God our saviour,
look on this wounded world
in pity and in power;
hold us fast to your promises of peace
won for us by your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
11 Then Jesus said, ‘There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.” So he divided his property between them. 13A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.’ ” 20So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”22But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate.
25 ‘Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.” 28Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29But he answered his father, “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” 31Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.” ’
from Psalm 73
my feet were almost gone;
my steps had well-nigh slipped.
For I was envious of the proud;
I saw the wicked in such prosperity;
For they suffer no pains
and their bodies are sleek and sound;
They come to no misfortune like other folk;
nor are they plagued as others are;
Therefore pride is their necklace
and violence wraps them like a cloak.
Their iniquity comes from within;
the conceits of their hearts overflow.
They scoff, and speak only of evil;
they talk of oppression from on high.
They set their mouth against the heavens,
and their tongue ranges round the earth;
And so the people turn to them
and find in them no fault.
my heart became embittered
and I was pierced to the quick,
I was but foolish and ignorant;
I was like a brute beast in your presence.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with your counsel
and afterwards receive me with glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing upon earth that I desire
in comparison with you.
Though my flesh and my heart fail me,
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
Truly, those who forsake you will perish;
you will put to silence the faithless who betray you.
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
in the Lord God have I made my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.