Lord God, the source of truth and love,
keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,
united in prayer and the breaking of bread,
and one in joy and simplicity of heart,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
‘For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’
Why are the nations in tumult,
and why do the peoples devise a vain plot?
The kings of the earth rise up,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his anointed:
‘Let us break their bonds asunder
and cast away their cords from us.’
He who dwells in heaven shall laugh them to scorn;
the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak to them in his wrath
and terrify them in his fury:
‘Yet have I set my king
upon my holy hill of Zion.’
I will proclaim the decree of the Lord;
he said to me: ‘You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.
‘Ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
‘You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’
Now therefore be wise, O kings;
be prudent, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, and with trembling kiss his feet,
lest he be angry and you perish from the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all they
who take refuge in him.