Wednesday 31 October 2007 DAILY LECTIONARY

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Wed Oct 31 02:00:00 EDT 2007

Wednesday 31 October 2007 

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Ezra 6:1-22

Then King Darius made a decree, and they searched the archives where the
documents were stored in Babylon. But it was in Ecbatana, the capital in
the province of Media, that a scroll was found on which this was
written: 'A record. In the first year of his reign, King Cyrus issued a
decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be
rebuilt, the place where sacrifices are offered and burnt-offerings are
brought;* its height shall be sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits,
with three courses of hewn stones and one course of timber; let the cost
be paid from the royal treasury. Moreover, let the gold and silver
vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple
in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the
temple in Jerusalem, each to its place; you shall put them in the house
of God.'

 'Now you, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River,
Shethar-bozenai, and you, their associates, the envoys in the province
Beyond the River, keep away; let the work on this house of God alone;
let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this
house of God on its site. Moreover, I make a decree regarding what you
shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house
of God: the cost is to be paid to these people, in full and without
delay, from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province Beyond the
River. Whatever is needed-young bulls, rams, or sheep for
burnt-offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the
priests in Jerusalem require-let that be given to them day by day
without fail, so that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of
heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his children. Furthermore,
I decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of
the house of the perpetrator, who then shall be impaled on it. The house
shall be made a dunghill. May the God who has established his name there
overthrow any king or people that shall put forth a hand to alter this,
or to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, make a decree;
let it be done with all diligence.'

 Then, according to the word sent by King Darius, Tattenai, the governor
of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates
did with all diligence what King Darius had ordered. So the elders of
the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of the prophet
Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished their building by
command of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus, Darius, and King
Artaxerxes of Persia; and this house was finished on the third day of
the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

 The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the
returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with
joy. They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred
bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin-offering for
all Israel twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of
Israel. Then they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in
their courses for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in
the book of Moses.

 On the fourteenth day of the first month the returned exiles kept the
passover. For both the priests and the Levites had purified themselves;
all of them were clean. So they killed the passover lamb for all the
returned exiles, for their fellow-priests, and for themselves. It was
eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by
all who had joined them and separated themselves from the pollutions of
the nations of the land to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. With joy
they celebrated the festival of unleavened bread for seven days; for the
Lord had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of
Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work on the house of God,
the God of Israel.
Revelation 5:1-10

Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll
written on the inside and on the back, sealed* with seven seals; and I
saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to open
the scroll and break its seals?' And no one in heaven or on earth or
under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I
began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the
scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not
weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has
conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.'

 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among
the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven
horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into
all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the
one who was seated on the throne. When he had taken the scroll, the four
living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each
holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers
of the saints. They sing a new song:
'You are worthy to take the scroll
   and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
   saints from* every tribe and language and people and nation; 
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving* our God,
   and they will reign on earth.'
Matthew 13:10-17

Then the disciples came and asked him, 'Why do you speak to them in
parables?' He answered, 'To you it has been given to know the secrets*
of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to
those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but
from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The
reason I speak to them in parables is that "seeing they do not perceive,
and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand." With them
indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
"You will indeed listen, but never understand,
   and you will indeed look, but never perceive. 
For this people's heart has grown dull,
   and their ears are hard of hearing,
     and they have shut their eyes;
     so that they might not look with their eyes,
   and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn-
   and I would heal them." 
But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what
you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear
Morning Psalms:  Psalm 119:49-72

Psalm 119:49-72

Remember your word to your servant,
   in which you have made me hope. 
This is my comfort in my distress,
   that your promise gives me life. 
The arrogant utterly deride me,
   but I do not turn away from your law. 
When I think of your ordinances from of old,
   I take comfort, O Lord. 
Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
   those who forsake your law. 
Your statutes have been my songs
   wherever I make my home. 
I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
   and keep your law. 
This blessing has fallen to me,
   for I have kept your precepts. 

The Lord is my portion;
   I promise to keep your words. 
I implore your favour with all my heart;
   be gracious to me according to your promise. 
When I think of your ways,
   I turn my feet to your decrees; 
I hurry and do not delay
   to keep your commandments. 
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
   I do not forget your law. 
At midnight I rise to praise you,
   because of your righteous ordinances. 
I am a companion of all who fear you,
   of those who keep your precepts. 
The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
   teach me your statutes. 

You have dealt well with your servant,
   O Lord, according to your word. 
Teach me good judgement and knowledge,
   for I believe in your commandments. 
Before I was humbled I went astray,
   but now I keep your word. 
You are good and do good;
   teach me your statutes. 
The arrogant smear me with lies,
   but with my whole heart I keep your precepts. 
Their hearts are fat and gross,
   but I delight in your law. 
It is good for me that I was humbled,
   so that I might learn your statutes. 
The law of your mouth is better to me
   than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Evening Psalms: Psalm 49, 53

Psalm 49

Hear this, all you peoples;
   give ear, all inhabitants of the world, 
both low and high,
   rich and poor together. 
My mouth shall speak wisdom;
   the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. 
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
   I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp. 

Why should I fear in times of trouble,
   when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me, 
those who trust in their wealth
   and boast of the abundance of their riches? 
Truly, no ransom avails for one's life,*
   there is no price one can give to God for it. 
For the ransom of life is costly,
   and can never suffice, 
that one should live on for ever
   and never see the grave.* 

When we look at the wise, they die;
   fool and dolt perish together
   and leave their wealth to others. 
Their graves* are their homes for ever,
   their dwelling-places to all generations,
   though they named lands their own. 
Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;
   they are like the animals that perish. 

Such is the fate of the foolhardy,
   the end of those* who are pleased with their lot.
Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
   Death shall be their shepherd;
straight to the grave they descend,*
   and their form shall waste away;
   Sheol shall be their home.* 
But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
   for he will receive me.

Do not be afraid when some become rich,
   when the wealth of their houses increases. 
For when they die they will carry nothing away;
   their wealth will not go down after them. 
Though in their lifetime they count themselves happy
   -for you are praised when you do well for yourself- 
they* will go to the company of their ancestors,
   who will never again see the light. 
Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;
   they are like the animals that perish.

Psalm 53

Fools say in their hearts, 'There is no God.'
   They are corrupt, they commit abominable acts;
   there is no one who does good. 

God looks down from heaven on humankind
   to see if there are any who are wise,
   who seek after God. 

They have all fallen away, they are all alike perverse;
   there is no one who does good,
   no, not one. 

Have they no knowledge, those evildoers,
   who eat up my people as they eat bread,
   and do not call upon God? 

There 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. 

O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
   When God restores the fortunes of his people,
   Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.

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