Wednesday 17 March

Merciful Lord,
absolve your people from their offences,
that through your bountiful goodness
we may all be delivered from the chains of those sins
which by our frailty we have committed;
grant this, heavenly Father,
for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 18.13-23
 Therefore, thus says the Lord:
Ask among the nations:
   Who has heard the like of this?
The virgin Israel has done
   a most horrible thing.
 Does the snow of Lebanon leave
   the crags of Sirion?
Do the mountain waters run dry,
   the cold flowing streams?
 But my people have forgotten me,
   they burn offerings to a delusion;
they have stumbled in their ways,
   in the ancient roads,
and have gone into bypaths,
   not the highway,
 making their land a horror,
   a thing to be hissed at for ever.
All who pass by it are horrified
   and shake their heads.
 Like the wind from the east,
   I will scatter them before the enemy.
I will show them my back, not my face,
   on the day of their calamity.
 Then they said, ‘Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah—for instruction shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us bring charges against him, and let us not heed any of his words.’
 Give heed to me, O Lord,
   and listen to what my adversaries say!
 Is evil a recompense for good?
   Yet they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember how I stood before you
   to speak good for them,
   to turn away your wrath from them.
 Therefore give their children over to famine;
   hurl them out to the power of the sword,
let their wives become childless and widowed.
   May their men meet death by pestilence,
   their youths be slain by the sword in battle.
 May a cry be heard from their houses,
   when you bring the marauder suddenly upon them!
For they have dug a pit to catch me,
   and laid snares for my feet.
 Yet you, O Lord, know
   all their plotting to kill me.
Do not forgive their iniquity,
   do not blot out their sin from your sight.
Let them be tripped up before you;
   deal with them while you are angry.

Psalm 90
    Lord, you have been our refuge
   from one generation to another.
    Before the mountains were brought forth,
      or the earth and the world were formed,
   from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
    You turn us back to dust and say:
   ‘Turn back, O children of earth.’
    For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday,
   which passes like a watch in the night.
    You sweep them away like a dream;
   they fade away suddenly like the grass.
    In the morning it is green and flourishes;
   in the evening it is dried up and withered.
    For we consume away in your displeasure;
   we are afraid at your wrathful indignation.
    You have set our misdeeds before you
   and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
    When you are angry, all our days are gone;
   our years come to an end like a sigh.
      The days of our life are three score years and ten,
      or if our strength endures, even four score;
   yet the sum of them is but labour and sorrow,
      for they soon pass away and we are gone.
      Who regards the power of your wrath
   and your indignation like those who fear you?
      So teach us to number our days
   that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
      Turn again, O Lord; how long will you delay?
   Have compassion on your servants.
      Satisfy us with your loving-kindness in the morning,
   that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
      Give us gladness for the days you have afflicted us,
   and for the years in which we have seen adversity.
      Show your servants your works,
   and let your glory be over their children.
      May the gracious favour of the Lord our God be upon us;
   prosper our handiwork; O prosper the work of our hands.