Saturday 20 February

Holy God,
our lives are laid open before you:
rescue us from the chaos of sin
and through the death of your Son
bring us healing and make us whole
in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 4.1–18
If you return, O Israel,
says the Lord,
   if you return to me,
if you remove your abominations from my presence,
   and do not waver,
 and if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives!’
   in truth, in justice, and in uprightness,
then nations shall be blessed by him,
   and by him they shall boast.
 For thus says the Lord to the people of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem:
Break up your fallow ground,
   and do not sow among thorns.
 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
   remove the foreskin of your hearts,
   O people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
or else my wrath will go forth like fire,
   and burn with no one to quench it,
   because of the evil of your doings.
 Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:
Blow the trumpet through the land;
   shout aloud and say,
‘Gather together, and let us go
   into the fortified cities!’
 Raise a standard towards Zion,
   flee for safety, do not delay,
for I am bringing evil from the north,
   and a great destruction.
 A lion has gone up from its thicket,
   a destroyer of nations has set out;
   he has gone out from his place
to make your land a waste;
   your cities will be ruins
   without inhabitant.
 Because of this put on sackcloth,
   lament and wail:
‘The fierce anger of the Lord
   has not turned away from us.’
On that day, says the Lord, courage shall fail the king and the officials; the priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded. Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God, how utterly you have deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, “It shall be well with you”, even while the sword is at the throat!’
 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: A hot wind comes from me out of the bare heights in the desert towards my poor people, not to winnow or cleanse— a wind too strong for that. Now it is I who speak in judgement against them.
 Look! He comes up like clouds,
   his chariots like the whirlwind;
his horses are swifter than eagles—
   woe to us, for we are ruined!
 O Jerusalem, wash your heart clean of wickedness
   so that you may be saved.
How long shall your evil schemes
   lodge within you?
 For a voice declares from Dan
   and proclaims disaster from Mount Ephraim.
 Tell the nations, ‘Here they are!’
   Proclaim against Jerusalem,
‘Besiegers come from a distant land;
   they shout against the cities of Judah.
 They have closed in around her like watchers of a field,
   because she has rebelled against me,
says the Lord.
 Your ways and your doings
   have brought this upon you.
This is your doom; how bitter it is!
   It has reached your very heart.’

Psalm 71
    In you, O Lord, do I seek refuge;
   let me never be put to shame.
    In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free;
   incline your ear to me and save me.
    Be for me a stronghold to which I may ever resort;
   send out to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
    Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
   from the grasp of the evildoer and the oppressor.
    For you are my hope, O Lord God,
   my confidence, even from my youth.
    Upon you have I leaned from my birth,
      when you drew me from my mother’s womb;
   my praise shall be always of you.
    I have become a portent to many,
   but you are my refuge and my strength.
    Let my mouth be full of your praise
   and your glory all the day long.
    Do not cast me away in the time of old age;
   forsake me not when my strength fails.
      For my enemies are talking against me,
   and those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together.
      They say, ‘God has forsaken him;
      pursue him and take him,
   because there is none to deliver him.’
      O God, be not far from me;
   come quickly to help me, O my God.
      Let those who are against me
      be put to shame and disgrace;
   let those who seek to do me evil
      be covered with scorn and reproach.
      But as for me I will hope continually
   and will praise you more and more.
      My mouth shall tell of your righteousness
      and salvation all the day long,
   for I know no end of the telling.
      I will begin with the mighty works of the Lord God;
   I will recall your righteousness, yours alone.
      O God, you have taught me since I was young,
   and to this day I tell of your wonderful works.
      Forsake me not, O God,
      when I am old and grey-headed,
   till I make known your deeds to the next generation
      and your power to all that are to come.
      Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens;
   in the great things you have done, who is like you, O God?
      What troubles and adversities you have shown me,
   and yet you will turn and refresh me
      and bring me from the deep of the earth again.
      Increase my honour;
   turn again and comfort me.
      Therefore will I praise you upon the harp
      for your faithfulness, O my God;
   I will sing to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.
      My lips will sing out as I play to you,
   and so will my soul, which you have redeemed.
      My tongue also will tell of your righteousness all the day long,
   for they shall be shamed and disgraced
      who sought to do me evil.