Tuesday 9 February

Collect
Almighty God,
give us reverence for all creation
and respect for every person,
that we may mirror your likeness
in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ecclesiastes 7.15-29
In my vain life I have seen everything; there are righteous people who perish in their righteousness, and there are wicked people who prolong their life in their evildoing. Do not be too righteous, and do not act too wise; why should you destroy yourself? Do not be too wicked, and do not be a fool; why should you die before your time? It is good that you should take hold of the one, without letting go of the other; for the one who fears God shall succeed with both.
 Wisdom gives strength to the wise more than ten rulers that are in a city.
 Surely there is no one on earth so righteous as to do good without ever sinning.
 Do not give heed to everything that people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you; your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others.
 All this I have tested by wisdom; I said, ‘I will be wise’, but it was far from me. That which is, is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out? I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know that wickedness is folly and that foolishness is madness. I found more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are fetters; one who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. See, this is what I found, says the Teacher, adding one thing to another to find the sum, which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. See, this alone I found, that God made human beings straightforward, but they have devised many schemes.

Psalm 32
    Happy the one whose transgression is forgiven,
   and whose sin is covered.
    Happy the one to whom the Lord imputes no guilt,
   and in whose spirit there is no guile.
    For I held my tongue;
   my bones wasted away
      through my groaning all the day long.
    Your hand was heavy upon me day and night;
   my moisture was dried up like the drought in summer.
    Then I acknowledged my sin to you
   and my iniquity I did not hide.
    I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’
   and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
    Therefore let all the faithful make their prayers to you
      in time of trouble;
   in the great water flood, it shall not reach them.
    You are a place for me to hide in;
      you preserve me from trouble;
   you surround me with songs of deliverance.
    ‘I will instruct you and teach you
      in the way that you should go;
   I will guide you with my eye.
      ‘Be not like horse and mule which have no understanding;
   whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle,
      or else they will not stay near you.’
      Great tribulations remain for the wicked,
   but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.
      Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord;
   shout for joy, all who are true of heart.

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