Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304
Samuel Johnson, Moralist, 1784
Lord, you were gracious to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the offence of your people and covered all their sins.
You laid aside all your fury and turned from your wrathful indignation.
Restore us again, O God our Saviour, and let your anger cease from us.
Will you be displeased with us for ever?
Will you stretch out your wrath from one generation to another?
Will you not give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.
I will listen to what the Lord God will say, for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful, that they turn not again to folly. Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other; Truth shall spring up from the earth and righteousness look down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give all that is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness shall go before him and direct his steps in the way.
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and in misery. Preserve my soul, for I am faithful; save your servant, for I put my trust in you.
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for you are my God; I call upon you all the day long. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For you, Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer and listen to the voice of my supplication. In the day of my distress I will call upon you, for you will answer me. Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, nor any works like yours. All nations you have made shall come and worship you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wonderful things; you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; knit my heart to you, that I may fear your name. I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and glorify your name for evermore; For great is your steadfast love towards me, for you have delivered my soul from the depths of the grave.
O God, the proud rise up against me and a ruthless horde seek after my life; they have not set you before their eyes. But you, Lord, are gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and full of kindness and truth. Turn to me and have mercy upon me; give your strength to your servant and save the child of your handmaid. Show me a token of your favour, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; because you, O Lord, have helped and comforted me.
Ah, you destroyer, who yourself have not been destroyed; you treacherous one, with whom no one has dealt treacherously! When you have ceased to destroy, you will be destroyed; and when you have stopped dealing treacherously, you will be dealt with treacherously.
O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. At the sound of tumult, peoples fled; before your majesty, nations scattered. Spoil was gathered as the caterpillar gathers; as locusts leap, they leapt upon it. The Lord is exalted, he dwells on high; he filled Zion with justice and righteousness; he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.
Listen! the valiant cry in the streets; the envoys of peace weep bitterly. The highways are deserted, travellers have left the road. The treaty is broken, its oaths are despised, its obligation is disregarded. The land mourns and languishes; Lebanon is confounded and withers away; Sharon is like a desert; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.
‘Now I will arise,’ says the Lord,
‘now I will lift myself up;
now I will be exalted.
You conceive chaff, you bring forth stubble; your breath is a fire that will consume you. And the peoples will be as if burned to lime, like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.’
Hear, you who are far away, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless:
‘Who among us can live with the devouring fire?
Who among us can live with everlasting flames?’
Those who walk righteously and speak uprightly, who despise the gain of oppression, who wave away a bribe instead of accepting it, who stop their ears from hearing of bloodshed and shut their eyes from looking on evil, they will live on the heights; their refuge will be the fortresses of rocks; their food will be supplied, their water assured.
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty; they will behold a land that stretches far away.
Your mind will muse on the terror:
‘Where is the one who counted?
Where is the one who weighed the tribute?
Where is the one who counted the towers?’
No longer will you see the insolent people, the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend, stammering in a language that you cannot understand. Look on Zion, the city of our appointed festivals! Your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet habitation, an immovable tent, whose stakes will never be pulled up, and none of whose ropes will be broken. But there the Lord in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor stately ship can pass.
For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us.
After Jesus had left that place, he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?’ Jesus asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ They said, ‘Seven, and a few small fish.’ Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Those who had eaten were four thousand men, besides women and children. After sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.
God our redeemer,
who gave light to the world that was in darkness by the healing power of the Saviour's cross:
shed that light on us, we pray, that with your martyr Lucy we may, by the purity of our lives,
reflect the light of Christ and, by the merits of his passion, come to the light of everlasting life;
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.