Friday 12 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 11.1–8
Send out your bread upon the waters,
   for after many days you will get it back.
 Divide your means seven ways, or even eight,
   for you do not know what disaster may happen on earth.
 When clouds are full,
   they empty rain on the earth;
whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,
   in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
 Whoever observes the wind will not sow;
   and whoever regards the clouds will not reap.
 Just as you do not know how the breath comes to the bones in the mother’s womb, so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything.
 In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hands be idle; for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
 Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.
 Even those who live for many years should rejoice in them all; yet let them remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.

Psalm 31
    In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
      let me never be put to shame;
   deliver me in your righteousness.
    Incline your ear to me;
   make haste to deliver me.
    Be my strong rock, a fortress to save me,
      for you are my rock and my stronghold;
   guide me, and lead me for your name’s sake.
    Take me out of the net
      that they have laid secretly for me,
   for you are my strength.
    Into your hands I commend my spirit,
   for you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
    I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
   I put my trust in the Lord.
    I will be glad and rejoice in your mercy,
   for you have seen my affliction
      and known my soul in adversity.
    You have not shut me up in the hand of the enemy;
   you have set my feet in an open place.
    Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in trouble;
   my eye is consumed with sorrow,
      my soul and my body also.
      For my life is wasted with grief,
      and my years with sighing;
   my strength fails me because of my affliction,
      and my bones are consumed.
      I have become a reproach to all my enemies
      and even to my neighbours,
      an object of dread to my acquaintances;
   when they see me in the street they flee from me.
      I am forgotten like one that is dead, out of mind;
   I have become like a broken vessel.
      For I have heard the whispering of the crowd;
      fear is on every side;
   they scheme together against me,
      and plot to take my life.
      But my trust is in you, O Lord.
   I have said, ‘You are my God.
      ‘My times are in your hand;
   deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
      and from those who persecute me.
      ‘Make your face to shine upon your servant,
   and save me for your mercy’s sake.’
      Lord, let me not be confounded
      for I have called upon you;
   but let the wicked be put to shame;
      let them be silent in the grave.
      Let the lying lips be put to silence
   that speak against the righteous
      with arrogance, disdain and contempt.
      How abundant is your goodness, O Lord,
      which you have laid up for those who fear you;
   which you have prepared in the sight of all
      for those who put their trust in you.
      You hide them in the shelter of your presence
      from those who slander them;
   you keep them safe in your refuge from the strife of tongues.
      Blessed be the Lord!
   For he has shown me his steadfast love
      when I was as a city besieged.
      I had said in my alarm,
      ‘I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes.’
   Nevertheless, you heard the voice of my prayer
      when I cried out to you.
      Love the Lord, all you his servants;
   for the Lord protects the faithful,
      but repays to the full the proud.
      Be strong and let your heart take courage,
   all you who wait in hope for the Lord.