to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Invitatory Psalm 84
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars,
O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise. Selah
Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.
For a day in your courts is better than
a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper
in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
When my enemies turned back,
they stumbled and perished before you.
For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.
You judge the world with righteousness;
you judge the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Be gracious to me, O Lord.
See what I suffer from those who hate me;
you are the one who lifts me up
from the gates of death,
so that I may recount all your praises,
and, in the gates of daughter Zion,
rejoice in your deliverance.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.
Rise up, O Lord! Do not let mortals prevail;
let the nations be judged before you.
Put them in fear, O Lord;
let the nations know that they are only human.
Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor
— let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart,
those greedy for gain curse and renounce the Lord.
In the pride of their countenance the wicked say,
“God will not seek it out”;
all their thoughts are, “There is no God.”
Their ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of their sight;
as for their foes, they scoff at them.
They think in their heart, “We shall not be moved;
throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.”
Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.
They sit in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places they murder the innocent.
Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert;
they lurk that they may seize the poor;
they seize the poor and drag them off in their net.
They stoop, they crouch,
and the helpless fall by their might.
They think in their heart,
“God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face,
he will never see it.”
Rise up, O Lord;
O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed.
Why do the wicked renounce God, and say in their hearts,
“You will not call us to account”?
But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief,
that you may take it into your hands;
the helpless commit themselves to you;
you have been the helper of the orphan.
O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek;
you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear
to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed,
so that those from earth may strike terror no more.
Daily Lectionary Reading, Luke 3:3-6
3 John went throughout the region of the Jordan River, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 4 This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
A voice crying out in the wilderness:
“ Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley will be filled,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled.
The crooked will be made straight
and the rough places made smooth.
6 All humanity will see God’s salvation. ” [f]
_________________________________________________ f Isa 40:3-5
[Common English Bible]
Prayer for Today: O Lord, open us to hear your voice. Strengthen us to prepare your way. In our lives today, help us to see ways to aid others to hear you, to welcome you into their lives. Amen.
Midday Psalm 119:9-16
How can young people keep their way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
do not let me stray from your commandments.
I treasure your word in my heart,
so that I may not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes.
With my lips I declare all the ordinances of your mouth.
I delight in the way of your decrees as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
In the Lord I take refuge;
how can you say to me, “Flee like a bird to the mountains;
for look, the wicked bend the bow,
they have fitted their arrow to the string,
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.
If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind.
The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,
and his soul hates the lover of violence.
For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.
Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
there is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.
They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good, no, not one.
Have they no knowledge,
all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon the Lord?
There they shall be in great terror,
for God is with the company of the righteous.
You would confound the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is their refuge.
O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.
O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Those who walk blamelessly,
and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
Those who do these things shall never be moved.
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.