English Saints and Martyrs of the Reformation Era
Lord, remember for David all the hardships he endured; how he swore an oath to the Lord and vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
‘I will not come within the shelter of my house, nor climb up into my bed;
I will not allow my eyes to sleep, nor let my eyelids slumber,
Until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.’
Now, we heard of the ark in Ephrathah and found it in the fields of Ja-ar. Let us enter his dwelling place and fall low before his footstool.
Arise, O Lord, into your resting place, you and the ark of your strength. Let your priests be clothed with ighteousness and your faithful ones sing with joy. For your servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of your anointed.
The Lord has sworn an oath to David, a promise from which he will not shrink:
‘Of the fruit of your body shall I set upon your throne.
If your children keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their children also shall sit upon your throne for evermore.’
For the Lord has chosen Zion for himself; he has desired her for his habitation:
‘This shall be my resting place for ever; here will I dwell, for I have longed for her.
I will abundantly bless her provision; her poor will I satisfy with bread.
I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful ones shall rejoice and sing.
There will I make a horn to spring up for David; I will keep a lantern burning for my anointed.
As for his enemies, I will clothe them with shame; but on him shall his crown be bright.’
Behold how good and pleasant it is to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, even on Aaron’s beard, running down upon the collar of his clothing. It is like the dew of Hermon running down upon the hills of Zion. For there the Lord has promised his blessing: even life for evermore.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Israelites, and get twelve staffs from them, one for each ancestral house, from all the leaders of their ancestral houses. Write each man’s name on his staff, and write Aaron’s name on the staff of Levi. For there shall be one staff for the head of each ancestral house. Place them in the tent of meeting before the covenant, where I meet with you. And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout; thus I will put a stop to the complaints of the Israelites that they continually make against you. Moses spoke to the Israelites; and all their leaders gave him staffs, one for each leader, according to their ancestral houses, twelve staffs; and the staff of Aaron was among theirs. So Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant.
When Moses went into the tent of the covenant on the next day, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted. It put forth buds, produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds. Then Moses brought out all the staffs from before the Lord to all the Israelites; and they looked, and each man took his staff. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Put back the staff of Aaron before the covenant, to be kept as a warning to rebels, so that you may make an end of their complaints against me, or else they will die.’ Moses did so; just as the Lord commanded him, so he did.
After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.’ And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, ‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
Merciful God, who, when your Church on earth was torn apart by the ravages of sin, raised up men and women in this land who witnessed to their faith with courage and constancy: give to your Church that peace which is your will, and grant that those who have been divided on earth may be reconciled in heaven and share together in the vision of your glory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.