Friday 31 March 2023 DAILY LECTIONARY

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Fri Mar 31 02:00:02 EDT 2023

Friday 31 March 2023 

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Jeremiah 29:1,4-13

These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from
Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the
priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had
taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Thus says the Lord of
hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into
exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant
gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and
daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in
marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and
do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent
you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare
you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God
of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you
deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,* for it
is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send
them, says the Lord.

 For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are
completed will I visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and
bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for
you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give
you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray
to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if
you seek me with all your heart,
Romans 11:13-24

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to
the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry in order to make my own people*
jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection is the
reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life
from the dead! If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is
holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the
branches also are holy.

 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive
shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root* of the
olive tree, do not vaunt yourselves over the branches. If you do vaunt
yourselves, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the
root that supports you. You will say, ‘Branches were broken off so
that I might be grafted in.’ That is true. They were broken off
because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not
become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural
branches, perhaps he will not spare you.* Note then the kindness and
the severity of God: severity towards those who have fallen, but
God’s kindness towards you, provided you continue in his kindness;
otherwise you also will be cut off. And even those of Israel,* if they
do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power
to graft them in again. For if you have been cut from what is by
nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a
cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be
grafted back into their own olive tree.
John 11:1-27

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and
her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume
and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the
sisters sent a message to Jesus,* ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’
But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to
death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be
glorified through it.’ Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and
her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus* was ill, he
stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

 Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea
again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now
trying to stone you, and are you going there again?’ Jesus answered,
‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the
day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But
those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.’
After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen
asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ The disciples said to
him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.’ Jesus,
however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he
was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly,
‘Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that
you may believe. But let us go to him.’ Thomas, who was called the
Twin,* said to his fellow-disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may
die with him.’
 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus* had already been in the
tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles*
away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them
about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went
and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord,
if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I
know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to
her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know
that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus
said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.* Those who believe
in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and
believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to
him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah,* the Son of
God, the one coming into the world.’
Morning Psalms: Psalm 95, 22

Psalm 95

O come, let us sing to the Lord;
   let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
   let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 
For the Lord is a great God,
   and a great King above all gods. 
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
   the heights of the mountains are his also. 
The sea is his, for he made it,
   and the dry land, which his hands have formed. 

O come, let us worship and bow down,
   let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! 
For he is our God,
   and we are the people of his pasture,
   and the sheep of his hand. 

O that today you would listen to his voice! 
   Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
   as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, 
when your ancestors tested me,
   and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. 
For forty years I loathed that generation
   and said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
   and they do not regard my ways.’ 
Therefore in my anger I swore,
   ‘They shall not enter my rest.’

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
   Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
   and by night, but find no rest. 

Yet you are holy,
   enthroned on the praises of Israel. 
In you our ancestors trusted;
   they trusted, and you delivered them. 
To you they cried, and were saved;
   in you they trusted, and were not put to shame. 

But I am a worm, and not human;
   scorned by others, and despised by the people. 
All who see me mock at me;
   they make mouths at me, they shake their heads; 
‘Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver—
   let him rescue the one in whom he delights!’ 

Yet it was you who took me from the womb;
   you kept me safe on my mother’s breast. 
On you I was cast from my birth,
   and since my mother bore me you have been my God. 
Do not be far from me,
   for trouble is near
   and there is no one to help. 

Many bulls encircle me,
   strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 
they open wide their mouths at me,
   like a ravening and roaring lion. 

I am poured out like water,
   and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
   it is melted within my breast; 
my mouth* is dried up like a potsherd,
   and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
   you lay me in the dust of death. 

For dogs are all around me;
   a company of evildoers encircles me.
My hands and feet have shrivelled;* 
I can count all my bones.
They stare and gloat over me; 
they divide my clothes among themselves,
   and for my clothing they cast lots. 

But you, O Lord, do not be far away!
   O my help, come quickly to my aid! 
Deliver my soul from the sword,
   my life* from the power of the dog! 
   Save me from the mouth of the lion! 

>From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued* me. 
I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;*
   in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
   All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
   stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 
For he did not despise or abhor
   the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,*
   but heard when I* cried to him. 

>From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
   my vows I will pay before those who fear him. 
The poor* shall eat and be satisfied;
   those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
   May your hearts live for ever! 

All the ends of the earth shall remember
   and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
   shall worship before him.* 
For dominion belongs to the Lord,
   and he rules over the nations. 

To him,* indeed, shall all who sleep in* the earth bow down;
   before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
   and I shall live for him.* 
Posterity will serve him;
   future generations will be told about the Lord, 
and* proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
   saying that he has done it.
Evening Psalms: Psalm 141, 143

Psalm 141

I call upon you, O Lord; come quickly to me;
   give ear to my voice when I call to you. 
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
   and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. 

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
   keep watch over the door of my lips. 
Do not turn my heart to any evil,
   to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with those who work iniquity;
   do not let me eat of their delicacies. 

Let the righteous strike me;
   let the faithful correct me.
Never let the oil of the wicked anoint my head,*
   for my prayer is continually* against their wicked deeds. 
When they are given over to those who shall condemn them,
   then they shall learn that my words were pleasant. 
Like a rock that one breaks apart and shatters on the land,
   so shall their bones be strewn at the mouth of Sheol.* 

But my eyes are turned towards you, O God, my Lord;
   in you I seek refuge; do not leave me defenceless. 
Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me,
   and from the snares of evildoers. 
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
   while I alone escape.

Psalm 143

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
   give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
   answer me in your righteousness. 
Do not enter into judgement with your servant,
   for no one living is righteous before you. 

For the enemy has pursued me,
   crushing my life to the ground,
   making me sit in darkness like those long dead. 
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
   my heart within me is appalled. 

I remember the days of old,
   I think about all your deeds,
   I meditate on the works of your hands. 
I stretch out my hands to you;
   my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.

Answer me quickly, O Lord;
   my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
   or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit. 
Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
   for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
   for to you I lift up my soul. 

Save me, O Lord, from my enemies;
   I have fled to you for refuge.* 
Teach me to do your will,
   for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
   on a level path. 

For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life.
   In your righteousness bring me out of trouble. 
In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
   and destroy all my adversaries,
   for I am your servant.

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