It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Daily Prayer, Friday, December 27, 2013

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!
(Psalm 148:5-8

Invitatory Psalm 118
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
  “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say,
   “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.

With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
What can mortals do to me?
The Lord is on my side to help me;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
  than to put confidence in mortals.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
  than to put confidence in princes.

The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.


Open to me the gates of righteousness,
  that I may enter through them
  and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me
  and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected
  has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.

The Lord is God, and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
  for his steadfast love endures forever.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
   and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Psalm 25
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
   for you are the God of my salvation;
   for you I wait all day long.
Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord,
   and of your steadfast love,
   for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins
   of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
   for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
   and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord
   are steadfast love and faithfulness,
   for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

For your name’s sake, O Lord,
   pardon my guilt, for it is great.

Who are they that fear the Lord?
He will teach them the way that they should choose.
They will abide in prosperity,
   and their children shall possess the land.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
   and he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
   for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
   for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart,
   and bring me out of my distress.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
   and forgive all my sins.
Consider how many are my foes,
   and with what violent hatred they hate me.

O guard my life, and deliver me;
do not let me be put to shame,
   for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
   for I wait for you.
Redeem Israel, O God, out of all its troubles.

Daily Lectionary Reading, Matthew 2:13-23
When the magi had departed, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod will soon search for the child in order to kill him.” 14 Joseph got up and, during the night, took the child and his mother to Egypt. 15 He stayed there until Herod died. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: I have called my son out of Egypt. 16 When Herod knew the magi had fooled him, he grew very angry. He sent soldiers to kill all the children in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding territory who were two years old and younger, according to the time that he had learned from the magi. 17 This fulfilled the word spoken through Jeremiah the prophet: 18 A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and much grieving. Rachel weeping for her children, and she did not want to be comforted, because they were no more. 19 After King Herod died, an angel from the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 “Get up,” the angel said, “and take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel. Those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” 21 Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus ruled over Judea in place of his father Herod, Joseph was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he went to the area of Galilee. 23 He settled in a city called Nazareth so that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled: He will be called a Nazarene. [Common English Bible]

Prayer for Today: O Lord, show us ways to protect children and increase our will to carry out those ways. Amen.

Midday Psalm 119:33-40
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,
   and I will observe it to the end.
Give me understanding,
   that I may keep your law
   and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
   for I delight in it.
Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways.

Confirm to your servant your promise,
   which is for those who fear you.
Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
   for your ordinances are good.
See, I have longed for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life.

Psalm 30
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
   and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
   and you have healed me.
O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
   restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
   but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”

By your favor, O Lord,
   you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face; I was dismayed.
To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
   so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Psalm 31

In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
   a strong fortress to save me.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
   for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
You hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
   but I trust in the Lord.
I will exult and rejoice in your steadfast love,
   because you have seen my affliction;
you have taken heed of my adversities,
and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
you have set my feet in a broad place.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief,
my soul and body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
   and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
   and my bones waste away.
I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
   a horror to my neighbors,
   an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many— terror all around!
   — as they scheme together against me,
   as they plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.
Do not let me be put to shame, O Lord,
   for I call on you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
let them go dumbfounded to Sheol.
Let the lying lips be stilled that speak insolently
   against the righteous with pride and contempt.

O how abundant is your goodness
   that you have laid up for those who fear you,
   and accomplished for those who take refuge in you,
   in the sight of everyone!
In the shelter of your presence
   you hide them from human plots;
   you hold them safe under your shelter
       from contentious tongues.

Blessed be the Lord,
   for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
   when I was beset as a city under siege.
I had said in my alarm, “I am driven far from your sight.”
But you heard my supplications when I cried out to you for help.
Love the Lord, all you his saints.
The Lord preserves the faithful,
   but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
   all you who wait for the Lord.

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