Philip and James, Apostles
O Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You mark out my journeys and my resting place and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but you, O Lord, know it altogether. You encompass me behind and before and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go then from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I climb up to heaven, you are there; if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand shall lead me, your right hand hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will cover me and the light around me turn to night,’
Even darkness is no darkness with you; the night is as clear as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike.
For you yourself created my inmost parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are your works, my soul knows well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret and woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my form, as yet unfinished; already in your book were all my members written, As day by day they were fashioned when as yet there was none of them.
How deep are your counsels to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I count them, they are more in number than the sand, and at the end, I am still in your presence.
O that you would slay the wicked, O God, that the bloodthirsty might depart from me!
They speak against you with wicked intent; your enemies take up your name for evil.
Do I not oppose those, O Lord, who oppose you?
Do I not abhor those who rise up against you?
I hate them with a perfect hatred; they have become my own enemies also.
Search me out, O God, and know my heart; try me and examine my thoughts.
See if there is any way of wickedness in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
Praise the Lord, O my soul: while I live will I praise the Lord; as long as I have any being, I will sing praises to my God.
Put not your trust in princes, nor in any human power, for there is no help in them.
When their breath goes forth, they return to the earth; on that day all their thoughts perish.
Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help, whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them;
who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those that suffer wrong and bread to those who hunger.
The Lord looses those that are bound;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord watches over the stranger in the land; he upholds the orphan and widow; but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.
The Lord shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Hear, my child, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many.
I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
When you walk, your step will not be hampered; and if you run, you will not stumble.
Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.
Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evildoers.
Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.
For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.
Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Almighty Father, whom truly to know is eternal life: teach us to know your Son Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life; that we may follow the steps of your holy apostles Philip and James, and walk steadfastly in the way that leads to 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.