Monday 20 December 2021 DAILY LECTIONARY

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Mon Dec 20 02:00:03 EST 2021

Monday 20 December 2021

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Zephaniah 3:14-20

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
   shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
   O daughter Jerusalem! 
The Lord has taken away the judgements against you,
   he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
   you shall fear disaster no more. 
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
   do not let your hands grow weak. 
The 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 
   as on a day of festival.*
I will remove disaster from you,*
   so that you will not bear reproach for it. 
I 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. 
At 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.
Titus 1:1-16

Paul, 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, in the hope of eternal life that God,
who never lies, promised before the ages began— in due time he
revealed his word through the proclamation with which I have been
entrusted by the command of God our Saviour,

 To Titus, my loyal child in the faith we share:

Grace* and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour. 

 I 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: someone who is blameless, married only once,*
whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not
rebellious. For 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; but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness,
prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. He 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.

 There are also many rebellious people, idle talkers and deceivers,
especially those of the circumcision; they must be silenced, since
they are upsetting whole families by teaching for sordid gain what it
is not right to teach. It was one of them, their very own prophet, who
‘Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons.’ 
That testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply, so that
they may become sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish
myths or to commandments of those who reject the truth. To the pure
all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is
pure. Their very minds and consciences are corrupted. They profess to
know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable,
disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Luke 1:1-25

Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the
events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on
to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants
of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully
from the very first,* to write an orderly account for you, most
excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the
things about which you have been instructed. 

 In 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. Both of them were
righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the
commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children,
because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

 Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on
duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood,
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time
of the incense-offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying
outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at
the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was
terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But 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. You will
have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for 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.
He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With
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.’
Zechariah 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.’ The 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. But 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.’

 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at
his delay in the sanctuary. When 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. When his time
of service was ended, he went to his home.

 After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months
she remained in seclusion. She said, ‘This is what the Lord has done
for me when he looked favourably on me and took away the disgrace I
have endured among my people.’
Morning Psalms: Psalm 61, 62

Psalm 61

Hear my cry, O God;
   listen to my prayer. 
>From the end of the earth I call to you,
   when my heart is faint. 

Lead me to the rock
   that is higher than I; 
for you are my refuge,
   a strong tower against the enemy. 

Let me abide in your tent for ever,
   find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
For you, O God, have heard my vows;
   you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. 

Prolong the life of the king;
   may his years endure to all generations! 
May he be enthroned for ever before God;
   appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him! 

So I will always sing praises to your name,
   as I pay my vows day after day.

Psalm 62

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
   from him comes my salvation. 
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
   my fortress; I shall never be shaken. 

How long will you assail a person,
   will you batter your victim, all of you,
   as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 
Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence.
   They take pleasure in falsehood;
they bless with their mouths,
   but inwardly they curse.

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
   for my hope is from him. 
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
   my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 
On God rests my deliverance and my honour;
   my mighty rock, my refuge is in God. 

Trust in him at all times, O people;
   pour out your heart before him;
   God is a refuge for us.

Those of low estate are but a breath,
   those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
   they are together lighter than a breath. 
Put no confidence in extortion,
   and set no vain hopes on robbery;
   if riches increase, do not set your heart on them. 

Once God has spoken;
   twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God, 
   and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.
For you repay to all
   according to their work.
Evening Psalms: Psalm 112, 115

Psalm 112

Praise the Lord!
   Happy are those who fear the Lord,
   who greatly delight in his commandments. 
Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
   the generation of the upright will be blessed. 
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
   and their righteousness endures for ever. 
They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
   they are gracious, merciful, and righteous. 
It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
   who conduct their affairs with justice. 
For the righteous will never be moved;
   they will be remembered for ever. 
They are not afraid of evil tidings;
   their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. 
Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
   in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. 
They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
   their righteousness endures for ever;
   their horn is exalted in honour. 
The wicked see it and are angry;
   they gnash their teeth and melt away;
   the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

Psalm 115

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
   for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness. 
Why should the nations say,
   ‘Where is their God?’ 

Our God is in the heavens;
   he does whatever he pleases. 
Their idols are silver and gold,
   the work of human hands. 
They have mouths, but do not speak;
   eyes, but do not see. 
They have ears, but do not hear;
   noses, but do not smell. 
They have hands, but do not feel;
   feet, but do not walk;
   they make no sound in their throats. 
Those who make them are like them;
   so are all who trust in them. 

O Israel, trust in the Lord!
   He is their help and their shield. 
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!
   He is their help and their shield. 
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
   He is their help and their shield. 

The Lord has been mindful of us; he will bless us;
   he will bless the house of Israel;
   he will bless the house of Aaron; 
he will bless those who fear the Lord,
   both small and great. 

May the Lord give you increase,
   both you and your children. 
May you be blessed by the Lord,
   who made heaven and earth. 

The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,
   but the earth he has given to human beings. 
The dead do not praise the Lord,
   nor do any that go down into silence. 
But we will bless the Lord
   from this time on and for evermore.
Praise the Lord!

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