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Wed May 25 02:00:04 EDT 2022

Wednesday 25 May 2022   EVE OF ASCENSION

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Leviticus 26:27-42

But if, despite this, you disobey me, and continue hostile to me, I
will continue hostile to you in fury; I in turn will punish you myself
sevenfold for your sins. You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you
shall eat the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places
and cut down your incense-altars; I will heap your carcasses on the
carcasses of your idols. I will abhor you. I will lay your cities
waste, will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your
pleasing odours. I will devastate the land, so that your enemies who
come to settle in it shall be appalled at it. And you I will scatter
among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword against you; your
land shall be a desolation, and your cities a waste.

 Then the land shall enjoy* its sabbath years as long as it lies
desolate, while you are in the land of your enemies; then the land
shall rest, and enjoy* its sabbath years. As long as it lies desolate,
it shall have the rest it did not have on your sabbaths when you were
living on it. And as for those of you who survive, I will send
faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound
of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one
flees from the sword, and they shall fall though no one pursues. They
shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though no one
pursues; and you shall have no power to stand against your enemies.
You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall
devour you. And those of you who survive shall languish in the land of
your enemies because of their iniquities; also they shall languish
because of the iniquities of their ancestors.

 But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their
ancestors, in that they committed treachery against me and, moreover,
that they continued hostile to me— so that I, in turn, continued
hostile to them and brought them into the land of their enemies; if
then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for
their iniquity, then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; I will
remember also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with
Abraham, and I will remember the land.
Ephesians 1:1-10

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful* in Christ Jesus:

 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has
blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly
places, just as he chose us in Christ* before the foundation of the
world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for
adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good
pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he
freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption
through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the
riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and
insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to
his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the
fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and
things on earth.
Matthew 22:41-46

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this
question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah?* Whose son is he?’
They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is
it then that David by the Spirit* calls him Lord, saying, 
“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
   until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”? 
If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was
able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask
him any more questions.
Morning Psalms: Psalm 119:97-120

Psalm 119:97-120

Oh, how I love your law!
   It is my meditation all day long. 
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
   for it is always with me. 
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
   for your decrees are my meditation. 
I understand more than the aged,
   for I keep your precepts. 
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
   in order to keep your word. 
I do not turn away from your ordinances,
   for you have taught me. 
How sweet are your words to my taste,
   sweeter than honey to my mouth! 
Through your precepts I get understanding;
   therefore I hate every false way. 

Your word is a lamp to my feet
   and a light to my path. 
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
   to observe your righteous ordinances. 
I am severely afflicted;
   give me life, O Lord, according to your word. 
Accept my offerings of praise, O Lord,
   and teach me your ordinances. 
I hold my life in my hand continually,
   but I do not forget your law. 
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
   but I do not stray from your precepts. 
Your decrees are my heritage for ever;
   they are the joy of my heart. 
I incline my heart to perform your statutes
   for ever, to the end. 

I hate the double-minded,
   but I love your law. 
You are my hiding-place and my shield;
   I hope in your word. 
Go away from me, you evildoers,
   that I may keep the commandments of my God. 
Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
   and let me not be put to shame in my hope. 
Hold me up, that I may be safe
   and have regard for your statutes continually. 
You spurn all who go astray from your statutes;
   for their cunning is in vain. 
All the wicked of the earth you count as dross;
   therefore I love your decrees. 
My flesh trembles for fear of you,
   and I am afraid of your judgements.
Evening Psalm: Psalm 68:1-20

Psalm 68:1-20

Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
   let those who hate him flee before him. 
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
   as wax melts before the fire,
   let the wicked perish before God. 
But let the righteous be joyful;
   let them exult before God;
   let them be jubilant with joy. 

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
   lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds*—
his name is the Lord—
   be exultant before him. 

Father of orphans and protector of widows
   is God in his holy habitation. 
God gives the desolate a home to live in;
   he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
   but the rebellious live in a parched land. 

O God, when you went out before your people,
   when you marched through the wilderness,
the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain
   at the presence of God, the God of Sinai,
   at the presence of God, the God of Israel. 
Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad;
   you restored your heritage when it languished; 
your flock found a dwelling in it;
   in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy. 

The Lord gives the command;
   great is the company of those* who bore the tidings: 
   ‘The kings of the armies, they flee, they flee!’
The women at home divide the spoil, 
   though they stay among the sheepfolds—
the wings of a dove covered with silver,
   its pinions with green gold. 
When the Almighty* scattered kings there,
   snow fell on Zalmon. 

O mighty mountain, mountain of Bashan;
   O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan! 
Why do you look with envy, O many-peaked mountain,
   at the mount that God desired for his abode,
   where the Lord will reside for ever? 

With mighty chariotry, twice ten thousand,
   thousands upon thousands,
   the Lord came from Sinai into the holy place.* 
You ascended the high mount,
   leading captives in your train
   and receiving gifts from people,
even from those who rebel against the Lord God’s abiding there. 
Blessed be the Lord,
   who daily bears us up;
   God is our salvation.
Our God is a God of salvation,
   and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.

2 Kings 2:1-15

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a
whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah
said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as
Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself
live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. The
company of prophets* who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said
to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away
from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’

 Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me
to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself
live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho. The company of
prophets* who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him,
‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from
you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’

 Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to
the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself
live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. Fifty men
of the company of prophets* also went, and stood at some distance from
them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his
mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to
the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry

 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may
do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let
me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ He responded, ‘You have
asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you,
it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ As they continued
walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated
the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven.
Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots
of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he
grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.
 He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went
back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah
that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, ‘Where is
the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ When he had struck the water, the
water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went

 When the company of prophets* who were at Jericho saw him at a
distance, they declared, ‘The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.’
They came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.

Revelation 5:1-14

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

 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.’

 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the
throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads
of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice,
‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honour and glory and blessing!’ 
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth
and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,
‘To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honour and glory and might
for ever and ever!’ 
And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the elders fell
down and worshipped.

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