Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Morning Prayer - 9 December 2015

Ember Day

Psalm 62
On God alone my soul in stillness waits; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, so that I shall never be shaken. How long will all of you assail me to destroy me, as you would a tottering wall or a leaning fence?

They plot only to thrust me down from my place of honour; lies are their chief delight; they bless with their mouth, but in their heart they curse.  Wait on God alone in stillness, O my soul; for in him is my hope. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken.  In God is my strength and my glory; God is my strong rock; in him is my refuge. Put your trust in him always, my people; pour out your hearts before him, for God is our refuge. The peoples are but a breath, the whole human race a deceit; on the scales they are altogether lighter than air.

Put no trust in oppression; in robbery take no empty pride; though wealth increase, set not your heart upon it.  God spoke once, and twice have I heard the same, that power belongs to God. Steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord, for you repay everyone according to their deeds.

Psalm 63
O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul is athirst for you. My flesh also faints for you, as in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So would I gaze upon you in your holy place, that I might behold your power and your glory.

Your loving-kindness is better than life itself and so my lips shall praise you. I will bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your name.  My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night. For you have been my helper and under the shadow of your wings will I rejoice. My soul clings to you; your right hand shall hold me fast.  But those who seek my soul to destroy it shall go down to the depths of the earth; Let them fall by the edge of the sword and become a portion for jackals. But the king shall rejoice in God; all those who swear by him shall be glad, for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

Isaiah 31
Alas for those who go down to Egypt for help and who rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord! Yet he too is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words, but will rise against the house of the evildoers, and against the helpers of those who work iniquity. The Egyptians are human, and not God; their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and the one helped will fall, and they will all perish together.

For thus the Lord said to me, as a lion or a young lion growls over its prey, and—when a band of shepherds is called out against it - is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise, so the Lord of hosts will come down to fight upon Mount Zion and upon its hill. Like birds hovering overhead, so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem; he will protect and deliver it, he will spare and rescue it.

Turn back to him whom you have deeply betrayed, O people of Israel. For on that day all of you shall throw away your idols of silver and idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you. ‘Then the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of mortals; and a sword, not of humans, shall devour him; he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be put to forced labour. His rock shall pass away in terror, and his officers desert the standard in panic,’ says the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

Matthew 15.1-20
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.’ He answered them, ‘And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, “Honour your father and your mother,” and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” But you say that whoever tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God”, then that person need not honour the father. So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:
“This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me,  teaching human precepts as doctrines.” ’

Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, ‘Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.’

Then the disciples approached and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees took offence when they heard what you said?’ He answered, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’

 Then he said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.’

The Collect
O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power and come among us, and with great might succour us;
that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered in running the race that is set before us,
your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

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