servant

Saturday: Preparation for the Second Sunday in Advent

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Hebrew Scripture from the Twelve Prophets: Malachi 4:1-6

Malachi4-5.jpg

See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.

Remember the teaching of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.

Canticle from the New Testament: Luke 1:68-79

[Then John the Baptist's father was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:]

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
 for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
 in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
 that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
 and has remembered his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
 to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
 before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
 for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
 by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
 the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
 to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 9:1-6

There are parallel passages at Matthew 10:1, 5-15 and Mark 6:7-13.

Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

Year C Advent 2 Saturday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Parallel passages are as indicated in the Modern English Version (MEV) , copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: Elijah Taken Up in a Chariot of Fire by Giuseppe Angel. via the National Gallery of Art. This is a public domain image.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the First Sunday in Advent

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Former Prophets: 2 Samuel 7:18-29

There is a parallel passage at 1 Chronicles 17:16-27.

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God; you have spoken also of your servant's house for a great while to come. May this be instruction for the people, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this greatness, so that your servant may know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. Who is like your people, like Israel? Is there another nation on earth whose God went to redeem it as a people, and to make a name for himself, doing great and awesome things for them, by driving out before his people nations and their gods? And you established your people Israel for yourself to be your people forever; and you, O Lord, became their God. And now, O Lord God, as for the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, confirm it forever; do as you have promised. Thus your name will be magnified forever in the saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’; therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant; now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you; for you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

Psalm 90

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
 in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
 or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
 from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust,
 and say “Turn back, you mortals.”
For a thousand years in your sight
 are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.
¹

You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
 like grass that is renewed in the morning;
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
 in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are consumed by your anger;
 by your wrath we are overwhelmed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
 our secret sins in the light of your countenance.

For all our days pass away under your wrath;
 our years come to an end like a sigh.
The days of our life are seventy years,
 or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;
even then their span is only toil and trouble;
 they are soon gone, and we fly away.

Who considers the power of your anger?
 Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
So teach us to count our days
 that we may gain a wise heart.

Turn, O Lord! How long?
 Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
 so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us,
 and as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
 and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
 and prosper for us the work of our hands—
 O prosper the work of our hands!

¹Peter uses this verse in his argument against false teachers in 2 Peter 3:1-13. It is the Monday Epistle Lesson.

New Testament Lesson: Revelation 22:12-16

Bright-morning-star.jpg

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone's work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

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Year C Advent 1 Tuesday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Parallel passages are as indicated in the Modern English Version (MEV) , copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: Bright Morning Star downloaded from https://hdwallpapers.cat/wallpaper/beautiful_venus_and_moon_stars_nature_sky_hd-wallpaper-1591417.jpg

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Wednesday: Reflection on the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has information about apocalypses and summaries and links for the week ahead.

More information about the complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Twelve Prophets: Zechariah 12:1-13:1

An Oracle.

The word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus says the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the human spirit within: See, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of reeling for all the surrounding peoples; it will be against Judah also in the siege against Jerusalem. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it shall grievously hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth shall come together against it. On that day, says the Lord, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But on the house of Judah I will keep a watchful eye, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, “The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God.”

On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot on a pile of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem.

And the Lord will give victory to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be exalted over that of Judah. On that day the Lord will shield the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, at their head. And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

And I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that, when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.¹ On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land shall mourn, each family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves.²

On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.

¹This prophecy is fulfilled at Jesus' death (John 19:28-37). ²Jesus refers to these verses when he foretells the coming of the Son of Man in the end times (Matthew 24:29-31). This passage is also quoted in the Prologue to Revelation (Revelation 1:4-8).

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Former Prophets: 1 Kings 8:22-30

There is a parallel passage at 2 Chronicles 6:12-40.

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. He said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand. Therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, ‘There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! Regard your servant's prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive.”

Complementary Psalm 13

How long, O Lord?
Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
 and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me,
 O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes,
 or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say,
 “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I trusted in your steadfast love;
 my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
 because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Semi-continuous Psalm 3

O Lord, how many are my foes!
 Many are rising against me;
many are saying to me,
 “There is no help for you in God.”
Selah

But you, O Lord,
 are a shield around me, my glory,
and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord,
 and he answers me from his holy hill.
Selah

I lie down and sleep;
 I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
I am not afraid of ten thousands of people
 who have set themselves against me all around.

Rise up, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
 you break the teeth of the wicked.

Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
 may your blessing be on your people!
Selah

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Mark 13:9-23

There are parallel passages at Matthew 24:15-28 and Luke 21:20-24.

Lots family flee while Sodom burns

“As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them. And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations. When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

“But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; the one on the housetop must not go down or enter the house to take anything away; the one in the field must not turn back to get a coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that it may not be in winter. For in those days there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut short those days. And if anyone says to you at that time, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘Look! There he is!’—do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be alert; I have already told you everything.”

Year B Ordinary 33 Wednesday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Parallel passages are as indicated in Modern English Version (MEV), copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit: Lots family flee while Sodom burns by an unidentified engraver via Wikimedia Commons. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has information about apocalypses and summaries and links for the week ahead.

More information about the complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Daniel 12:1-3

[A heavenly messenger is speaking to Daniel.]

“At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence.¹ But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Jesus refers to this verse when he speaks of the end times at Matthew 24:15-28 and Mark 13:14-23.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Former Prophets: 1 Samuel 1:4-20

On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.”

As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.

They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord.”

Complementary Psalm 16

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
 I have no good apart from you.”

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
 in whom is all my delight.

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
 their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
 or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
 you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
 I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
 in the night also my heart instructs me.

I keep the Lord always before me;
 because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
 my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
 or let your faithful one see the Pit.

You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
 in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.¹

¹Peter uses these verses in his address on the Day of Pentecost, in Acts 2:25-38. Beginning with “For you do not” Paul uses these verses when he preaches at Pisidian Antioch in Acts 13:13-43.

Semi-continuous Canticle: 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the Lord;
 my strength is exalted in my God.
¹
My mouth derides my enemies,
 because I rejoice in my victory.

“There is no Holy One like the Lord,
 no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
 let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
 and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
 but the feeble gird on strength.

Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
 but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
 but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
 he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
 he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
 to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's,
 and on them he has set the world.

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
 but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
 the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
 he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.”

¹Mary uses the same idea in her song of praise, which we call The Magnificat, recorded at Luke 1:46-55.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:11-25

And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,”¹ and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them
 after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
 and I will write them on their minds,”²

he also adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”³

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

¹This is an allusion to Psalm 110:1.   ²Jeremiah 31:33    ³Jeremiah 31:34

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Mark 13:1-8

¹There are parallel passages at Matthew 24:1-14 and Luke 21:5-19.

As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”

Southern steps of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem.

When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.”

Year B Ordinary 33 Sunday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Parallel passages are as indicated in Modern English Version (MEV), copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The The Holy Bible: New International Version ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Additional citations of Hebrew Scripture used in Christian Scripture are from the NET Bible. Scriptures designated (NET) are from the Net Bible-New English Translation ® copyright © 2005 by Biblical Studies Press, LLC (www.bible.org) used by permission. All rights reserved.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit: Southern steps of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem image by Mark A. Wilson, from Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image. Remnants of the 1st century Stairs of Ascent, discovered by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, to the entrance of the Temple Courtyard. Pilgrims coming to make sacrifices at the Herodian Temple would have entered and exited by this stairway.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of the New International Version, summaries of the week's readings, a wish that the church could settle the meaning of justification, widows, and faith that moves mountains.

More information about the two complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ruth 3:14-4:6

So Ruth lay at his feet until morning, but got up before one person could recognize another; for he said, “It must not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” Then he said, “Bring the cloak you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley, and put it on her back; then he went into the city. She came to her mother-in-law, who said, “How did things go with you, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, “He gave me these six measures of barley, for he said, ‘Do not go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.”

No sooner had Boaz gone up to the gate and sat down there than the next-of-kin, of whom Boaz had spoken, came passing by. So Boaz said, “Come over, friend; sit down here.” And he went over and sat down. Then Boaz took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here”; so they sat down. He then said to the next-of-kin, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our kinsman Elimelech. So I thought I would tell you of it, and say: Buy it in the presence of those sitting here, and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not, tell me, so that I may know; for there is no one prior to you to redeem it, and I come after you.” So he said, “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “The day you acquire the field from the hand of Naomi, you are also acquiring Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead man, to maintain the dead man's name on his inheritance.” At this, the next-of-kin said, “I cannot redeem it for myself without damaging my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Genesis 24:11-27

Abraham's servant made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water; it was toward evening, the time when women go out to draw water. And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. I am standing here by the spring of water, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. Let the girl to whom I shall say, ‘Please offer your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”

Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, coming out with her water jar on her shoulder. The girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin, whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me sip a little water from your jar.” “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.

When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose-ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, and said, “Tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night?” She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” She added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder and a place to spend the night.” The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the way to the house of my master's kin.”

Complementary Psalm 94

O Lord, you God of vengeance,
 you God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
 give to the proud what they deserve!
O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
 how long shall the wicked exult?

They pour out their arrogant words;
 all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord,
 and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the stranger,
 they murder the orphan,
and they say, “The Lord does not see;
 the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

Understand, O dullest of the people;
 fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
He who disciplines the nations,
he who teaches knowledge to humankind,
 does he not chastise?
The Lord knows our thoughts,
 that they are but an empty breath.

Happy are those whom you discipline, O Lord,
 and whom you teach out of your law,
giving them respite from days of trouble,
 until a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not forsake his people;
 he will not abandon his heritage;
for justice will return to the righteous,
 and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Who rises up for me against the wicked?
 Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my help,
 my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot is slipping,”
 your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
 your consolations cheer my soul.
Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
 those who contrive mischief by statute?
They band together against the life of the righteous,
 and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my stronghold,
 and my God the rock of my refuge.
He will repay them for their iniquity
 and wipe them out for their wickedness;
 the Lord our God will wipe them out.

Semi-continuous Psalm 113

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
 praise the name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
 from this time on and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
 the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations,
 and his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God,
 who is seated on high,
who looks far down
 on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
 and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
 with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
 making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Timothy 5:9-16

widow.jpg

Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old and has been married only once; she must be well attested for her good works, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints' feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. But refuse to put younger widows on the list; for when their sensual desires alienate them from Christ, they want to marry, and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge. Besides that, they learn to be idle, gadding about from house to house; and they are not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, and manage their households, so as to give the adversary no occasion to revile us. For some have already turned away to follow Satan. If any believing woman has relatives who are really widows, let her assist them; let the church not be burdened, so that it can assist those who are real widows.

Year B Ordinary 32 Tuesday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Widow Streety and family. West Point, Miss. by Lewis Wickes Hine, 1874-1940, photographer, via picryl.com. This is a public domain image.

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Monday: Reflection on the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of the New International Version, summaries of the week's readings, a wish that the church could settle the meaning of justification, widows, and faith that moves mountains.

More information about the two complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ruth 1:1-22

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had considered his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother's house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.” Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said,

“Do not press me to leave you
 or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
 Where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
 and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
 there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
 and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”

When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them; and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them,

“Call me no longer Naomi,
 call me Mara,
 for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.
I went away full,
 but the Lord has brought me back empty;
why call me Naomi
 when the Lord has dealt harshly with me,
 and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”

So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Genesis 24:1-10

Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but will go to my country and to my kindred and get a wife for my son Isaac.” The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land; must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.¹ But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.

Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, taking all kinds of choice gifts from his master; and he set out and went to Aram-naharaim, to the city of Nahor.

Stephen refers to this passage in his defense before the Sanhedrin, in Acts 7:1-8. Paul uses it in his discussion of the promises to Abraham in Galatians 3:15-18.

Complementary Psalm 94

O Lord, you God of vengeance,
 you God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
 give to the proud what they deserve!
O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
 how long shall the wicked exult?

They pour out their arrogant words;
 all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord,
 and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the stranger,
 they murder the orphan,
and they say, “The Lord does not see;
 the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

Understand, O dullest of the people;
 fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
He who disciplines the nations,
he who teaches knowledge to humankind,
 does he not chastise?
The Lord knows our thoughts,
 that they are but an empty breath.

Happy are those whom you discipline, O Lord,
 and whom you teach out of your law,
giving them respite from days of trouble,
 until a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not forsake his people;
 he will not abandon his heritage;
for justice will return to the righteous,
 and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Who rises up for me against the wicked?
 Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my help,
 my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot is slipping,”
 your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
 your consolations cheer my soul.
Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
 those who contrive mischief by statute?
They band together against the life of the righteous,
 and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my stronghold,
 and my God the rock of my refuge.
He will repay them for their iniquity
 and wipe them out for their wickedness;
 the Lord our God will wipe them out.

Semi-continuous Psalm 113

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
 praise the name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
 from this time on and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
 the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations,
 and his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God,
 who is seated on high,
who looks far down
 on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
 and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
 with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
 making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Timothy 5:1-8

Timothy, Stained glass detail from St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral

Do not speak harshly to an older man, but speak to him as to a father, to younger men as brothers, to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters—with absolute purity.

Honor widows who are really widows. If a widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some repayment to their parents; for this is pleasing in God's sight. The real widow, left alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day; but the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give these commands as well, so that they may be above reproach. And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Year B Ordinary 32 Monday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: Timothy, Stained glass detail from St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, image by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P., via flickr. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution, No Derivatives, No Commercial Use license.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of The Amplified Bible, a chance to think about our own blindness, and summaries and links for the lessons through Wednesday.

More information about the complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 29:24-32

To Shemaiah of Nehelam you shall say: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: In your own name you sent a letter to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and to all the priests, saying, The Lord himself has made you priest instead of the priest Jehoiada, so that there may be officers in the house of the Lord to control any madman who plays the prophet, to put him in the stocks and the collar. So now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who plays the prophet for you? For he has actually sent to us in Babylon, saying, “It will be a long time; build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat what they produce.”

The priest Zephaniah read this letter in the hearing of the prophet Jeremiah. Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: Send to all the exiles, saying, Thus says the Lord concerning Shemaiah of Nehelam: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, though I did not send him, and has led you to trust in a lie, therefore thus says the Lord: I am going to punish Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants; he shall not have anyone living among this people to see the good that I am going to do to my people, says the Lord, for he has spoken rebellion against the Lord.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture: Job 42:7-9

After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has done.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.

Complementary Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
 we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
 and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
 “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
 and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
 like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
 reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
 bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
 carrying their sheaves.

Semi-continuous Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22

I will bless the Lord at all times;
 his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
 let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
 and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
 and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
 so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
 and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
 around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;¹
 happy are those who take refuge in him.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
 but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
 not one of them will be broken.²
Evil brings death to the wicked,
 and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
 none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

¹Peter uses this phrase in his instructions to believers in 1 Peter 2:1-10, which is our Monday Epistle Lesson.
²In
John 19:31-37 (part of the recounting of the crucifixion), this scripture is fulfilled. Ordinarily, when the soldiers grew weary of watching their crucified victims, they would break their femurs, which hastened death. Jesus died before this was done.

New Testament Lesson: Mark 8:22-26

Christ Healing the Blind Man

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.”

Year B Ordinary 30 Saturday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit: Christ Healing the Blind Man by Eustache Le Sueur, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Friday: Preparation for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of The Amplified Bible, a chance to think about our own blindness, and summaries and links for the lessons through Wednesday.

More information about the complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 26:12-24

Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and all the people, saying, “It is the Lord who sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard. Now therefore amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will change his mind about the disaster that he has pronounced against you. But as for me, here I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will be bringing innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”

Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.” And some of the elders of the land arose and said to all the assembled people, “Micah of Moresheth, who prophesied during the days of King Hezekiah of Judah, said to all the people of Judah: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts,

Zion shall be plowed as a field;
 Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,
and the mountain of the house a wooded height.¹’

Did King Hezekiah of Judah and all Judah actually put him to death? Did he not fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, and did not the Lord change his mind about the disaster that he had pronounced against them? But we are about to bring great disaster on ourselves!”

There was another man prophesying in the name of the Lord, Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim. He prophesied against this city and against this land in words exactly like those of Jeremiah. And when King Jehoiakim, with all his warriors and all the officials, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death; but when Uriah heard of it, he was afraid and fled and escaped to Egypt. Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Achbor and men with him to Egypt, and they took Uriah from Egypt and brought him to King Jehoiakim, who struck him down with the sword and threw his dead body into the burial place of the common people.

But the hand of Ahikam son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah so that he was not given over into the hands of the people to be put to death.

¹Micah 3:12

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture: Nehemiah 1:1-11

The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. In the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capital, one of my brothers, Hanani, came with certain men from Judah; and I asked them about the Jews that survived, those who had escaped the captivity, and about Jerusalem. They replied, “The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.”

When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments; let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned. We have offended you deeply, failing to keep the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place at which I have chosen to establish my name.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great power and your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man!”

At the time, I was cupbearer to the king.

Complementary Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
 we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
 and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
 “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
 and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
 like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
 reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
 bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
 carrying their sheaves.

Semi-continuous Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22

I will bless the Lord at all times;
 his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
 let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
 and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
 and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
 so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
 and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
 around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;¹
 happy are those who take refuge in him.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
 but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
 not one of them will be broken.²
Evil brings death to the wicked,
 and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
 none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

¹Peter uses this phrase in his instructions to believers in 1 Peter 2:1-10, which is our Monday Epistle Lesson.
²In
John 19:31-37 (part of the recounting of the crucifixion), this scripture is fulfilled. Ordinarily, when the soldiers grew weary of watching their crucified victims, they would break their femurs, which hastened death. Jesus died before this was done.

New Testament Lesson: Hebrews 7:11-22

Christ the Eternal High Priest

Now if perfection had been attainable through the levitical priesthood—for the people received the law under this priesthood—what further need would there have been to speak of another priest arising according to the order of Melchizedek, rather than one according to the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. Now the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

It is even more obvious when another priest arises, resembling Melchizedek, one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of him,

“You are a priest forever,
 according to the order of Melchizedek.”¹

There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual (for the law made nothing perfect); there is, on the other hand, the introduction of a better hope, through which we approach God.

This was confirmed with an oath; for others who became priests took their office without an oath, but this one became a priest with an oath, because of the one who said to him,

“The Lord has sworn
 and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever’”—¹

accordingly Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant.

Both of these quotations are from Psalm 110:4. Here is the complete Psalm 110.

Year B Ordinary 30 Friday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The The Holy Bible: New International Version ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The The Holy Bible: New International Version ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

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Image credit: Christ the Eternal High Priest, image by Fr. Lawrence, OP of a stained-glass window from St Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, CA, via flickr.com. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution, No Derivatives, No Commercial Use license.

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