Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary in Denmark and Sweden, 865
Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my lamentation. Hearken to the voice of my crying, my King and my God, for to you I make my prayer. In the morning, Lord, you will hear my voice; early in the morning I make my appeal to you, and look up. For you are the God who takes no pleasure in wickedness; no evil can dwell with you.
The boastful cannot stand in your sight; you hate all those that work wickedness. You destroy those who speak lies; the bloodthirsty and deceitful the Lord will abhor. But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy, I will come into your house; I will bow down towards your holy temple in awe of you.
Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness, because of my enemies; make your way straight before my face. For there is no truth in their mouth, in their heart is destruction, their throat is an open sepulchre, and they flatter with their tongue. Punish them, O God; let them fall through their own devices. Because of their many transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them sing out their joy for ever. You will shelter them, so that those who love your name may exult in you. For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous; and with your favour you will defend them as with a shield.
O Lord, rebuke me not in your wrath; neither chasten me in your fierce anger. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am weak; Lord, heal me, for my bones are racked. My soul also shakes with terror; how long, O Lord, how long?
Turn again, O Lord, and deliver my soul; save me for your loving mercy’s sake. For in death no one remembers you; and who can give you thanks in the grave?
I am weary with my groaning; every night I drench my pillow and flood my bed with my tears.
My eyes are wasted with grief and worn away because of all my enemies.
Depart from me, all you that do evil, for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. All my enemies shall be put to shame and confusion; they shall suddenly turn back in their shame.
O Lord our governor, how glorious is your name in all the world! Your majesty above the heavens is praised out of the mouths of babes at the breast. You have founded a stronghold against your foes, that you might still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have ordained, What is man, that you should be mindful of him; the son of man, that you should seek him out? You have made him little lower than the angels and crown him with glory and honour.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands and put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, even the wild beasts of the field, The birds of the air, the fish of the sea and whatsoever moves in the paths of the sea.
O Lord our governor, how glorious is your name in all the world!
Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased the more altars he built; as his country improved, he improved his pillars. Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars, and destroy their pillars.
For now they will say:
‘We have no king, for we do not fear the Lord, and a king—what could he do for us?’
They utter mere words; with empty oaths they make covenants; so litigation springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field. The inhabitants of Samaria tremble for the calf of Beth-aven. Its people shall mourn for it, and its idolatrous priests shall wail over it, over its glory that has departed from it. The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria as tribute to the great king. Ephraim shall be put to shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol.
Samaria’s king shall perish like a splinter on the face of the waters. The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. Thorn and thistle shall grow up on their altars. They shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall on us.
Since the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel; there they have continued. Shall not war overtake them in Gibeah? I will come against the wayward people to punish them; and nations shall be gathered against them when they are punished for their double iniquity.
Ephraim was a trained heifer that loved to thresh, and I spared her fair neck; but I will make Ephraim break the ground;
Judah must plough;
Jacob must harrow for himself.
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
You have ploughed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your power and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall rise against your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle when mothers were dashed in pieces with their children. Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
God of grace and might, who sent your servant Anskar to spread the gospel to the Nordic peoples, raise up, we pray, in our generation messengers of your good news and heralds of your kingdom that the world may come to know the immeasurable riches of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.