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Thu May 18 02:00:04 EDT 2023

Thursday 18 May 2023  (ASCENSION DAY)

Email Evangelism, forward to a friend:
Ezekiel 1:1-14,24-28b

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the
month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were
opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month (it
was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the
Lord came to the priest Ezekiel son of Buzi, in the land of the
Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was on him

 As I looked, a stormy wind came out of the north: a great cloud with
brightness around it and fire flashing forth continually, and in the
middle of the fire, something like gleaming amber. In the middle of it
was something like four living creatures. This was their appearance:
they were of human form. Each had four faces, and each of them had
four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were
like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished
bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands.
And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched
one another; each of them moved straight ahead, without turning as
they moved. As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the
face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face
of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle; such were their
faces. Their wings were spread out above; each creature had two wings,
each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their
bodies. Each moved straight ahead; wherever the spirit would go, they
went, without turning as they went. In the middle of* the living
creatures there was something that looked like burning coals of fire,
like torches moving to and fro among the living creatures; the fire
was bright, and lightning issued from the fire. The living creatures
darted to and fro, like a flash of lightning. When they moved, I heard
the sound of their wings like the sound of mighty waters, like the
thunder of the Almighty,* a sound of tumult like the sound of an army;
when they stopped, they let down their wings. And there came a voice
from above the dome over their heads; when they stopped, they let down
their wings.

 And above the dome over their heads there was something like a
throne, in appearance like sapphire;* and seated above the likeness of
a throne was something that seemed like a human form. Upwards from
what appeared like the loins I saw something like gleaming amber,
something that looked like fire enclosed all round; and downwards from
what looked like the loins I saw something that looked like fire, and
there was a splendour all round. Like the bow in a cloud on a rainy
day, such was the appearance of the splendour all round. This was the
appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.

When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of someone
Hebrews 2:5-18

Now God* did not subject the coming world, about which we are
speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere,
‘What are human beings that you are mindful of them,*
   or mortals, that you care for them?* 
You have made them for a little while lower* than the angels;
   you have crowned them with glory and honour,* 
   subjecting all things under their feet.’
Now in subjecting all things to them, God* left nothing outside their
control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them,
but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower* than the
angels, now crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of
death, so that by the grace of God* he might taste death for everyone.

 It was fitting that God,* for whom and through whom all things
exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of
their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies
and those who are sanctified all have one Father.* For this reason
Jesus* is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters,* saying,
‘I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,*
   in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.’ 
And again,
‘I will put my trust in him.’
And again,
‘Here am I and the children whom God has given me.’

 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself
likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might
destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and
free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of
death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the
descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers
and sisters* in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and
faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of
atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by
what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Matthew 28:16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which
Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but
some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in
heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make
disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey
everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you
always, to the end of the age.’
Morning Psalms: Psalm 8, 47

Psalm 8

O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth! 

You have set your glory above the heavens. 
   Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
   to silence the enemy and the avenger. 

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars that you have established; 
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
   mortals* that you care for them? 

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,*
   and crowned them with glory and honour. 
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
   you have put all things under their feet, 
all sheep and oxen,
   and also the beasts of the field, 
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
   whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 

O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all you peoples;
   shout to God with loud songs of joy. 
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
   a great king over all the earth. 
He subdued peoples under us,
   and nations under our feet. 
He chose our heritage for us,
   the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
   the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. 
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
   sing praises to our King, sing praises. 
For God is the king of all the earth;
   sing praises with a psalm.* 

God is king over the nations;
   God sits on his holy throne. 
The princes of the peoples gather
   as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
   he is highly exalted.
Evening Psalms: Psalm 24, 96

Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
   the world, and those who live in it; 
for he has founded it on the seas,
   and established it on the rivers. 

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
   And who shall stand in his holy place? 
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
   who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
   and do not swear deceitfully. 
They will receive blessing from the Lord,
   and vindication from the God of their salvation. 
Such is the company of those who seek him,
   who seek the face of the God of Jacob.*

Lift up your heads, O gates!
   and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
   that the King of glory may come in. 
Who is the King of glory?
   The Lord, strong and mighty,
   the Lord, mighty in battle. 
Lift up your heads, O gates!
   and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
   that the King of glory may come in. 
Who is this King of glory?
   The Lord of hosts,
   he is the King of glory.

Psalm 96

O sing to the Lord a new song;
   sing to the Lord, all the earth. 
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
   tell of his salvation from day to day. 
Declare his glory among the nations,
   his marvellous works among all the peoples. 
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
   he is to be revered above all gods. 
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
   but the Lord made the heavens. 
Honour and majesty are before him;
   strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
   ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
   bring an offering, and come into his courts. 
Worship the Lord in holy splendour;
   tremble before him, all the earth. 

Say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!
   The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
   He will judge the peoples with equity.’ 
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
   let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 
   let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 
   before the Lord; for he is coming,
   for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
   and the peoples with his truth.

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