Ephrem of Syria, Deacon, Hymn Writer, Teacher of the Faith, 373
Blessed are those who consider the poor and needy; the Lord will deliver them in the time of trouble.
The Lord preserves them and restores their life, that they may be happy in the land; he will not hand them over to the will of their enemies.
The Lord sustains them on their sickbed; their sickness, Lord, you will remove.
And so I said, ‘Lord, be merciful to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.’ My enemies speak evil about me, asking when I shall die and my name perish. If they come to see me, they utter empty words; their heart gathers mischief; when they go out, they tell it abroad.
All my enemies whisper together against me, against me they devise evil, Saying that a deadly thing has laid hold on me, and that I will not rise again from where I lie. Even my bosom friend, whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
But you, O Lord, be merciful to me and raise me up, that I may reward them. By this I know that you favour me, that my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and will set me before your face for ever.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.
As the deer longs for the water brooks, so longs my soul for you, O God.
My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God; when shall I come before the presence of God?
My tears have been my bread day and night, while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’
Now when I think on these things, I pour out my soul: how I went with the multitude and led the procession to the house of God, With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, among those who kept holy day.
Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, and why are you so disquieted within me? O put your trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.
My soul is heavy within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan, and from Hermon and the hill of Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the thunder of your waterfalls; all your breakers and waves have gone over me.
The Lord will grant his loving-kindness in the daytime; through the night his song will be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me, and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?’ As they crush my bones, my enemies mock me; while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is now your God?’
Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? and why are you so disquieted within me? O put your trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.
Give judgement for me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked. For you are the God of my refuge; why have you cast me from you, and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?
O send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling, That I may go to the altar of God, to the God of my joy and gladness; and on the lyre I will give thanks to you, O God my God.
Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, and why are you so disquieted within me?O put your trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.
After these things Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being one hundred and ten years old. They buried him in his own inheritance at Timnath-serah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel.
The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem, in the portion of ground that Jacob had bought from the children of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for one hundred pieces of money; it became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph.
Eleazar son of Aaron died; and they buried him at Gibeah, the town of his son Phinehas, which had been given him in the hill country of Ephraim.
‘I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptised, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on, five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided:
father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother,mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’
He also said to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, “It is going to rain”; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, “There will be scorching heat”; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
‘And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.’
Almighty God, who filled the heart of Columba with the joy of the Holy Spirit and with deep love for those in his care: may your pilgrim people follow him, strong in faith, sustained by hope, and one in the love that binds us to you; 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.