7 Epiphany, Friday Evening

First Lesson: Deuteronomy 8:11 – End

Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.

Canticle: Magnificat. St. Luke 1:46-55

My soul doth magnify the Lord, * and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded * the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth * all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me; * and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him * throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; * he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, * and hath exalted the humble and meek;.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; * and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel; * as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
Glory be.

Second Lesson: Matthew 26:57 – End

And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,
And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.
What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.
Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,
Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.
Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Canticle: Nunc dimittis. St. Luke 2:29-32

LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, * according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen * thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared * before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, * and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory be.

A reading from the Glaphyra on Genesis by St Cyril of Alexandria

When the sons of Jacob arrived with Benjamin, Joseph called them to the feast, and after they had washed with water he fed them to the full with food and wine. For at the right moment the Jews, distressed and as if overwhelmed by unbearable hunger, obviously in a spiritual sense, will abandon their haughty and arrogant pride and come to Christ. They will long to be fed by him, I mean with holy, spiritual and life-giving food. But he will not receive them without the new people, of whom Benjamin is the symbol. And when they come as it were in concord and unanimity he will receive them cheerfully, and welcome them as if to his own house, that is, the Church. Then after he has washed them with pure water, the baptismal water of spiritual rebirth, he will feed them with bread and wine.

This is the spiritual interpretation. But we may take it further. For Joseph made himself known to his brothers when they arrived with Benjamin, and even thought them worthy to eat at his table, as I said just now. But he gave them no inheritance, and actually ordered them to return home and fetch their father, Jacob. But when Jacob went down and Joseph now saw him there with his children, then and only then he assigned them the best of all his land. This too is a clear indication that Christ will receive the Israelites converted in the last days of this age, since the new people are obviously united with them in unity of soul. The new people, as I said, are foreshadowed in Benjamin. But the inheritance we hope for will not be given to us without the holy Fathers. For just as they, although they died in faith, in the words of the wise Paul, did not obtain what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for ourselves, that they should not attain perfection without us, so we too shall wait for the Fathers, so as not to attain perfection without them. Therefore with the holy Fathers, the first, middle, and last people, we shall receive the best and inalienable inheritance of the kingdom of heaven in Christ, through whom and with whom be glory to God the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen.

St Cyril of Alexandria, Glaphyrorum in Genesim 4 (PG 69:324-5); Word in Season VII.

And the Apostles Creed and the rest of the office.

Collect:

O LORD, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour who liveth and reigneth with THee in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.