Praise the name of the Lord; give praise, you servants of the Lord, You that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; make music to his name, for it is lovely.For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself and Israel for his own possession. For I know that the Lord is great and that our Lord is above all gods. The Lord does whatever he pleases in heaven and on earth, in the seas and in all the deeps.
He brings up the clouds from the ends of the earth; he makes lightning with the rain and brings the winds out of his treasuries.
He smote the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of man and beast.
He sent signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh and all his servants.
He smote many nations and slew mighty kings: Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, the king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan.
He gave their land as a heritage, a heritage for Israel his people.
Your name, O Lord, endures for ever and shall be remembered through all generations. For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak; eyes have they, but cannot see; They have ears, but cannot hear; neither is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them shall become like them, and so will all who put their trust in them.
Bless the Lord, O house of Israel; O house of Aaron, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O house of Levi; you who fear the Lord, bless the Lord.
Blessed be the Lord from Zion, who dwells in Jerusalem.
The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go, leave this place, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, and go to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, “To your descendants I will give it.” I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, or I would consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.’
When the people heard these harsh words, they mourned, and no one put on ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, “You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, and I will decide what to do to you.” ’ Therefore the Israelites stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onwards.
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand, each of them, at the entrance of their tents and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and bow down, all of them, at the entrance of their tents. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then he would return to the camp; but his young assistant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the tent.
Moses said to the Lord, ‘See, you have said to me, “Bring up this people”; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favour in my sight.” Now if I have found favour in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favour in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.’ He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favour in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.’
The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favour in my sight, and I know you by name.’ Moses said, ‘Show me your glory, I pray.’ And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, “The Lord”; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But’, he said, ‘you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.’ And the Lord continued, ‘See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.’
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptise you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’
So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison.
Now when all the people were baptised, and when Jesus also had been baptised and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
Risen Christ, faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep: teach us to hear your voice and to follow your command, that all your people may be gathered into one flock, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.