Today’s feast commemorates how God made known to a young Jewish woman that she was to be the mother of his Son, and how Mary accepted her vocation with perfect conformity of will. It has been said, “God made us without us, and redeemed us without us, but cannot save us without us.” Mary’s assent to Gabriel’s message opened the way for God to accomplish the salvation of the world. It is for this reason that all generations are to call her “blessed.” Mary’s self-offering in response to God’s call has been compared to that of Abraham, the father of believers. Just as Abraham was called to be the father of the chosen people, and accepted his call, so Mary was called to be the mother of the faithful, the new Israel. She is God’s human agent in the mystery of the Incarnation. Her response to the angel, “Let it be to me according to your word,” is identical with the faith expressed in the prayer that Jesus taught, “Your will be done on earth as in heaven.” HWHM
Ant. Skies, let the Just One come forth like the dew, *
let him descend from the clouds like the rain.
The earth will open up and give birth to our Savior.
V. The heavens declare the glory of God, *
and the firmament proclaims the work of his hands.
Day unto day conveys the message, *
and night unto night imparts the knowledge. Isaiah 45; Psalm 19
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires, known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
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.
HYMN: A Selection of Hymns for Public and Private Use, 1847
Tune: Dominica https://tinyurl.com/3hujrr7k
1 Praise we the Lord this day,
this day so long foretold,
whose promise shone with cheering ray
on waiting saints of old.
2 The prophet gave the sign
for faithful hearts to read:
a Virgin, born of David’s line,
shall bear the promised Seed.
3 Ask not how this should be,
but worship and adore;
like her, whom heaven’s majesty
came down to shadow o’er.
4 Meekly she bowed her head
to hear the gracious word,
Mary, the pure and lowly maid,
the favoured of the Lord.
5 Blèssed shall be her name
in all the church on earth,
through whom that wondrous mercy came,
the Incarnate Saviour’s birth.
3 Turn away the reproach that I dread,
For your rules are good
Behold, I long for your precepts
In your righteousness give me life!
O, in your righteousness give me life!
For psalms in contemporary language, https://tinyurl.com/y9tjh7rk
Psalm 119:33-72 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/uzj6wj2
33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes *
and I shall keep it unto the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law *
yea, I shall keep it with my whole heart.
35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments *
for therein is my desire.
36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies *
and not to covetousness.
37 O turn away mine eyes, lest they behold vanity *
and quicken thou me in thy way.
38 O stablish thy word in thy servant *
that I may fear thee.
39 Take away the rebuke that I am afraid of *
for thy judgements are good.
40 Behold, my delight is in thy commandments *
O quicken me in thy righteousness.
41 Let thy loving mercy come also unto me, O Lord *
even thy salvation, according unto thy word.
42 So shall I make answer unto my blasphemers *
for my trust is in thy word.
43 O take not the word of thy truth utterly out of my mouth *
for my hope is in thy judgements.
44 So shall I alway keep thy law *
yea, for ever and ever.
45 And I will walk at liberty *
for I seek thy commandments.
46 I will speak of thy testimonies also, even before kings *
and will not be ashamed.
47 And my delight shall be in thy commandments *
which I have loved.
48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved *
and my study shall be in thy statutes.
49 O think upon thy servant, as concerning thy word *
wherein thou hast caused me to put my trust.
50 The same is my comfort in my trouble *
for thy word hath quickened me.
51 The proud have had me exceedingly in derision *
yet have I not shrinked from thy law.
52 For I remembered thine everlasting judgements, O Lord *
and received comfort.
53 I am horribly afraid *
for the ungodly that forsake thy law.
54 Thy statutes have been my songs *
in the house of my pilgrimage.
55 I have thought upon thy Name, O Lord, in the night-season *
and have kept thy law.
56 This I had *
because I kept thy commandments.
57 Thou art my portion, O Lord *
I have promised to keep thy law.
58 I made my humble petition in thy presence with my whole heart *
O be merciful unto me, according to thy word.
59 I called mine own ways to remembrance *
and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
60 I made haste, and prolonged not the time *
to keep thy commandments.
61 The congregations of the ungodly have robbed me *
but I have not forgotten thy law.
62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee *
because of thy righteous judgements.
63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee *
and keep thy commandments.
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy *
O teach me thy statutes.
65 O Lord, thou hast dealt graciously with thy servant *
according unto thy word.
66 O learn me true understanding and knowledge *
for I have believed thy commandments.
67 Before I was troubled, I went wrong *
but now have I kept thy word.
68 Thou art good and gracious *
O teach me thy statutes.
69 The proud have imagined a lie against me *
but I will keep thy commandments with my whole heart.
70 Their heart is as fat as brawn *
but my delight hath been in thy law.
71 It is good for me that I have been in trouble *
that I may learn thy statutes.
72 The law of thy mouth is dearer unto me *
than thousands of gold and silver.
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.
Guide us, O God,
by your Word and Spirit,
that in your light we may see light,
in your truth find freedom,
and in your will discover your peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCW
THE WORD OF GOD
Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.’
HYMN: attr. Ambrose of Milan; trans. Martin Luther; trans. William M Reynolds
Tune: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland https://tinyurl.com/baphfers
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.
Reading: Hebrews 10:4-10
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt-offerings and sin-offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, “See, God, I have come to do your will, O God”
(in the scroll of the book it is written of me).’
When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sin-offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), then he added, ‘See, I have come to do your will.’ He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
HYMN: Charles Wesley
Tune: St John https://tinyurl.com/3z6vh467
1 Let earth and Heaven agree,
Angels and men be joined,
To celebrate with me
The Saviour of mankind;
To adore the all-atoning Lamb,
And bless the sound of Jesus’ name.
2 Jesus, transporting sound,
The joy of earth and Heaven;
No other help is found,
No other name is given
By which we can salvation have;
But Jesus came the world to save.
3 O unexampled love!
O all-redeeming grace!
How swiftly didst thou move
To save a fallen race:
What shall I do to make it known
What thou for all mankind hast done?
4 O for a trumpet voice
On all the world to call,
To bid their hearts rejoice
In him who died for all!
For all my Lord was crucified,
For all, for all my Saviour died.
Reading: Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.
CANTICLE Rory Cooney; based on Luke 1:46-55
(Performed by The Gentle Wolves https://tinyurl.com/ybox4ctg)
1. My soul cries out with a joyful shout
that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight,
and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?
2. Though I am small, my God, my all,
you work great things in me,
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past
to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
and to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight,
for the world is about to turn.
3. From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
ev’ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
There are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.
4. Though the nations rage from age to age,
we remember who holds us fast:
God’s mercy must deliver us
from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard
is the promise which holds us bound,
‘Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God,
who is turning the world around.
THE PRAYERS Katherine Smith
Let us pray in faith to God, our Father, for whom nothing is impossible and who hears the prayers of all his children in love and compassion.
Heavenly Father, we pray for your church throughout the world. For you, nothing is impossible. We ask that through the power of your Spirit our divisions may be healed so that, in heartfelt unison, we can call each other brother and sister and together seek to bring your kingdom upon earth.
Heavenly Father, we pray for the needs of our troubled world. For you, nothing is impossible. We ask that through the power of your Spirit the leaders of this, and all nations, will seek to govern with integrity in your ways of peace and justice for all people.
Heavenly Father, we pray for the needs of our own communities. For you, nothing is impossible. We ask that through the power of your Spirit you will be present in the lives of families under pressure and stress; in the lives of those suffering with addictions and poverty and in the lives of children who don’t have the security of a loving home and family.
Heavenly Father, we pray for all who are living in pain or in fear. For you, nothing is impossible. We ask that through the power of your Spirit you will bring healing and comfort to all who suffer both physically and mentally. Let them know that you are with them and will stay by their side.
Setting by Eric Wyse:2
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;
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.
Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord,
that we who have known
the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ,
announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary,
may by his cross and passion
be brought to the glory of his resurrection;
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen. BCP79
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
Donation to Support This Ministry
Since 1993, Oremus has been done on a volunteer basis. If you are able, please consider supporting this work at the PayPal link below. For software reasons, I’ve set the value at $10.00, but feel free to change it. Thank you.
BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.
RCLP Revised Common Lectionary Prayers. © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress.
WS2 The Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition, © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources
CGP Celebrating God’s Presence. © United Church of Canada.
HWHM Holy Women, Holy Men © Church Publishing, Inc.
BCP79 The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church
Katherine Smith https://tinyurl.com/kf9v5j7v
1 Adam Bartlett, Simple English Propers; audio from https://musicasacra.com/additional-publications/sep-practice-videos/ ©
2 Eric Wyse, Lord’s Prayer, ©; audio from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_a40ME7aVk
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.