Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Let me sing for my beloved
my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had
on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and
cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a
watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it
to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
inhabitants of Jerusalem
and people of Judah,
and my vineyard.
What more was
there to do for my vineyard
that I have not done in it?
When I expected
it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
And now I will
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove
and it shall be devoured;
I will break
down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also
command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people
are his pleasant planting;
but saw bloodshed;
but heard a cry!
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-18
Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; *
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
In the presence
of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *
stir up your strength and come to help us.
brought a vine out of Egypt; *
you cast out the nations and planted it.
the ground for it; *
it took root and filled the land.
were covered by its shadow *
and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.
out its tendrils to the Sea *
and its branches to the River.
Why have you
broken down its wall, *
so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?
The wild boar
of the forest has ravaged it, *
and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.
Turn now, O God
of hosts, look down from heaven;
behold and tend this vine; *
preserve what your right hand has planted.
They burn it
with fire like rubbish; *
at the rebuke of your countenance let them perish.
Let your hand
be upon the man of your right hand, *
the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
And so will we
never turn away from you; *
give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
O Lord God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.
And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets-- who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented-- of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus said, "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided:
and son against father,
and daughter against mother,
against her daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."
He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, `It is going to rain'; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?"