Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely, c.678
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes,came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not be afraid, and though there rise up war against me, yet will I put my trust in him.
One thing have I asked of the Lord and that alone I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord and to seek his will in his temple. For in the day of trouble he shall hide me in his shelter; in the secret place of his dwelling shall he hide me and set me high upon a rock. And now shall he lift up my head above my enemies round about me; therefore will I offer in his dwelling an oblation with great gladness; I will sing and make music to the Lord. Hear my voice, O Lord, when I call; have mercy upon me and answer me. My heart tells of your word, ‘Seek my face.’ Your face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not your face from me, nor cast your servant away in displeasure.
You have been my helper; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. Though my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up. Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me on a level path, because of those who lie in wait for me. Deliver me not into the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me, and those who breathe out violence. I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the Lord.
I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have raised me up and have not let my foes triumph over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to you and you have healed me. You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; you restored me to life from among those that go down to the Pit. Sing to the Lord, you servants of his; give thanks to his holy name. For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, his favour for a lifetime. Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. In my prosperity I said,
‘I shall never be moved. You, Lord, of your goodness, have made my hill so strong.’
Then you hid your face from me and I was utterly dismayed.
To you, O Lord, I cried; to the Lord I made my supplication:
‘What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
‘Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me; O Lord, be my helper.’
You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness; therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.
These are the inheritances that the Israelites received in the land of Canaan, which the priest Eleazar, and Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites distributed to them. Their inheritance was by lot, as the Lord had commanded Moses for the nine and a half tribes. For Moses had given an inheritance to the two and a half tribes beyond the Jordan; but to the Levites he gave no inheritance among them. For the people of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim; and no portion was given to the Levites in the land, but only towns to live in, with their pasture lands for their flocks and herds. The Israelites did as the Lord commanded Moses; they allotted the land.
Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal; and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, ‘You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land; and I brought him an honest report. But my companions who went up with me made the heart of the people fail; yet I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. And Moses swore on that day, saying, “Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children for ever, because you have wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.” And now, as you see, the Lord has kept me alive, as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel was journeying through the wilderness; and here I am today, eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was on the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war, and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day; for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; it may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as the Lord said.’
Then Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. So Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba; this Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. And the land had rest from war.
Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered in thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.
‘I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
‘And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.’
who bestowed such grace upon your servant Etheldreda that she gave herself wholly to the life of prayer and to the service of your true religion:
grant that we, like her,
may so live our lives on earth seeking your kingdom
that by your guiding
we may be joined to the glorious fellowship of your saints;
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.