Tuesday 2 March

Almighty God,
by the prayer and discipline of Lent
may we enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings,
and by following in his Way
come to share in his glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 8.1–15
At that time, says the Lord, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs; and they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have followed, and which they have inquired of and worshipped; and they shall not be gathered or buried; they shall be like dung on the surface of the ground. Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, says the Lord of hosts.
 You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord:
When people fall, do they not get up again?
   If they go astray, do they not turn back?
 Why then has this people turned away
   in perpetual backsliding?
They have held fast to deceit,
   they have refused to return.
 I have given heed and listened,
   but they do not speak honestly;
no one repents of wickedness,
   saying, ‘What have I done!’
All of them turn to their own course,
   like a horse plunging headlong into battle.
 Even the stork in the heavens
   knows its times;
and the turtle-dove, swallow, and crane
   observe the time of their coming;
but my people do not know
   the ordinance of the Lord.
 How can you say, ‘We are wise,
   and the law of the Lord is with us’,
when, in fact, the false pen of the scribes
   has made it into a lie?
 The wise shall be put to shame,
   they shall be dismayed and taken;
since they have rejected the word of the Lord,
   what wisdom is in them?
 Therefore I will give their wives to others
   and their fields to conquerors,
because from the least to the greatest
   everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
from prophet to priest
   everyone deals falsely.
 They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
   saying, ‘Peace, peace’,
   when there is no peace.
 They acted shamefully, they committed abomination;
   yet they were not at all ashamed,
   they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
   at the time when I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
says the Lord.
 When I wanted to gather them, says the Lord,
   there are no grapes on the vine,
   nor figs on the fig tree;
even the leaves are withered,
   and what I gave them has passed away from them.
 Why do we sit still?
Gather together, let us go into the fortified cities
   and perish there;
for the Lord our God has doomed us to perish,
   and has given us poisoned water to drink,
   because we have sinned against the Lord.
 We look for peace, but find no good,
   for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.

Psalm 50
    The Lord, the most mighty God, has spoken
   and called the world from the rising of the sun to its setting.
    Out of Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth;
   our God comes and will not keep silence.
    Consuming fire goes out before him
   and a mighty tempest stirs about him.
    He calls the heaven above,
   and the earth, that he may judge his people:
    ‘Gather to me my faithful,
   who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.’
    Let the heavens declare his righteousness,
   for God himself is judge.
    Hear, O my people, and I will speak:
   ‘I will testify against you, O Israel;
      for I am God, your God.
    ‘I will not reprove you for your sacrifices,
   for your burnt offerings are always before me.
    ‘I will take no bull out of your house,
   nor he-goat out of your folds,
      ‘For all the beasts of the forest are mine,
   the cattle upon a thousand hills.
      ‘I know every bird of the mountains
   and the insect of the field is mine.
      ‘If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
   for the whole world is mine and all that fills it.
      ‘Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls,
   or drink the blood of goats?
      ‘Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
   and fulfil your vows to God Most High.
      ‘Call upon me in the day of trouble;
   I will deliver you and you shall honour me.’
      But to the wicked, says God:
   ‘Why do you recite my statutes
      and take my covenant upon your lips,
      ‘Since you refuse to be disciplined
   and have cast my words behind you?
      ‘When you saw a thief, you made friends with him
   and you threw in your lot with adulterers.
      ‘You have loosed your lips for evil
   and harnessed your tongue to deceit.
      ‘You sit and speak evil of your brother;
   you slander your own mother’s son.
      ‘These things have you done, and should I keep silence?
   Did you think that I am even such a one as yourself?
      ‘But no, I must reprove you,
   and set before your eyes the things that you have done.
      ‘You that forget God, consider this well,
   lest I tear you apart and there is none to deliver you.
      ‘Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me
   and to those who keep my way
      will I show the salvation of God.’