Wednesday 10 February

Collect
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 8
Who is like the wise man?
   And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
Wisdom makes one’s face shine,
   and the hardness of one’s countenance is changed.
 Keep the king’s command because of your sacred oath. Do not be terrified; go from his presence, do not delay when the matter is unpleasant, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is powerful, and who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ Whoever obeys a command will meet no harm, and the wise mind will know the time and way. For every matter has its time and way, although the troubles of mortals lie heavy upon them. Indeed, they do not know what is to be, for who can tell them how it will be? No one has power over the wind to restrain the wind, or power over the day of death; there is no discharge from the battle, nor does wickedness deliver those who practise it. All this I observed, applying my mind to all that is done under the sun, while one person exercises authority over another to the other’s hurt.
 Then I saw the wicked buried; they used to go in and out of the holy place, and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. Because sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the human heart is fully set to do evil. Though sinners do evil a hundred times and prolong their lives, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they stand in fear before him, but it will not be well with the wicked, neither will they prolong their days like a shadow, because they do not stand in fear before God.
 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people who are treated according to the conduct of the wicked, and there are wicked people who are treated according to the conduct of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. So I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.
 When I applied my mind to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how one’s eyes see sleep neither day nor night, then I saw all the work of God, that no one can find out what is happening under the sun. However much they may toil in seeking, they will not find it out; even though those who are wise claim to know, they cannot find it out.

Psalm 34
    I will bless the Lord at all times;
   his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
    My soul shall glory in the Lord;
   let the humble hear and be glad.
    O magnify the Lord with me;
   let us exalt his name together.
    I sought the Lord and he answered me
   and delivered me from all my fears.
    Look upon him and be radiant
   and your faces shall not be ashamed.
    This poor soul cried, and the Lord heard me
   and saved me from all my troubles.
    The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him
   and delivers them.
    O taste and see that the Lord is gracious;
   blessed is the one who trusts in him.
    Fear the Lord, all you his holy ones,
   for those who fear him lack nothing.
      Lions may lack and suffer hunger,
   but those who seek the Lord
      lack nothing that is good.
      Come, my children, and listen to me;
   I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
      Who is there who delights in life
   and longs for days to enjoy good things?
      Keep your tongue from evil
   and your lips from lying words.
      Turn from evil and do good;
   seek peace and pursue it.
      The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous
   and his ears are open to their cry.
      The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
   to root out the remembrance of them from the earth.
      The righteous cry and the Lord hears them
   and delivers them out of all their troubles.
      The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
   and will save those who are crushed in spirit.
      Many are the troubles of the righteous;
   from them all will the Lord deliver them.
      He keeps all their bones,
   so that not one of them is broken.
      But evil shall slay the wicked
   and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
      The Lord ransoms the life of his servants
   and will condemn none who seek refuge in him.