Some good news to report this week. The final version of The Gospel of John: Annotated & Illustrated has been sent to our publisher. I am awaiting receipt of a final proof copy. If there are not further delays, the book should be available later in August A.D. 2020. My proof-reader is working on reviewing the next book in the series, The Gospel of Luke: Annotated & Illustrated. She has completed the text and illustrations for the first third of the book. She is currently working on Chapters 7 through 14. As you can imagine, this step is very time-consuming. The final version will be a much larger book than the volume focused on John. My goal is to get the Luke volume in print in time for Advent season.
Meanwhile, a new AIC resource I am making available today is this Blog version of the first of the six “offices” in Hear Us, O Lord: Daily Prayers for the Laity. I had hoped to revive the podcast version which was recorded more than 10 years ago by members of my former parish. These old files are currently unavailable owing to my switch from Windows to the Mac. I will keep working to retrieve them from the archives. Meanwhile, here is the text for First Hour, traditionally read at 6 A.M. or local sunrise.. Included in this text is the source of each part of the office. If you want to use this office at home with family or friends, I have set the words which should be spoken by all and the response lines for the verse and responses in bold italic. Each office requires about 15 minutes to complete.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one true God, to whom be glory and upon us mercy and compassion for ever and ever. Amen.
The First Prayer
O LORD, our heavenly Father, Almighty and Everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day; Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings, being ordered by thy governance, may be righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ Ξ our Lord. Amen. [Morning Prayer Collect for Grace, 1928 BCP]
A General Confession
I CONFESS to God the Father Almighty, to His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and to God the Holy Ghost, and before the whole company of heaven, that I have sinned exceedingly, in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my own fault, through my own most grievous fault. Wherefore I beseech God the Father Almighty, His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and God the Holy Ghost, to pity me, and to have mercy upon me. The Almighty and merciful God grant to us pardon, absolution, and remission of all our sins. Amen. [Adapted from an English form of Compline]
The Lord’s Prayer [Luke 11:2-4]
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. Amen.
The First Chapter [1 John 1:7]
IF we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son.
The First Antiphon
O Lord, save thy people, and bless thine heritage.
Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name ever, world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.
[Te Deum laudamus, part 3, 1928 BCP]
The Second Prayer
I THANK thee, O Holy Trinity for this new day. Enlighten the eyes of my understanding, open my ears to receive thy words and teach me thy commandments. Help me to do thy will, to confess thee from my heart, to extol thine all-holy Name, of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. [Adapted from an Eastern Orthodox Prayer of St. Basil the Great, 5th or 6th Century]
The Second Antiphon
Thee, God the Father, unbegotten
Thee, the only-begotten Son;
Thee, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter;
One and Holy and Undivided Trinity;
With our whole heart and with our mouth
We confess and praise thee. To thee be glory for ever. Amen.
[Sarum Antiphons, 13th to 14th Century England]
The Third Prayer
O MOST holy Trinity, Almighty God, who gives life and vigor to every creature, who sheds light eternal where there is darkness; We offer Thee our hearts, our souls, and our whole being that we may offer perfect praise and love to Thy glorious Name. Amen.[Roman Catholic Holy Trinity Prayer. Date unknown]
The Second Chapter [Zechariah 8:19]
Love the truth and peace, thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
The Third Antiphon [Psalm 119:175, 176]
O, let my soul live, and it shall praise thee
And thy judgments shall help me.
I have gone astray like a sheep that was lost;
O seek thy servant, for I do not forget thy commandments.
The Fourth Prayer
O LORD, grant me to greet the rest of the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely upon thy holy will. In every hour of this day reveal thy will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to me with peace of soul, and with firm conviction that thy will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events let me not forget that all are sent by thee. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Send down thy Holy Spirit to direct my will and to lead me in my prayer life this day; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen. [Adapted from a Russian Orthodox Morning Prayer, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, 19th Century]
The Psalm [Psalm 90]
LORD, thou hast been our refuge, * from one generation to another.
2. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made, * thou art God from everlasting, and world without end.
3. Thou turnest man to destruction; * again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.
4. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, * and as a watch in the night.
5. As soon as thou scatterest them they are even as a sleep; * and fade away suddenly like the grass.
6. In the morning it is green, and groweth up; * but in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered.
7. For we consume away in thy displeasure, * and are afraid of thy wrathful indignation.
8. Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee; * and our secret sins in the sight of thy countenance.
9. For when thou art angry all our days are gone: * we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told.
10. The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years, * yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone.
11. But who regardeth the power of thy wrath? * or feareth aright thy indignation?
12. So teach us to number our days, * that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
13. Turn thee again, O Lord, at the last, * and be gracious unto thy servants.
14. O satisfy us with thy mercy, and that soon: * so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
15. Comfort us again now after the time that thou last plagued us; * and for the years wherein we have suffered adversity.
16. Show thy servants thy work, * and their children thy glory.
17. And the glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us: * O prosper thou the work of our hands upon us; O prosper thou our handy-work.
The Third Chapter [1 Timothy 1:17]
Unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The Fourth Antiphon [Psalm 119:1-2, 12-16]
Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way,
And walk in the way of the Lord.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies,
And seek him with their whole heart
Blessed art thou, O Lord;
O teach me thy statutes.
With my lips have I been telling,
Of all the judgments of thy mouth.
I have had as great delight in the way of thy testimonies,
As in all manner of riches.
I will talk of thy commandments,
And have respect unto thy ways.
My delight shall be in thy statutes,
And I will not forget thy word.
The Fifth Prayer
WE give thee thanks, O Lord our God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for all thy goodness at all times and in all places, because thou hast shielded, rescued, and guided us all the days of our lives and brought us to this morning hour, permitting us again to stand before thee and implore forgiveness for our sins. We pray and beseech thee, merciful God, to grant in thy goodness that we may spend this day and all the time of our lives without sin, in fulness of joy, health, safety, holiness and reverence of thee; Drive away from us all envy, fear, temptation, the influence of Satan, and the snares of wicked men. Amen. [Adapted from the Liturgy of St. Mark the Apostle, 1st Century]
The Fifth Antiphon [Psalm 51:9-12]
Turn thy face from my sins,
And put out all my misdeeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence,
And take not thy holy Spirit from me.
O give me the comfort of thy help again,
And stablish me with thy free Spirit.
The Sixth Prayer
O GOD, the King eternal, who dividest the day from the darkness, and turnest the shadow of death into the morning; Drive far off from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep thy law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that having done thy will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when the night cometh, rejoice to give thee thanks. Amen. [Family Prayer, 1928 BCP]
The Grace [2 Corinthians 13:14]
THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.
The full text of all the offices is available in Hear Us, O Lord: Daily Prayers for the Laity, available using the Virtual Bookstore link on each page.