Catherine of Alexandria, Martyr, 4th century
Isaac Watts, Hymn Writer, 1748
Refrain: The Lord is king and has put on glorious apparel.
The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’
May the Lord stretch forth the sceptre of your power; rule from Zion in the midst of your enemies.
‘Noble are you on this day of your birth; on the holy mountain, from the womb of the dawn the dew of your new birth is upon you.’
The Lord has sworn and will not retract:
‘You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.’
The king at your right hand, O Lord, shall smite down kings in the day of his wrath. In all his majesty, he shall judge among the nations, smiting heads over all the wide earth. He shall drink from the brook beside the way; therefore shall he lift high his head.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the faithful and in the congregation.
The works of the Lord are great, sought out by all who delight in them. His work is full of majesty and honour and his righteousness endures for ever.
He appointed a memorial for his marvellous deeds; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
He gave food to those who feared him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He showed his people the power of his works in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are truth and justice; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever; they are done in truth and equity.
He sent redemption to his people; he commanded his covenant for ever; holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have those who live by it; his praise endures for ever.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord and have great delight in his commandments. Their descendants will be mighty in the land, a generation of the faithful that will be blest. Wealth and riches will be in their house, and their righteousness endures for ever.
Light shines in the darkness for the upright; gracious and full of compassion are the righteous. It goes well with those who are generous in lending and order their affairs with justice, for they will never be shaken; the righteous will be held in everlasting remembrance. They will not be afraid of any evil tidings; their heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their heart is sustained and will not fear, until they see the downfall of their foes. They have given freely to the poor; their righteousness stands fast for ever; their head will be exalted with honour. The wicked shall see it and be angry; they shall gnash their teeth in despair; the desire of the wicked shall perish.
An oracle concerning Egypt.
See, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, one against the other, neighbour against neighbour, city against city, kingdom against kingdom; the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, and I will confound their plans; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead and the ghosts and the familiar spirits; I will deliver the Egyptians into the hand of a hard master; a fierce king will rule over them, says the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts.
The waters of the Nile will be dried up, and the river will be parched and dry; its canals will become foul, and the branches of Egypt’s Nile will diminish and dry up; reeds and rushes will rot away. There will be bare places by the Nile, on the brink of the Nile; and all that is sown by the Nile will dry up, be driven away, and be no more. Those who fish will mourn; all who cast hooks in the Nile will lament, and those who spread nets on the water will languish. The workers in flax will be in despair, and the carders and those at the loom will grow pale. Its weavers will be dismayed, and all who work for wages will be grieved.
The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish; the wise counsellors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh, ‘I am one of the sages, a descendant of ancient kings’?
Where now are your sages?
Let them tell you and make known what the Lord of hosts has planned against Egypt. The princes of Zoan have become fools, and the princes of Memphis are deluded; those who are the cornerstones of its tribes have led Egypt astray. The Lord has poured into them a spirit of confusion; and they have made Egypt stagger in all its doings as a drunkard staggers around in vomit. Neither head nor tail, palm branch nor reed, will be able to do anything for Egypt.
On that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the Lord of hosts raises against them. And the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom it is mentioned will fear because of the plan that the Lord of hosts is planning against them.
On that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord of hosts. One of these will be called the City of the Sun.
On that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the centre of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; when they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a saviour, and will defend and deliver them. The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians; and the Egyptians will know the Lord on that day, and will worship with sacrifice and burnt-offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them. The Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing; they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their supplications and heal them.
On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage.’
‘See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
Eternal Father, whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord and King: keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.