Denys, Bishop of Paris, and his Companions, Martyrs, c.250
Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, Philosopher, Scientist, 1253
O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before you. Let my prayer come into your presence; incline your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of troubles; my life draws near to the land of death. I am counted as one gone down to the Pit; I am like one that has no strength, lost among the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, Whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.
You have laid me in the lowest pit, in a place of darkness in the abyss.
Your anger lies heavy upon me, and you have afflicted me with all your waves.
You have put my friends far from me and made me to be abhorred by them. I am so fast in prison that I cannot get free; my eyes fail from all my trouble.
Lord, I have called daily upon you; I have stretched out my hands to you. Do you work wonders for the dead?
Will the shades stand up and praise you?
Shall your loving-kindness be declared in the grave, your faithfulness in the land of destruction?
Shall your wonders be known in the dark or your righteous deeds in the land where all is forgotten?
But as for me, O Lord, I will cry to you; early in the morning my prayer shall come before you. Lord, why have you rejected my soul?
Why have you hidden your face from me?
I have been wretched and at the point of death from my youth; I suffer your terrors and am no more seen. Your wrath sweeps over me; your horrors are come to destroy me; All day long they come about me like water; they close me in on every side. Lover and friend have you put far from me and hid my companions out of my sight.
O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us heartily rejoice in the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving and be glad in him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God and a great king above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth and the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands have moulded the dry land.
Come, let us worship and bow down and kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is our God; we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would listen to his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, on that day at Massah in the wilderness, when your forebears tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my works. Forty years long I detested that generation and said, “This people are wayward in their hearts; they do not know my ways.” So I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter into my rest.” ’
But the children rebelled against me; they did not follow my statutes, and were not careful to observe my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live; they profaned my sabbaths.
Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the wilderness. But I withheld my hand, and acted for the sake of my name, so that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, because they had not executed my ordinances, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their ancestors’ idols. Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not live. I defiled them through their very gifts, in their offering up all their firstborn, in order that I might horrify them, so that they might know that I am the Lord.
Therefore, mortal, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: In this again your ancestors blasphemed me, by dealing treacherously with me. For when I had brought them into the land that I swore to give them, then wherever they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices and presented the provocation of their offering; there they sent up their pleasing odours, and there they poured out their drink-offerings. (I said to them, What is the high place to which you go? So it is called Bamah to this day.) Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your ancestors and go astray after their detestable things? When you offer your gifts and make your children pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be consulted by you, O house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord God, I will not be consulted by you.
What is in your mind shall never happen - the thought, ‘Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone.’
As I live, says the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, I will be king over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out; and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgement with you face to face. As I entered into judgement with your ancestors in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgement with you, says the Lord God. I will make you pass under the staff, and will bring you within the bond of the covenant. I will purge out the rebels among you, and those who transgress against me; I will bring them out of the land where they reside as aliens, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
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.