Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Conclude with

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm 38

A Penitent Sufferer’s Plea for Healing

A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
 or discipline me in your wrath.
For your arrows have sunk into me,
 and your hand has come down on me.

There is no soundness in my flesh
 because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
 because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
 they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.

My wounds grow foul and fester
 because of my foolishness;
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
 all day long I go around mourning.
For my loins are filled with burning,
 and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am utterly spent and crushed;
 I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

O Lord, all my longing is known to you;
 my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
 as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction,
 and my neighbours stand far off.

Those who seek my life lay their snares;
 those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin,
 and meditate treachery all day long.

But I am like the deaf, I do not hear;
 like the mute, who cannot speak.
Truly, I am like one who does not hear,
 and in whose mouth is no retort.

But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait;
 it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
For I pray, ‘Only do not let them rejoice over me,
 those who boast against me when my foot slips.’

For I am ready to fall,
 and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity;
 I am sorry for my sin.
Those who are my foes without cause are mighty,
 and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
Those who render me evil for good
 are my adversaries because I follow after good.

Do not forsake me, O Lord;
 O my God, do not be far from me;
make haste to help me,
 O Lord, my salvation.

Amos 8:1–14

The Basket of Fruit

This is what the Lord God showed me—a basket of summer fruit. He said, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ Then the Lord said to me,

‘The end has come upon my people Israel;
 I will never again pass them by.
The songs of the temple shall become wailings on that day,’
  says the Lord God;
‘the dead bodies shall be many,
 cast out in every place. Be silent!’

Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
 and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
saying, ‘When will the new moon be over
 so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath,
 so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
 and practise deceit with false balances,
buying the poor for silver
 and the needy for a pair of sandals,
 and selling the sweepings of the wheat.’

The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Shall not the land tremble on this account,
 and everyone mourn who lives in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
 and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?

On that day, says the Lord God,
 I will make the sun go down at noon,
 and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning,
 and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on all loins,
 and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son,
 and the end of it like a bitter day.

The time is surely coming, says the Lord God,
 when I will send a famine on the land;
not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water,
 but of hearing the words of the Lord.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
 and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord,
 but they shall not find it.

In that day the beautiful young women and the young men shall faint for thirst.
Those who swear by Ashimah of Samaria,
 and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan’,
and, ‘As the way of Beer–sheba lives’—
 they shall fall, and never rise again.

Revelation 1:17–2:7

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive for ever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades. Now write what you have seen, what is, and what is to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

The Message to Ephesus

‘To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands:

‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.

St. Matthew 23:1–12

Jesus Denounces Scribes and Pharisees

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practise what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

A Story for the Day

Madin had moved his family away from ridicule, but his children would still inherit his poverty. What could change his situation?

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Source for Collects: The Collects are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

Source for Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the prayers is available through Augsburg Fortress.

Source for Scripture Passages: Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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