Strengthen us for service, Lord:
may the ears that hear your word
be deaf to clamour and dispute;
may the tongues which have sung your praise
be free from deceit;
may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love
shine with the light of hope;
and may our hands do the work of Christ;
glory to you for ever. Amen.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith without works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’, and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.
From Psalm 36
Sin whispers to the wicked, in the depths of their heart;
there is no fear of God before their eyes.
They flatter themselves in their own eyes
that their abominable sin will not be found out.
The words of their mouth are unrighteous and full of deceit;
they have ceased to act wisely and to do good.
They think out mischief upon their beds
and have set themselves in no good way;
nor do they abhor that which is evil.
For with you is the well of life
and in your light shall we see light.
O continue your loving-kindness to those who know you
and your righteousness to those who are true of heart.
Let not the foot of pride come against me,
nor the hand of the ungodly thrust me away.
There are they fallen, all who work wickedness.
They are cast down and shall not be able to stand.