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God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit
upon your Church in the burning fire of your love:
grant that your people may be fervent
in the fellowship of the gospel
that, always abiding in you,
they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service;
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.
Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. And they came and said to him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?’ But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, ‘Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.’ And they brought one. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they were utterly amazed at him.
from Psalm 35
Contend, O Lord, with those that contend with me;
fight against those that fight against me.
Take up shield and buckler
and rise up to help me.
Draw the spear and bar the way
against those who pursue me;
say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’
Let those who seek after my life be shamed and disgraced;
let those who plot my ruin fall back and be put to confusion.
Let them be as chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the Lord thrusting them down.
Let their way be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
For they have secretly spread a net for me without a cause;
without any cause they have dug a pit for my soul.
Let ruin come upon them unawares;
let them be caught in the net they laid;
let them fall in it to their destruction.
Then will my soul be joyful in the Lord
and glory in his salvation.