Monday 8 February

Almighty God,
you have created the heavens and the earth
and made us in your own image:
teach us to discern your hand in all your works
and your likeness in all your children;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things,
now and for ever.  Amen.

Ecclesiastes 7.1–14
A good name is better than precious ointment,
   and the day of death, than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning
   than to go to the house of feasting;
for this is the end of everyone,
   and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
   for by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning;
   but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise
   than to hear the song of fools.
For like the crackling of thorns under a pot,
   so is the laughter of fools;
   this also is vanity.
Surely oppression makes the wise foolish,
   and a bribe corrupts the heart.
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning;
   the patient in spirit are better than the proud in spirit.
Do not be quick to anger,
   for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’
   For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Wisdom is as good as an inheritance,
   an advantage to those who see the sun.
For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
   and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to the one who possesses it.
Consider the work of God;
   who can make straight what he has made crooked?
On the day of prosperity be joyful, and on the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that mortals may not find out anything that will come after them.

Psalm 30
  I will exalt you, O Lord,
      because you have raised me up
   and have not let my foes triumph over me.
  O Lord my God, I cried out to you
   and you have healed me.
  You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead;
   you restored me to life from among those that go down to the Pit.
  Sing to the Lord, you servants of his;
   give thanks to his holy name.
  For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye,
      his favour for a lifetime.
   Heaviness may endure for a night,
      but joy comes in the morning.
  In my prosperity I said,
      ‘I shall never be moved.
   You, Lord, of your goodness,
      have made my hill so strong.’
  Then you hid your face from me
   and I was utterly dismayed.
  To you, O Lord, I cried;
   to the Lord I made my supplication:
  ‘What profit is there in my blood,
      if I go down to the Pit?
   Will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
  ‘Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me;
   O Lord, be my helper.’
  You have turned my mourning into dancing;
   you have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness;
  Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing;
   O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.