see you. For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith. For we now live, if you continue to stand firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

St. Luke 20:27–40

The Question about the Resurrection

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.’

Jesus said to them, ‘Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die any more, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.’ Then some of the scribes answered, ‘Teacher, you have spoken well.’ For they no longer dared to ask him another question.

A Story for the Day

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Source for Collects: The Collects are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

Source for Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the prayers is available through Augsburg Fortress.

Source for Scripture Passages: Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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