Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, Apostle of the Franks, 533
Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, Social Reformer, 1885
His foundation is on the holy mountains.
The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you, Zion, city of our God.
I record Egypt and Babylon as those who know me;
behold Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia: in Zion were they born.
And of Zion it shall be said,
‘Each one was born in her, and the Most High himself has established her.’
The Lord will record as he writes up the peoples,
‘This one also was born there.’
And as they dance they shall sing,
‘All my fresh springs are in you.’
My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of the Lord:
with my mouth will I proclaim your faithfulness throughout all generations.
I will declare that your love is established for ever;
you have set your faithfulness as firm as the heavens.
For you said: ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn an oath to David my servant:
‘ “Your seed will I establish for ever and build up your throne for all generations.” ’
The heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, and your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones;
For who among the clouds can be compared to the Lord?
Who is like the Lord among the host of heaven?
A God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and terrible above all those round about him.
Who is like you, Lord God of hosts?
Mighty Lord, your faithfulness is all around you.
You rule the raging of the sea;
you still its waves when they arise.
You crushed Rahab with a deadly wound and scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
Yours are the heavens; the earth also is yours;
you established the world and all that fills it.
You created the north and the south;
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your name.
You have a mighty arm;
strong is your hand and high is your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before your face.
Happy are the people who know the shout of triumph:
they walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance.
In your name they rejoice all the day long and are exalted in your righteousness.
For you are the glory of their strength,
and in your favour you lift up our heads.
Truly the Lord is our shield;
the Holy One of Israel is our king.
2 Chronicles 18.1-27
Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honour; and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab. After some years he went down to Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered an abundance of sheep and oxen for him and for the people who were with him, and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead. King Ahab of Israel said to King Jehoshaphat of Judah, ‘Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?’ He answered him, ‘I am with you, my people are your people. We will be with you in the war.’
But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘Inquire first for the word of the Lord.’ Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred of them, and said to them, ‘Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?’ They said, ‘Go up; for God will give it into the hand of the king.’ But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there no other prophet of the Lord here of whom we may inquire?’ The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one other by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies anything favourable about me, but only disaster.’ Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let the king not say such a thing.’ Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, ‘Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.’ Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes; and they were sitting at the threshing-floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. Zedekiah son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron, and he said, ‘Thus says the Lord: With these you shall gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’ All the prophets were prophesying the same and saying, ‘Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.’
The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, ‘Look, the words of the prophets with one accord are favourable to the king; let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favourably.’ But Micaiah said, ‘As the Lord lives, whatever my God says, that I will speak.’
When he had come to the king, the king said to him, ‘Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?’ He answered, ‘Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand.’ But the king said to him, ‘How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?’ Then Micaiah said, ‘I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd; and the Lord said, “These have no master; let each one go home in peace.” ’ The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy anything favourable about me, but only disaster?’
Then Micaiah said, ‘Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, with all the host of heaven standing to the right and to the left of him. And the Lord said, “Who will entice King Ahab of Israel, so that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” Then one said one thing, and another said another, until a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, “I will entice him.” The Lord asked him, “How?” He replied, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” Then the Lord said, “You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do it.” So you see, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets; the Lord has decreed disaster for you.’
Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up to Micaiah, slapped him on the cheek, and said, ‘Which way did the spirit of the Lord pass from me to speak to you?’ Micaiah replied, ‘You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber.’ The king of Israel then ordered, ‘Take Micaiah, and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son; and say, “Thus says the king: Put this fellow in prison, and feed him on reduced rations of bread and water until I return in peace.” ’ Micaiah said, ‘If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.’ And he said, ‘Hear, you peoples, all of you!’
Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’ And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!’ In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
Almighty and everlasting God,
increase in us your gift of faith that, forsaking what lies behind
and reaching out to that which is before,
we may run the way of your commandments and win the crown of everlasting joy;
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