Daily Readings for Wednesday, December 19, 2007
- Morning Psalms 50; 147:1-11
- First Reading Zephaniah 3:14-20
- Second Reading Titus 1:1-16
- Gospel Reading Luke 1:1-25
- Evening Psalms 53; 17
Morning Psalm 50
1The mighty one, God the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
3Our God comes and does not keep silence,
before him is a devouring fire,
and a mighty tempest all around him.
4He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
5"Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!"
6The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge. Selah
7"Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
8Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
9I will not accept a bull from your house,
or goats from your folds.
10For every wild animal of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
11I know all the birds of the air,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
12"If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and all that is in it is mine.
13Do I eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
14Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and pay your vows to the Most High.
15Call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."
16But to the wicked God says:
"What right have you to recite my statutes,
or take my covenant on your lips?
17For you hate discipline,
and you cast my words behind you.
18You make friends with a thief when you see one,
and you keep company with adulterers.
19"You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
20You sit and speak against your kin;
you slander your own mother's child.
21These things you have done and I have been silent;
you thought that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.
22"Mark this, then, you who forget God,
or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver.
23Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me;
to those who go the right way
I will show the salvation of God."
Morning Psalm 147:1-11
1 Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
8 He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the animals their food,
and to the young ravens when they cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
First Reading Zephaniah 3:14-20
14Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
15The LORD has taken away the judgments against you,
he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more.
16On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
17The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
18as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
so that you will not bear reproach for it.
19I will deal with all your oppressors
at that time.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
20At that time I will bring you home,
at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes, says the LORD.
Second Reading Titus 1:1-16
1Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that is in accordance with godliness, 2in the hope of eternal life that God, who never lies, promised before the ages began - 3in due time he revealed his word through the proclamation with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Saviour,
4To Titus, my loyal child in the faith we share:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.
5I left you behind in Crete for this reason, that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you: 6someone who is blameless, married only once, whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not rebellious. 7For a bishop, as God's steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; 8but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. 9He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.
10There are also many rebellious people, idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision; 11they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for sordid gain what it is not right to teach. 12It was one of them, their very own prophet, who said, "Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons." 13That testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply, so that they may become sound in the faith, 14not paying attention to Jewish myths or to commandments of those who reject the truth. 15To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure. Their very minds and consciences are corrupted. 16They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Gospel Reading Luke 1:1-25
1Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.
5In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.
8Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." 18Zechariah said to the angel, "How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years." 19The angel replied, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur."
21Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. 22When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. 23When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 25"This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people."
Evening Psalm 53
1Fools say in their hearts, "There is no God."
They are corrupt, they commit abominable acts;
there is no one who does good.
2God looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.
3They have all fallen away, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one.
4Have they no knowledge, those evildoers,
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon God?
5There they shall be in great terror,
in terror such as has not been.
For God will scatter the bones of the ungodly;
they will be put to shame, for God has rejected them.
6O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.
Evening Psalm 17
1Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry;
give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
2From you let my vindication come;
let your eyes see the right.
3If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,
if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;
my mouth does not transgress.
4As for what others do, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
6I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me, hear my words.
7Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
8Guard me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9from the wicked who despoil me,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
10They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11They track me down; now they surround me;
they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
12They are like a lion eager to tear,
like a young lion lurking in ambush.
13Rise up, O LORD, confront them, overthrow them!
By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,
14from mortals — by your hand, O LORD —
from mortals whose portion in life is in this world.
May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them;
may their children have more than enough;
may they leave something over to their little ones.
15As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.