God of infinite goodness,
throughout the ages you have persevered
in claiming and reclaiming your people.
Renew for us your call to repentance,
surround us with witnesses to aid us in our journey,
and grant us the time to fashion our lives anew,
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
My hope is in God
I said, “I will guard my ways
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth
as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
I was silent and still;
I held my peace to no avail;
my distress grew worse,
my heart became hot within me.
While I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
“Lord, let me know my end,
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight.
Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. Selah
Surely everyone goes about like a shadow.
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
they heap up, and do not know who will gather.
“And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool.
I am silent; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
Remove your stroke from me;
I am worn down by the blows of your hand.
“You chastise mortals
in punishment for sin,
consuming like a moth what is dear to them;
surely everyone is a mere breath. Selah
“Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and give ear to my cry;
do not hold your peace at my tears.
For I am your passing guest,
an alien, like all my forebears.
Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more.”
Allegory of the vine
The word of the Lord came to me: O mortal, propound a riddle, and speak an allegory to the house of Israel. Say: Thus says the Lord God:
A great eagle, with great wings and long pinions,
rich in plumage of many colors,
came to the Lebanon.
He took the top of the cedar,
broke off its topmost shoot;
he carried it to a land of trade,
set it in a city of merchants.
Then he took a seed from the land,
placed it in fertile soil;
a plant by abundant waters,
he set it like a willow twig.
It sprouted and became a vine
spreading out, but low;
its branches turned toward him,
its roots remained where it stood.
So it became a vine;
it brought forth branches,
put forth foliage.
There was another great eagle,
with great wings and much plumage.
And see! This vine stretched out
its roots toward him;
it shot out its branches toward him,
so that he might water it.
From the bed where it was planted
it was transplanted
to good soil by abundant waters,
so that it might produce branches
and bear fruit
and become a noble vine.
Say: Thus says the Lord God:
Will it prosper?
Will he not pull up its roots,
cause its fruit to rot and wither,
its fresh sprouting leaves to fade?
No strong arm or mighty army will be needed
to pull it from its roots.
When it is transplanted, will it thrive?
When the east wind strikes it,
will it not utterly wither,
wither on the bed where it grew?
What the law requires is written on the heart
All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.
Prayer reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts. Reproduced by permission.
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission. No further reproduction allowed without the written permission of Augsburg Fortress.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.