O Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You mark out my journeys and my resting place and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but you, O Lord, know it altogether. You encompass me behind and before and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go then from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I climb up to heaven, you are there; if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there your hand shall lead me, your right hand hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will cover me and the light around me turn to night,’
Even darkness is no darkness with you, the night is as clear as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike. For you yourself created my inmost parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are your works, my soul knows well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret and woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my form, as yet unfinished; already in your book were all my members written, As day by day they were fashioned when as yet there was none of them.
How deep are your counsels to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I count them, they are more in number than the sand, and at the end, I am still in your presence. O that you would slay the wicked, O God, that the bloodthirsty might depart from me!
They speak against you with wicked intent; your enemies take up your name for evil.
Do I not oppose those, O Lord, who oppose you?
Do I not abhor those who rise up against you?
I hate them with a perfect hatred; they have become my own enemies also.
Search me out, O God, and know my heart; try me and examine my thoughts. See if there is any way of wickedness in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
The oracle concerning the valley of vision.
What do you mean that you have gone up, all of you, to the housetops, you that are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town?
Your slain are not slain by the sword, nor are they dead in battle.
Your rulers have all fled together;Cthey were captured without the use of a bow.
All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away.
Therefore I said: Look away from me, let me weep bitter tears; do not try to comfort me for the destruction of my beloved people.
For the Lord God of hosts has a day of tumult and trampling and confusion in the valley of vision, a battering down of walls and a cry for help to the mountains.
Elam bore the quiver with chariots and cavalry, and Kir uncovered the shield.
Your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the cavalry took their stand at the gates.
He has taken away the covering of Judah.
On that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that there were many breaches in the city of David, and you collected the waters of the lower pool. You counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or have regard for him who planned it long ago.
On that day the Lord God of hosts called to weeping and mourning, to baldness and putting on sackcloth; but instead there was joy and festivity, killing oxen and slaughtering she eating meat and drinking wine. ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’
The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: Surely this iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die, says the Lord God of hosts.
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!
‘But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.”
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’
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.