O God, make speed to save me; O Lord, make haste to help me.
Let those who seek my life be put to shame and confusion; let them be turned back and disgraced who wish me evil. Let those who mock and deride me turn back because of their shame. But let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; let those who love your salvation say always, ‘Great is the Lord!’
As for me, I am poor and needy; come to me quickly, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.
O God, why have you utterly disowned us? Why does your anger burn against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation that you purchased of old, the tribe you redeemed for your own possession, and Mount Zion where you dwelt. Hasten your steps towards the endless ruins, where the enemy has laid waste all your sanctuary.
Your adversaries roared in the place of your worship; they set up their banners as tokens of victory. Like men brandishing axes on high in a thicket of trees, all her carved work they smashed down with hatchet and hammer. They set fire to your holy place; they defiled the dwelling place of your name and razed it to the ground. They said in their heart, ‘Let us make havoc of them altogether,’ and they burned down all the sanctuaries of God in the land. There are no signs to see, not one prophet left, not one among us who knows how long.
How long, O God, will the adversary scoff? Shall the enemy blaspheme your name for ever?
Why have you withheld your hand and hidden your right hand in your bosom?
Yet God is my king from of old, who did deeds of salvation in the midst of the earth. It was you that divided the sea by your might and shattered the heads of the dragons on the waters; You alone crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him to the beasts of the desert for food. You cleft the rock for fountain and flood; you dried up ever-flowing rivers.
Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the moon and the sun. You set all the bounds of the earth; you fashioned both summer and winter. Remember now, Lord, how the enemy scoffed, how a foolish people despised your name. Do not give to wild beasts the soul of your turtle dove; forget not the lives of your poor for ever. Look upon your creation, for the earth is full of darkness, full of the haunts of violence.
Let not the oppressed turn away ashamed, but let the poor and needy praise your name. Arise, O God, maintain your own cause; remember how fools revile you all the day long. Forget not the clamour of your adversaries, the tumult of your enemies that ascends continually.
Isaiah 38. 9-20
A writing of King Hezekiah of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:
I said: In the noontide of my days I must depart; I am consigned to the gates of Sheol for the rest of my years. I said, I shall not see the Lord in the land of the living; I shall look upon mortals no more among the inhabitants of the world. My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me like a shepherd’s tent; like a weaver I have rolled up my life; he cuts me off from the loom; from day to night you bring me to an end; I cry for help until morning; like a lion he breaks all my bones; from day to night you bring me to an end.
Like a swallow or a crane I clamour, I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary with looking upwards. O Lord, I am oppressed; be my security! But what can I say? For he has spoken to me, and he himself has done it. All my sleep has fled because of the bitterness of my soul.
O Lord, by these things people live, and in all these is the life of my spirit. O restore me to health and make me live! Surely it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but you have held back my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back. For Sheol cannot thank you, death cannot praise you; those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living, they thank you, as I do this day; fathers make known to children your faithfulness.
The Lord will save me, and we will sing to stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the Lord.
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, ‘Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’ And the disciples asked him, ‘Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’ He replied, ‘Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.
O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger to prepare your way before you:
grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysterie may likewise so prepare and make ready your way by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.