Friday 5 March

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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 10.1–16
    Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.   Thus says the Lord:
Do not learn the way of the nations,
   or be dismayed at the signs of the heavens;
   for the nations are dismayed at them.
   For the customs of the peoples are false:
a tree from the forest is cut down,
   and worked with an axe by the hands of an artisan;
   people deck it with silver and gold;
   they fasten it with hammer and nails
   so that it cannot move.
   Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
   and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
   for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
   for they cannot do evil,
   nor is it in them to do good.
   There is none like you, O Lord;
   you are great, and your name is great in might.
   Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?
   For that is your due;
among all the wise ones of the nations
   and in all their kingdoms
   there is no one like you.
   They are both stupid and foolish;
   the instruction given by idols
   is no better than wood!
   Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish,
   and gold from Uphaz.
They are the work of the artisan and of the hands of the goldsmith;
   their clothing is blue and purple;
   they are all the product of skilled workers.
     But the Lord is the true God;
   he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
   and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
     Thus shall you say to them: The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.
     It is he who made the earth by his power,
   who established the world by his wisdom,
   and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
     When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
   and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightnings for the rain,
   and he brings out the wind from his storehouses.
     Everyone is stupid and without knowledge;
   goldsmiths are all put to shame by their idols;
for their images are false,
   and there is no breath in them.
     They are worthless, a work of delusion;
   at the time of their punishment they shall perish.
     Not like these is the Lord, the portion of Jacob,
   for he is the one who formed all things,
and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;
   the Lord of hosts is his name.

Psalm 41
    Blessed are those who consider the poor and needy;
   the Lord will deliver them in the time of trouble.
    The Lord preserves them and restores their life,
      that they may be happy in the land;
   he will not hand them over to the will of their enemies.
    The Lord sustains them on their sickbed;
   their sickness, Lord, you will remove.
    And so I said, ‘Lord, be merciful to me;
   heal me, for I have sinned against you.’
    My enemies speak evil about me,
   asking when I shall die and my name perish.
    If they come to see me, they utter empty words;
   their heart gathers mischief;
      when they go out, they tell it abroad.
    All my enemies whisper together against me,
   against me they devise evil,
    Saying that a deadly thing has laid hold on me,
   and that I will not rise again from where I lie.
    Even my bosom friend, whom I trusted,
      who ate of my bread,
   has lifted up his heel against me.
      But you, O Lord, be merciful to me
   and raise me up, that I may reward them.
      By this I know that you favour me,
   that my enemy does not triumph over me.
      Because of my integrity you uphold me
   and will set me before your face for ever.
      Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
   from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.