Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179
O consider my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. Plead my cause and redeem me; according to your promise, give me life.
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. Great is your compassion, O Lord; give me life, according to your judgements. Many there are that persecute and oppress me, yet do I not swerve from your testimonies. It grieves me when I see the treacherous, for they do not keep your word.
Consider, O Lord, how I love your commandments; give me life according to your loving-kindness. The sum of your word is truth, and all your righteous judgements endure for evermore. Princes have persecuted me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of your word. I am as glad of your word as one who finds great spoils.
As for lies, I hate and abhor them, but your law do I love. Seven times a day do I praise you, because of your righteous judgements. Great peace have they who love your law; nothing shall make them stumble. Lord, I have looked for your salvation and I have fulfilled your commandments.
My soul has kept your testimonies and greatly have I loved them. I have kept your commandments and testimonies, for all my ways are before you. Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding, according to your word. Let my supplication come before you; deliver me, according to your promise.
My lips shall pour forth your praise, when you have taught me your statutes.
My tongue shall sing of your word, for all your commandments are righteous.
Let your hand reach out to help me, for I have chosen your commandments. I have longed for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. Let my soul live and it shall praise you, and let your judgements be my help. I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost; O seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.
2 Samuel 19.8b-23
Then the king got up and took his seat in the gate. The troops were all told, ‘See, the king is sitting in the gate’; and all the troops came before the king.
Meanwhile, all the Israelites had fled to their homes. All the people were disputing throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, ‘The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies, and saved us from the hand of the Philistines; and now he has fled out of the land because of Absalom. But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?’
King David sent this message to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, ‘Say to the elders of Judah, “Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house? The talk of all Israel has come to the king. You are my kin, you are my bone and my flesh; why then should you be the last to bring back the king?” And say to Amasa, “Are you not my bone and my flesh? So may God do to me, and more, if you are not the commander of my army from now on, in place of Joab.” ’ Amasa swayed the hearts of all the people of Judah as one, and they sent word to the king, ‘Return, both you and all your servants.’ So the king came back to the Jordan; and Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring him over the Jordan.
Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite, from Bahurim, hurried to come down with the people of Judah to meet King David; with him were a thousand people from Benjamin. And Ziba, the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, rushed down to the Jordan ahead of the king, while the crossing was taking place, to bring over the king’s household, and to do his pleasure.
Shimei son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan, and said to the king, ‘May my lord not hold me guilty or remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem; may the king not bear it in mind. For your servant knows that I have sinned; therefore, see, I have come this day, the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.’ Abishai son of Zeruiah answered, ‘Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed?’ But David said, ‘What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should today become an adversary to me? Shall anyone be put to death in Israel this day? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?’ The king said to Shimei, ‘You shall not die.’ And the king gave him his oath.
Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they spoke the word to no one except Jews. But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they associated with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians’.
At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea; this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
Most glorious and holy God,
whose servant Hildegard, strong in the faith,
was caught up in the vision of your heavenly courts: by the breath of your Spirit open our eyes to glimpse your glory
and our lips to sing your praises with all the angels;
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.