Thursday 18 March

Collect
Lord God,
whose blessed Son our Saviour
gave his back to the smiters
and did not hide his face from shame:
give us grace to endure the sufferings of this present time
with sure confidence in the glory that shall be revealed;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 19.1–13
Thus said the Lord: Go and buy a potter’s earthenware jug. Take with you some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests, and go out to the valley of the son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you. You shall say: Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to bring such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. Because the people have forsaken me, and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah have known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent, and gone on building the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as burnt-offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it enter my mind; therefore the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter. And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth. And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at; everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and all shall eat the flesh of their neighbours in the siege, and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.
 Then you shall break the jug in the sight of those who go with you, and shall say to them: Thus says the Lord of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, so that it can never be mended. In Topheth they shall bury until there is no more room to bury. Thus will I do to this place, says the Lord, and to its inhabitants, making this city like Topheth. And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be defiled like the place of Topheth—all the houses upon whose roofs offerings have been made to the whole host of heaven, and libations have been poured out to other gods.

Psalm 143
    Hear my prayer, O Lord,
      and in your faithfulness give ear to my supplications;
   answer me in your righteousness.
    Enter not into judgement with your servant,
   for in your sight shall no one living be justified.
    For the enemy has pursued me,
      crushing my life to the ground,
   making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
    My spirit faints within me;
   my heart within me is desolate.
    I remember the time past; I muse upon all your deeds;
   I consider the works of your hands.
    I stretch out my hands to you;
   my soul gasps for you like a thirsty land.
    O Lord, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me;
   hide not your face from me
      lest I be like those who go down to the Pit.
    Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning,
      for in you I put my trust;
   show me the way I should walk in,
      for I lift up my soul to you.
    Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies,
   for I flee to you for refuge.
      Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God;
   let your kindly spirit lead me on a level path.
      Revive me, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
   for your righteousness’ sake, bring me out of trouble.
      In your faithfulness, slay my enemies,
      and destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
   for truly I am your servant.