O God, you declare your almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,
that we, running the way of your commandments,
may receive your gracious promises,
and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’
For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
O Lord, hear my prayer
and let my crying come before you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
when I call, make haste to answer me,
For my days are consumed in smoke
and my bones burn away as in a furnace.
My heart is smitten down and withered like grass,
so that I forget to eat my bread.
From the sound of my groaning
my bones cleave fast to my skin.
I am become like a vulture in the wilderness,
like an owl that haunts the ruins.
I keep watch and am become like a sparrow
solitary upon the housetop.
My enemies revile me all the day long,
and those who rage at me have sworn together against me.
I have eaten ashes for bread
and mingled my drink with weeping,
Because of your indignation and wrath,
for you have taken me up and cast me down.
My days fade away like a shadow,
and I am withered like grass.
But you, O Lord, shall endure for ever
and your name through all generations.
You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is time to have mercy upon her;
surely the time has come.
For your servants love her very stones
and feel compassion for her dust.
Then shall the nations fear your name, O Lord,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the Lord has built up Zion
and shown himself in glory;
When he has turned to the prayer of the destitute
and has not despised their plea.
This shall be written for those that come after,
and a people yet unborn shall praise the Lord.
For he has looked down from his holy height;
from the heavens he beheld the earth,
That he might hear the sighings of the prisoner
and set free those condemned to die;
That the name of the Lord may be proclaimed in Zion
and his praises in Jerusalem,
When peoples are gathered together
and kingdoms also, to serve the Lord.
He has brought down my strength in my journey
and has shortened my days.
I pray, ‘O my God, do not take me in the midst of my days;
your years endure throughout all generations.
‘In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
‘They shall perish, but you will endure;
they all shall wear out like a garment.
‘You change them like clothing, and they shall be changed;
but you are the same, and your years will not fail.
‘The children of your servants shall continue,
and their descendants shall be established in your sight.’