Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advent Ember Days

Four times a year, the Western Church observes the changing seasons with prayer and fasting. These are the Ember Days - the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after St. Lucy's Day, in the First Week of Lent, after Pentecost, and after Holy Cross Day.

The word "Ember" is an English corruption of the Latin "tempororum" - the seasons. You can also see the word in "shrimp tempura" - a Portuguese dish fit for eating on these traditional Western fast days where no red meat is customarily consumed.

Besides observing the changing seasons with prayer and fasting, the Ember Days are also associated with the calling of faithful men into the Office of the Ministry - especially the Ember Days in the week of Pentecost. Therefore, it is most appropriate to offer prayers for the Church's ministers, candidates, and seminarists on these days.

Unique among Lutheran worship resources, Daily Divine Service Book - which, by the way, is still on sale through Christmas - includes full propers for Divine Service or personal meditation for all the twelve Ember Days of the year. This is another good example of how DDSB compliments the worship resources you already have - for the Treasury of Daily Prayer mentions the Ember Days, but you can only find Divine Service propers in DDSB. Below is tomorrow's set of propers.


The Ember Days in Advent

Ember Wednesday

Simple – Violet Vestments – Advent Preface

Beginning of the Divine Service: Turn to (A) Divine Service p. 394

(B) Introit


Drop down, ye heavens, from above, † and let the skies póur down ríghteousness: * let the earth open, and let them bríng forth sálvation (Isaiah 45: 8)


The heavens declare the glóry of God; * and the firmament shéweth his hándywork.

Glory be to the Fáther and tó the Son * and tó the Hóly Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and éver sháll be, * wórld without énd. Amen. (Psalm 19: 1)

Turn to (C) Kyrie p. 396

(D) Collect of the Day

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almìghty God: that the coming festival of our redemption may obtain for us the comfort of Thy help in this lìfe; and in the life to come the reward of eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, oùr Lord; who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Hòly Ghost: ever one God, world without end. Amen.

(E) First Lesson: Isaiah 2: 2-5

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

(F) Gradual

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; † and be ye lift up, ye éverlásting doors; * and the King of glóry sháll come in.

Who shall ascend into the híll of the LORD? * or who shall stand ín his hóly place?

He that hath clean hands, ánd a púre heart. (Psalm 24: 7, 3, 4a)

Collect for Ember Day

Arise, O Lord, we prày Thee: and delay not to bestow upon us the succour of Thy heavenly mìght; that they, which put their trust and confidence in Thy mercy may be succoured by the comfort of Thy coming; who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Hòly Ghost: ever one God, world without end. Amen.

(G) The Epistle Lesson: Isaiah 7: 10-15

Brethren: Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. 13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

(F) The Gradual

The LORD is nigh unto all them that cáll upon him, * to all that cáll upon hím in truth.

My mouth shall speak the práise of the LORD: * and let all flesh bless his holy name for éver and éver. (Psalm 145: 18, 21)

Turn to (I) Gospel Preparation p. 397

(J) The Holy Gospel: Luke 1: 26-38

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.


  1. What is the scoop on the position of a collect after the first lesson/gradual?

    (PS you mentioned the DDSB orders the days 'first class' etc - where do I find, in the DDSB or otherwise, what terms like 'semi-double first class' mean?)

  2. I too am a bit confounded as to the classification of the days. I must have missed that day in worship class.

  3. I used the rankings current at the time of the Reformation.

    Double, First Class
    Double, Second Class

    Nobody really knows what "double" originally referred to. They are just rankings.

    Read all about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranking_of_liturgical_days_in_the_Roman_Rite



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