Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Morning Prayer - Wednesday 29 March 2017

Psalm 63
O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul is athirst for you. My flesh also faints for you, as in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So would I gaze upon you in your holy place, that I might behold your power and your glory. Your loving-kindness is better than life itself and so my lips shall praise you. I will bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your name.

My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips, When I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night. For you have been my helper and under the shadow of your wings will I rejoice. My soul clings to you; your right hand shall hold me fast.

But those who seek my soul to destroy it shall go down to the depths of the earth; Let them fall by the edge of the sword and become a portion for jackals. But the king shall rejoice in God; all those who swear by him shall be glad, for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

Psalm 90
Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another. Before the mountains were brought forth, or the earth and the world were formed, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You turn us back to dust and say: ‘Turn back, O children of earth.’ For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday, which passes like a watch in the night.

You sweep them away like a dream; they fade away suddenly like the grass. In the morning it is green and flourishes; in the evening it is dried up and withered. For we consume away in your displeasure; we are afraid at your wrathful indignation. You have set our misdeeds before you and our secret sins in the light of your countenance. When you are angry, all our days are gone; our years come to an end like a sigh.

The days of our life are three score years and ten, or if our strength endures, even four score; yet the sum of them is but labour and sorrow, for they soon pass away and we are gone. Who regards the power of your wrath and your indignation like those who fear you?

So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.

Turn again, O Lord; how long will you delay? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us with your loving-kindness in the morning; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Give us gladness for the days you have afflicted us, and for the years in which we have seen adversity. Show your servants your works, and let your glory be over their children.

May the gracious favour of the Lord our God be upon us; prosper our handiwork; O prosper the work of our hands.

Jeremiah 18.13-end
Therefore, thus says the Lord: Ask among the nations: Who has heard the like of this?

The virgin Israel has done a most horrible thing.
Does the snow of Lebanon leave the crags of Sirion?
Do the mountain waters run dry, the cold flowing streams?
But my people have forgotten me, they burn offerings to a delusion; they have stumbled in their ways, in the ancient roads,
and have gone into bypaths, not the highway, making their land a horror, a thing to be hissed at for ever. All who pass by it are horrified and shake their heads. Like the wind from the east, I will scatter them before the enemy. I will show them my back, not my face, on the day of their calamity.

Then they said, ‘Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah—for instruction shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us bring charges against him, and let us not heed any of his words.’

Give heed to me, O Lord, and listen to what my adversaries say! Is evil a recompense for good? Yet they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember how I stood before you to speak good for them, to turn away your wrath from them. Therefore give their children over to famine; hurl them out to the power of the sword, let their wives become childless and widowed. May their men meet death by pestilence, their youths be slain by the sword in battle. May a cry be heard from their houses, when you bring the marauder suddenly upon them! For they have dug a pit to catch me, and laid snares for my feet. Yet you, O Lord, know all their plotting to kill me. Do not forgive their iniquity,  do not blot out their sin from your sight.Let them be tripped up before you; deal with them while you are angry.

John 10.11-21
‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’

Again the Jews were divided because of these words. Many of them were saying, ‘He has a demon and is out of his mind. Why listen to him?’ Others were saying, ‘These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’

The Collect
Merciful Lord, you know our struggle to serve you: when sin spoils our lives and overshadows our hearts, come to our aid
and turn us back to you again; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Journal: Films make you mad!

In an effort to separate myself from work I have been taking some time off during the day each week to watch a film at the local cinema. It takes me out of communication with the world and hides me away in a dark place for a couple of hours. I even get to have a brew and take it in with me - how good is that?

So I might not be getting around to a day off (I've promised to 'tell all' truth next week at quarter's end) but I'm having some time off: and it's been a most annoying and madness inducing experience.

The films I have seen thus far are:

Viceroy's House: About the partition of India and the stitch-up the British government engaged in with Mountbattens. Showed something extremely uncomfortable about this nation of ours in terms of arrogance, deceit and distastefulness.

I, Daniel Blake: A most uncomfortable watch indeed. It took me back to my time working in the wonderful world of the Employment Agency with those looking for work and the poor Employment Advisors who worked in the Jobcentres. An American contracting company providing a less than able provision with the goal of minimising payments and providing less than adequate services to the jobless population - and all in MY name! I was ready to learn the 'red flag' and head for Westminster by the time this fly on the wall offering was done. GRrrrr!

United Kingdom: My father used to say that Winston Churchill was a dictator who was needed to fight another dictator and that I should be in no doubt that he was never anyone's 'real' hero. Stiff words coming from a bloke who thought Margaret Thatcher was a bit of a lefty politician!

This film added another notch to my slowly emerging dislike of the man as he promised one thing if elected and delivered something very different once he was. But that's politics, isn't it?

But the arrogance of the British government and the colonial machinery takes your breath away and makes one disgusted at the heritage that being English lays upon us.

"Oxford teaches - film educates". Those were the words I was handed in a tutorial many years ago. "We can offer you books and anecdotes and the stillness to assimilate them but the silver screen makes them flesh; but not always truthfully!" my tutor continued. Books may be written with poor scholarship and equally poor language and you will see through this, but a well crafted film will send barbs into your flesh and make you aware just as Eve became aware as she ate the apple.

Sin lies in the action, not the object. Did the apple posses any power other than attract? Surely the act of taking from the tree brought an awareness of what sin was because it caused the separation between man and God. The focus of our desires is always present and before us, but it is the action that is sin.

This is true regardless of what is placed under the glass cover and beheld with desire: Things sexual, monetary, physical and intellectual - all of them qualify. It isn't what the object is, but the way we deal with us wanting it and the lines we are willing to cross to make it ours, or should I say 'possess  us'?

Lord, help me to see the lines and never cross them such that I become sinful and damage self or others. Help me to see the best in people and to love wholeheartedly, and yet never lose sight of the ability of each of us to place on a pedestal that thing which causes us to lose our soul (as did the ring bring both physical and spiritual death in Gollum's tale of woe).

Lord have mercy upon us for our past - and as Brexit is made real today - in our future as we consign ourselves into a very different reality.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Morning Prayer - Tuesday 28 March 2017

Psalm 54
Save me, O God, by your name and vindicate me by your power. Hear my prayer, O God; give heed to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and the ruthless seek after my life; they have not set God before them.

Behold, God is my helper; it is the Lord who upholds my life.

May evil rebound on those who lie in wait for me; destroy them in your faithfulness. An offering of a free heart will I give you and praise your name, O Lord, for it is gracious. For he has delivered me out of all my trouble, and my eye has seen the downfall of my enemies.

Psalm 79
O God, the heathen have come into your heritage; your holy temple have they defiled and made Jerusalem a heap of stones. The dead bodies of your servants they have given to be food for the birds of the air, and the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the field. Their blood have they shed like water on every side of Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them. We have become the taunt of our neighbours, the scorn and derision of those that are round about us.

Lord, how long will you be angry, for ever?
How long will your jealous fury blaze like fire?

Pour out your wrath upon the nations that have not known you, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon your name. For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his dwelling place.

Remember not against us our former sins; let your compassion make haste to meet us, for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and wipe away our sins for your name’s sake. Why should the heathen say, ‘Where is now their God?’

Let vengeance for your servants’ blood that is shed be known among the nations in our sight. Let the sorrowful sighing of the prisoners come before you, and by your mighty arm preserve those who are condemned to die. May the taunts with which our neighbours taunted you, Lord, return sevenfold into their bosom. But we that are your people and the sheep of your pasture will give you thanks for ever, and tell of your praise from generation to generation.

Jeremiah 18.1-12
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.
But they say, ‘It is no use! We will follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of our evil will.’

John 10.1-10
‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

The Collect
Merciful Lord, you know our struggle to serve you: when sin spoils our lives and overshadows our hearts, come to our aid and turn us back to you again; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Monday, 27 March 2017

Journal: Sound of silence

One of the greatest funeral challenges comes in the shape of the unsaid eulogy. Now usually I make sure that I have sufficient notes to do something regardless of whoever it is that is doing the eulogy, but the temptation to scrimp on a person's history is always with us and when a eulogy turns into a poem, you can find yourself on thin ice! Just saying.

Yesterday was an action packed event with a church service, a couple of crem' visits (with a Warden's meeting in the space between), kid's club and a dinner to speak at. Add to this a garnish of administration (which, like the poor will always be with us) and you have yourself a fairly rammed sixteen hours of vicaring.

Reflecting in the day I found myself ticking 'hoped for' many boxes.
Dead honoured - yep.
Gospel preached - every opportunity I had.
Pastorally engaged - pretty much, although wilted a bit by the afternoon with my engagement and wasn't as sparkly and whatever as I could have been.
Prayer - felt a bit of a 'cat's lick and a promise' day once daily office was squared away.
Abrasiveness - kept being smiley and suffered fools (and there were a few yesterday) pretty well: Must be growing up a bit!
Worship - loads of it.
Paperwork and admin' - enough to avoid drowning :-)

So Lord, we've come through another day together and survived.
Thank You for today - let's do it again tomorrow, perhaps with a bit of 'slow time' in it. (Did I really used to teach time management?)


Morning Prayer - 27 March 2017

Psalm 70
O God, make speed to save me; O Lord, make haste to help me. Let those who seek my life be put to shame and confusion; let them be turned back and disgraced who wish me evil. Let those who mock and deride me turn back because of their shame.

But let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; let those who love your salvation say always, ‘Great is the Lord!’ As for me, I am poor and needy; come to me quickly, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.

Psalm 77
I cry aloud to God; I cry aloud to God and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I have sought the Lord; by night my hand is stretched out and does not tire;
my soul refuses comfort. I think upon God and I groan; I ponder, and my spirit faints. You will not let my eyelids close; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

I consider the days of old; I remember the years long past; I commune with my heart in the night; my spirit searches for understanding.
Will the Lord cast us off for ever?
Will he no more show us his favour?
Has his loving mercy clean gone for ever?
Has his promise come to an end for evermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he shut up his compassion in displeasure?

And I said, ‘My grief is this: that the right hand of the Most High has lost its strength.’ I will remember the works of the Lord and call to mind your wonders of old time. I will meditate on all your works and ponder your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy; who is so great a god as our God?

You are the God who worked wonders and declared your power among the peoples. With a mighty arm you redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.

The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and were afraid; the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; your arrows flashed on every side; The voice of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the ground; the earth trembled and shook. Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, but your footsteps were not known. You led your people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Jeremiah 17.5-18
Thus says the Lord: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord. They shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when relief comes. They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.

The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse—who can understand it? I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings.

Like the partridge hatching what it did not lay, so are all who amass wealth unjustly; in mid-life it will leave them, and at their end they will prove to be fools.

O glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, shrine of our sanctuary! O hope of Israel! O Lord!
All who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be recorded in the underworld, for they have forsaken the fountain of living water, the Lord.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for you are my praise. See how they say to me, ‘Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come!’

But I have not run away from being a shepherd in your service, nor have I desired the fatal day. You know what came from my lips; it was before your face. Do not become a terror to me; you are my refuge on the day of disaster; Let my persecutors be shamed, but do not let me be shamed; let them be dismayed, but do not let me be dismayed; bring on them the day of disaster; destroy them with double destruction!

John 9.18-end
The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ His parents answered, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.’ His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, ‘Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.’ He answered, ‘I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He answered them, ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?’ Then they reviled him, saying, ‘You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ The man answered, ‘Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out.

Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshipped him. Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’ Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains.

The Collect
Merciful Lord, you know our struggle to serve you: when sin spoils our lives and overshadows our hearts, come to our aid and turn us back to you again; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saturday, 25 March 2017

Journal: Do we have enough Steel?

What a day! One of those slightly challenging, just a tad depressing, and more than a little interesting days you hope other people get!

When I first started out I had this naive view that said, "If you build it they will come and the. They will get stuck in and do it with you." I later realised that this needed to be modified to: "They will watch and suggest other things you could do too!" I had mistakenly assumed excitement and challenge were all we needed but, as a colleague at the time told me, "You cNt lead them, you have to get behind and drive them, like a sheltered!"

Well I noticed that the shepherds I'd seen in Israel seemed to walk on and the sheep followed him. Surely this should be the case. 'The sheep know my voice' and all that sort of thing. Recently I've been 'blessed' by the number of well-meaning people who are worried about how much I do. Many of them tell me to do less but that on a parallel with telling the chap who used to row you across the Thames near to where I grew up that he needed to do less and so should only row halfway each time. It gets nobody no where; well not unless someone is willing to row the rest of the way that is.

Ssitting in a boat (figuratively speaking) stuck in the middle of the stream with no one rowing is not the time to berate people for their inactivity. Neither is it a time to reach for a sketch pad and begin to lay out some strategic planning for when the vessel finds terra firma or launch into a tirade about those who could have rowed had they bothered to get onboard. But this is the place so many churches and their congregations find themselves.

"I might just as well tell them to vote labour," said a colleague in a twee and trendy posh place as they spoke of the congregations response to evangelism. Oddly, another in a posh university tow was saying something similar about his university town and his cap and gowned intellectuals (but this time the party was Comservative) on the same issue.

During my apprenticeship I found myself turning components on a lathe. It was a precise job and took concentration and a bit of skill, which is why we apprentices had to do it. One day, having made a few I went to the metal store and found we had no stock left. Bill Stroud, the bloke teaching me, asked me how much there had been before I started. Of course I hadn't checked!

"How were you expecting to finish without having enough stock?" He asked. "Unless you make sure you have enough in, or order to be in when you need it, you'll be no use to anyone, will you?" He continued. I muttered a few things and looked at my feet. "Right he said, " leading me to another store with the metal I needed - lesson learned?"

It was, and later Bill taught me to turn down locomotive wheels and make steam engines and more besides. But the 'how much have you got - what do you need to get the job done - if not get it' rule never left me; and that's why I realise that we haven't got enough to do the job now!

Given half a dozen committed and on fire people I could do loads of stuff, but it takes all the people we can get to carry the church and make sure we have enough to get the job done.

Lord, help me to motivate and mobilise the Church in the right way to take up their own cross and follow You.

Help them to understand what this Jesus thing is all about and to share it because the excitement of it bubbles up out of them rather than merely give them a job.

Help me when those around me do little and yet see that little as something so very big. Give all of us perspective and let that be the case in the shadow of the cross to nail it home.

Lord, give me the stock to get the job done.

Journal: Did someone say 'red feathers'?

The exit music at a funeral today associated them with a hooly-hooly skirt - what a super track to leave by, does it get any better than that? Today has been more of the same, and there's been as many funerals for me this month that I usually get in three months in an average year; so I guess it looks like funerals is all I do. But it isn't and in fact today was rammed to the gunwales with stuff, including Home Communions and pastoral stuff too.

One of the challenges is to deal with the absurdities of life that cross our parh without getting warped and bitter, blaisé, cynical or cruel. The madness that causes conflict and confusion can often tread on our toes and cause us to lose clarity of focus and the reds mists rise - but Jesus calls us to turn the other cheek and to step back from throwing the pebble in our hand before it all becomes too late. But we aren't allowed to ignore the situation because that would really mean that we are permitting whatever is happening it is to continue.

Lord help me to live and to give without counting the cost and Judging the lost.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Morning Prayer - Friday 24 March 2017

Walter Hilton of Thurgarton, Augustinian Canon, Mystic, 1396
Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980
Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953

Lent

Psalm 22
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me, and are so far from my salvation, from the words of my distress?

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; and by night also, but I find no rest. Yet you are the Holy One, enthroned upon the praises of Israel. Our forebears trusted in you; they trusted, and you delivered them. They cried out to you and were delivered; they put their trust in you and were not confounded.

But as for me, I am a worm and no man, scorned by all and despised by the people. All who see me laugh me to scorn; they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying, ‘He trusted in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him deliver him, if he delights in him.’

But it is you that took me out of the womb and laid me safe upon my mother’s breast. On you was I cast ever since I was born; you are my God even from my mother’s womb. Be not far from me, for trouble is near at hand and there is none to help.

Mighty oxen come around me; fat bulls of Bashan close me in on every side. They gape upon me with their mouths, as it were a ramping and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water; all my bones are out of joint; my heart has become like wax melting in the depths of my body. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd; my tongue cleaves to my gums; you have laid me in the dust of death.

For the hounds are all about me; the pack of evildoers close in on me; they pierce my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; they stand staring and looking upon me. They divide my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing. Be not far from me, O Lord; you are my strength; hasten to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword, my poor life from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth, from the horns of wild oxen. You have answered me!

I will tell of your name to my people; in the midst of the congregation will I praise you. Praise the Lord, you that fear him; O seed of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, O seed of Israel. For he has not despised nor abhorred the suffering of the poor;
neither has he hidden his face from them; but when they cried to him he heard them.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation; I will perform my vows in the presence of those that fear you. The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord shall praise him; their hearts shall live for ever. All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall bow before him. For the kingdom is the Lord’s and he rules over the nations.

How can those who sleep in the earth bow down in worship, or those who go down to the dust kneel before him?

He has saved my life for himself; my descendants shall serve him; this shall be told of the Lord for generations to come. They shall come and make known his salvation, to a people yet unborn, declaring that he, the Lord, has done it.

Jeremiah 15.10-end
Woe is me, my mother, that you ever bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me. The Lord said: Surely I have intervened in your life for good, surely I have imposed enemies on you in a time of trouble and in a time of distress. Can iron and bronze break iron from the north?

Your wealth and your treasures I will give as plunder, without price, for all your sins, throughout all your territory. I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn for ever.
O Lord, you know; remember me and visit me, and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance do not take me away; know that on your account I suffer insult. Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. I did not sit in the company of merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat alone, for you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail.

Therefore, thus says the Lord:
If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, says the Lord.

I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

John 8.48-end
The Jews answered him, ‘Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?’ Jesus answered, ‘I do not have a demon; but I honour my Father, and you dishonour me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the judge. Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.’

The Jews said to him, ‘Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?’

Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, “He is our God”, though you do not know him. But I know him; if I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’

So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

The Collect
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; 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.