Born in Trier in 339, Ambrose was of an aristocratic family and in the year 374 was governor of northern Italy, with his headquarters in Milan. Whilst trying to bring peace to the Christian community, with Arianism and orthodoxy each trying to gain the election of its man as bishop, Ambrose, known and respected by all, though not yet baptised, found himself being urged to accept the rôle of bishop, the gathered Christian populace taking up the cry, “Ambrose for bishop”. He finally accepted and was baptised and consecrated. Ambrose proved his worth, becoming a teacher and preacher of great renown, promoting the essential divinity of Christ as being at the centre of Christian faith. He wrote hymns which gave a clear and comprehendable understanding of orthodox teaching, ensuring that what the people prayed was what they believed, and vice versa. He came up against the imperial powers and, with the support of the whole community, stood firm against the interference of the state in church and faith matters. Ambrose died on this day in the year 397. EH
Ant. You will turn toward us, O God, *
and restore our life again, and your people will rejoice in you.
Show us, Lord, your mercy and grant us your salvation.
V. O Lord, you have favored your land, *
and brought back the captives of Jacob.
You forgave the guilt of your people, *
and covered all their sins.
You averted all your rage; *
you turned back the heat of your anger. Psalm 85
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.
O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will declare your praise.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
make haste to help me, O Lord.
Glory be 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.
Praise to you, O Christ, Alleluia!
HYMN: St Ambrose; para. Martin Luther; trans. William M Reynolds
Tune: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland https://tinyurl.com/y2wjujf3
1 Savior of the nations, come,
virgin’s Son, make here thy home!
Marvel now, O heav’n and earth,
that the Lord chose such a birth.
2 Not of flesh and blood the Son,
offspring of the Holy One;
born of Mary ever blest,
God in flesh is manifest.
3 Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child
of the Virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
still to be in heav’n enthroned.
4 From the Father forth he came
and returneth to the same,
captive leading death and hell,
high the song of triumph swell!
5 Thou, the Father’s only Son,
hast o’er sin the vict’ry won.
Boundless shall thy kingdom be;
when shall we its glories see?
6 Praise to God the Father sing.
Praise to God the Son, our King.
Praise to God the Spirit be
ever and eternally.
For psalms in contemporary language, https://tinyurl.com/y9tjh7rk
Psalm 37 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/tujglrg)
1 Fret not thyself because of the ungodly *
neither be thou envious against the evil doers.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass *
and be withered even as the green herb.
3 Put thou thy trust in the Lord, and be doing good *
dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4 Delight thou in the Lord *
and he shall give thee thy heart’s desire.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord, and put thy trust in him *
and he shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall make thy righteousness as clear as the light *
and thy just dealing as the noon-day.
7 Hold thee still in the Lord, and abide patiently upon him *
but grieve not thyself at him, whose way doth prosper,
against the man that doeth after evil counsels.
8 Leave off from wrath, and let go displeasure *
fret not thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil.
9 Wicked doers shall be rooted out *
and they that patiently abide the Lord, those shall inherit the land.
10 Yet a little while, and the ungodly shall be clean gone *
thou shalt look after his place, and he shall be away.
11 But the meek-spirited shall possess the earth *
and shall be refreshed in the multitude of peace.
12 The ungodly seeketh counsel against the just *
and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
13 The Lord shall laugh him to scorn *
for he hath seen that his day is coming.
14 The ungodly have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow *
to cast down the poor and needy,
and to slay such as are of a right conversation.
15 Their sword shall go through their own heart *
and their bow shall be broken.
16 A small thing that the righteous hath *
is better than great riches of the ungodly.
17 For the arms of the ungodly shall be broken *
and the Lord upholdeth the righteous.
18 The Lord knoweth the days of the godly *
and their inheritance shall endure for ever.
19 They shall not be confounded in the perilous time *
and in the days of dearth they shall have enough.
20 As for the ungodly, they shall perish;
and the enemies of the Lord shall consume as the fat of lambs *
yea, even as the smoke, shall they consume away.
21 The ungodly borroweth, and payeth not again *
but the righteous is merciful, and liberal.
22 Such as are blessed of God shall possess the land *
and they that are cursed of him shall be rooted out.
23 The Lord ordereth a good man’s going *
and maketh his way acceptable to himself.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be cast away *
for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old *
and yet saw I never the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread.
26 The righteous is ever merciful, and lendeth *
and his seed is blessed.
27 Flee from evil, and do the thing that is good *
and dwell for evermore.
28 For the Lord loveth the thing that is right *
he forsaketh not his that be godly, but they are preserved for ever.
29 The unrighteous shall be punished *
as for the seed of the ungodly, it shall be rooted out.
30 The righteous shall inherit the land *
and dwell therein for ever.
31 The mouth of the righteous is exercised in wisdom *
and his tongue will be talking of judgement.
32 The law of his God is in his heart *
and his goings shall not slide.
33 The ungodly seeth the righteous *
and seeketh occasion to slay him.
34 The Lord will not leave him in his hand *
nor condemn him when he is judged.
35 Hope thou in the Lord, and keep his way,
and he shall promote thee, that thou shalt possess the land *
when the ungodly shall perish, thou shalt see it.
36 I myself have seen the ungodly in great power *
and flourishing like a green bay tree.
37 I went by, and lo, he was gone *
I sought him, but his place could no where be found.
38 Keep innocency, and take heed unto the thing that is right *
for that shall bring a man peace at the last.
39 As for the transgressors, they shall perish together *
and the end of the ungodly is, they shall be rooted out at the last.
40 But the salvation of the righteous cometh of the Lord *
who is also their strength in the time of trouble.
41 And the Lord shall stand by them, and save them *
he shall deliver them from the ungodly,
and shall save them, because they put their trust in him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.
God our strength,
give us the humility to trust in your loving care,
and the patience to be faithful in seeking your kingdom,
that we may come to share in the inheritance of your saints;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen. BCW
THE WORD OF GOD
Reading: Hosea 14:1-9
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
Take words with you
and return to the Lord;
say to him,
‘Take away all guilt;
accept that which is good,
and we will offer
the fruit of our lips.
Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride upon horses;
we will say no more, “Our God”,
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.’
I will heal their disloyalty;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily,
he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon.
His shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive tree,
and his fragrance like that of Lebanon.
They shall again live beneath my shadow,
they shall flourish as a garden;
they shall blossom like the vine,
their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
your faithfulness comes from me.
Those who are wise understand these things;
those who are discerning know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.
HYMN: John Morrison
Tune: Kilmarnock https://tinyurl.com/y6fvbkjz
1 Come, let us to the Lord our God
with contrite hearts return;
our God is gracious, nor will leave
the desolate to mourn.
2 His voice commands the tempest forth,
and stills the stormy wave;
and though his arm be strong to smite,
’tis also strong to save.
3 Long has the night of sorrow reigned;
the dawn shall bring us light;
God shall appear, and we shall rise
with gladness in his sight.
4 Our hearts, if God we seek to know,
shall know him and rejoice;
his coming like the morn shall be,
like morning songs his voice.
5 As dew upon the tender herb,
diffusing fragrance round;
as showers that usher in the spring,
and cheer the thirsty ground:
6 So shall his presence bless our souls,
and shed a joyful light;
that hallowed morn shall chase away
the sorrows of the night.
Reading: Philippians 3:1-9a
Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh— even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
HYMN: Michael Joncas ©
1 All that I counted as gain
Now I consider as loss,
Empty and worthless to me
In the light of the love of the Lord.
2 Riches and honors will fade,
Earthly delight disappear,
Fade like the grass of the field
In the light of the love of the Lord.
What more could bring us hope
than to know the pow’r of his life?
What more could bring us peace
than to share in his suff’ring and death?
What more could be our final wish
than to live in the love of the Lord?
3 Silver and gold have I none,
No land to count as my home,
Yet wealth beyond measure I own
In the light of the love of the Lord.
4 Faith is the wealth I possess
Finding its source in my God:
Faith in the promise of Christ
Is my life and my love of the Lord. [Refrain]
Reading: Mark 12:28-34
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked Jesus, ‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’ Then the scribe said to him, ‘You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that “he is one, and besides him there is no other”; and “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength”, and “to love one’s neighbour as oneself”,—this is much more important than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.’ When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ After that no one dared to ask him any question.
CANTICLE Isaiah 9; Isaiah 40:1-9; 1 John 1
(Dan Schutte: https://tinyurl.com/ybrvb259)
Awake from your slumber! Arise from your sleep!
A new day is dawning for all those who weep
The people in darkness have seen a great light
The Lord of our longing has conquered the night
Let us build the city of God
May our tears be turned into dancing!
For the Lord, our light and our love
Has turned the night into day!
We are sons of the morning; we are daughters of day
The One who has loved us has brightened our way. Refrain
God is light; in him there is no darkness
Let us walk in his light, his children, one and all. Refrain
O comfort my people; make gentle your words
Proclaim to my city the day of her birth. Refrain
Where there seems to be no way
to end the conflict and violence in our time,
we pray that you would teach us, O Christ,
to prepare the way;
Come, Lord Jesus!
Where we can see no way
to provide for the needs of all people,
we pray that you would show us, O Christ,
how to prepare the way;
Come, Lord Jesus!
Where can find no way
to work together for justice,
we pray that you would change us, O Christ,
until we prepare the way;
Come, Lord Jesus!
Where we are unable to believe in a way
to live simply, responsibly and mindfully,
we pray that you would inspire us, O Christ,
to faith that prepares the way;
Come, Lord Jesus!
In a world where we are tempted
to see so many of our challenges as dead-ends,
we pray for a new vision, a new heart and a new commitment
to prepare the way for your reign,
your grace, your shalom
and for the liberation, justice and peace that you bring. Amen.
(Plainsong Mode 2: https://tinyurl.com/yctqq8cf)DL
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the bread of life;
and 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.
God of hosts,
who called Ambrose from the governor’s throne
to be a bishop in your Church
and an intrepid champion of your faithful people:
mercifully grant that, as he did not fear to rebuke rulers,
so we, with like courage,
may contend for the faith we have received;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen. EH
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14
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BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.
RCLP Revised Common Lectionary Prayers. © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress.
EH Exciting Holiness, Ed. Brother Tristram SSF © European Province of the Society of Saint Francis, 1997
1 Adam Bartlett, Simple English Propers; audio from https://musicasacra.com/additional-publications/sep-practice-videos/ ©
The three main scripture readings are from the The New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Edition, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662).
Musical links are usually either to artists’ albums posted on Spotify or to recordings made available at smallchurchmusic.com. Audio stripped from YouTube videos is footnoted accordingly above.
Compilation © 2020 Stephen T. Benner. All links worked at the time they were created, but I cannot accept responsibility for their content or any damage resulting from their use. The linked content is under the control of the respective content creators and is subject to change at any time. Any copyright texts included in this compilation are provided for non-commercial purposes related to study or worship. Please contact the respective copyright holders for permission to use the texts in other contexts.