Readings for Thursday, March 18, 2021
“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.” — Romans 8:15
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh— my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.
6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord .
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord ; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord !
12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you.
14 He grants peace within your borders; he fills you with the finest of wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down hail like crumbs— who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his ordinances. Praise the Lord !
13 Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbors work for nothing, and does not give them their wages; 14 who says, “I will build myself a spacious house with large upper rooms,” and who cuts out windows for it, paneling it with cedar, and painting it with vermilion.
15 Are you a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. 16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? says the Lord. 17 But your eyes and heart are only on your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.
18 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah: They shall not lament for him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” or “Alas, sister!” They shall not lament for him, saying, “Alas, lord!” or “Alas, his majesty!” 19 With the burial of a donkey he shall be buried— dragged off and thrown out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
20 Go up to Lebanon, and cry out, and lift up your voice in Bashan; cry out from Abarim, for all your lovers are crushed. 21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, “I will not listen.” This has been your way from your youth, for you have not obeyed my voice. 22 The wind shall shepherd all your shepherds, and your lovers shall go into captivity; then you will be ashamed and dismayed because of all your wickedness. 23 O inhabitant of Lebanon, nested among the cedars, how you will groan when pangs come upon you, pain as of a woman in labor!
12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5 May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord ; let my cry come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call.
3 For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.
4 My heart is stricken and withered like grass; I am too wasted to eat my bread.
5 Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my skin.
6 I am like an owl of the wilderness, like a little owl of the waste places.
7 I lie awake; I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
8 All day long my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse.
9 For I eat ashes like bread, and mingle tears with my drink,
10 because of your indignation and anger; for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
11 My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.
12 But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; your name endures to all generations.
13 You will rise up and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to favor it; the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants hold its stones dear, and have pity on its dust.
15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16 For the Lord will build up Zion; he will appear in his glory.
17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.
18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord :
19 that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die;
21 so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem,
22 when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord .
23 He has broken my strength in midcourse; he has shortened my days.
24 “O my God,” I say, “do not take me away at the mid-point of my life, you whose years endure throughout all generations.”
25 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall live secure; their offspring shall be established in your presence.
You can also find all of today’s readings at PCUSA.org.