Happy the one whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered.
Happy the one to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
For I held my tongue; my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. Your hand was heavy upon me day and night; my moisture was dried up like the drought in summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful make their prayers to you in time of trouble; in the great water flood, it shall not reach them. You are a place for me to hide in; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with songs of deliverance.
‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go; I will guide you with my eye.
Be not like horse and mule which have no understanding; whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle, or else they will not stay near you.’
Great tribulations remain for the wicked, but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord. Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord; shout for joy, all who are true of heart.
Sin whispers to the wicked, in the depths of their heart; there is no fear of God before their eyes. They flatter themselves in their own eyes that their abominable sin will not be found out. The words of their mouth are unrighteous and full of deceit; they have ceased to act wisely and to do good. They think out mischief upon their beds and have set themselves in no good way; nor do they abhor that which is evil.
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness stands like the strong mountains,
your justice like the great deep; you, Lord, shall save both man and beast.
How precious is your loving mercy, O God! All mortal flesh shall take refuge under the shadow of your wings. They shall be satisfied with the abundance of your house; they shall drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the well of life and in your light shall we see light. O continue your loving-kindness to those who know you and your righteousness to those who are true of heart. Let not the foot of pride come against me, nor the hand of the ungodly thrust me away. There are they fallen, all who work wickedness. They are cast down and shall not be able to stand.
1 Samuel 15.1-23
Samuel said to Saul, ‘The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I will punish the Amalekites for what they did in opposing the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” ’
So Saul summoned the people, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot-soldiers, and ten thousand soldiers of Judah. Saul came to the city of the Amalekites and lay in wait in the valley. Saul said to the Kenites, ‘Go! Leave! Withdraw from among the Amalekites, or I will destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.’ So the Kenites withdrew from the Amalekites. Saul defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. He took King Agag of the Amalekites alive, but utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and of the cattle and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was valuable, and would not utterly destroy them; all that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed.
The word of the Lord came to Samuel: ‘I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me, and has not carried out my commands.’ Samuel was angry; and he cried out to the Lord all night. Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, and Samuel was told, ‘Saul went to Carmel, where he set up a monument for himself, and on returning he passed on down to Gilgal.’ When Samuel came to Saul, Saul said to him, ‘May you be blessed by the Lord; I have carried out the command of the Lord.’ But Samuel said, ‘What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of cattle that I hear?’ Saul said, ‘They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the cattle, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.’ Then Samuel said to Saul, ‘Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.’ He replied, ‘Speak.’
Samuel said, ‘Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, “Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.” Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?’ Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But from the spoil the people took sheep and cattle, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.’ And Samuel said,
‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obedience to the voice of the Lord?
Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is no less a sin than divination, and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.’
As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”; and to the hills, “Cover us.” For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’
Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [[ Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’]] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
God of truth, whose Wisdom set her table and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine of the kingdom: help us to lay aside all foolishness and to live and walk in the way of insight, that we may come with Gregory and Macrina to the eternal feast of heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen,