Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester, Apostle of Wessex, 650
Blessed are those whose way is pure, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies and seek him with their whole heart,
Those who do no wickedness, but walk in his ways.
You, O Lord, have charged that we should diligently keep your commandments.
O that my ways were made so direct that I might keep your statutes.
Then should I not be put to shame, because I have regard for all your commandments.
I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, when I have learned your righteous judgements.
I will keep your statutes; O forsake me not utterly.
How shall young people cleanse their way to keep themselves according to your word?
With my whole heart have I sought you; O let me not go astray from your commandments.
Your words have I hidden within my heart, that I should not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord; O teach me your statutes.
With my lips have I been telling of all the judgements of your mouth.
I have taken greater delight in the way of your testimonies than in all manner of riches.
I will meditate on your commandments and contemplate your ways.
My delight shall be in your statutes and I will not forget your word.
O do good to your servant that I may live, and so shall I keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law.
I am a stranger upon earth; hide not your commandments from me.
My soul is consumed at all times with fervent longing for your judgements.
You have rebuked the arrogant; cursed are those who stray from your commandments.
Turn from me shame and rebuke, for I have kept your testimonies.
Rulers also sit and speak against me, but your servant meditates on your statutes.
For your testimonies are my delight; they are my faithful counsellors.
My soul cleaves to the dust; O give me life according to your word.
I have acknowledged my ways and you have answered me; O teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your commandments, and so shall I meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away in tears of sorrow; raise me up according to your word.
Take from me the way of falsehood; be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth and your judgements have I laid before me.
I hold fast to your testimonies; O Lord, let me not be put to shame.
I will run the way of your commandments, when you have set my heart at liberty.
1 Chronicles 15.1-16.3
David built houses for himself in the city of David, and he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David commanded that no one but the Levites were to carry the ark of God, for the Lord had chosen them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister to him for ever. David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place, which he had prepared for it. Then David gathered together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites: of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, with one hundred and twenty of his kindred; of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, with two hundred and twenty of his kindred; of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, with one hundred and thirty of his kindred; of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, with two hundred of his kindred; of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, with eighty of his kindred; of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, with one hundred and twelve of his kindred.
David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. He said to them, ‘You are the heads of families of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, you and your kindred, so that you may bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it the first time, the Lord our God burst out against us, because we did not give it proper care.’ So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.
David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their kindred as the singers to play on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise loud sounds of joy. So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; and of his kindred Asaph son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari, their kindred, Ethan son of Kushaiah; and with them their kindred of the second order, Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, and the gatekeepers Obed-edom and Jeiel. The singers Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were to sound bronze cymbals; Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were to play harps according to Alamoth; but Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to lead with lyres according to the Sheminith. Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, was to direct the music, for he understood it. Berechiah and Elkanah were to be gatekeepers for the ark. Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, were to blow the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah also were to be gatekeepers for the ark.
So David and the elders of Israel, and the commanders of the thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing. And because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers; and David wore a linen ephod. So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.
As the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing; and she despised him in her heart.
They brought in the ark of God, and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and they offered burnt-offerings and offerings of well-being before God. When David had finished offering the burnt-offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord; and he distributed to every person in Israel—man and woman alike—to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins.
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’
Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’
whose only Son has opened for us
a new and living way into your presence:
give us pure hearts and steadfast wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth;
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.