Saturday 20 March

Collect
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 20.7-18
 O Lord, you have enticed me,
   and I was enticed;
you have overpowered me,
   and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughing-stock all day long;
   everyone mocks me.
 For whenever I speak, I must cry out,
   I must shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’
For the word of the Lord has become for me
   a reproach and derision all day long.
 If I say, ‘I will not mention him,
   or speak any more in his name’,
then within me there is something like a burning fire
   shut up in my bones;
I am weary with holding it in,
   and I cannot.
 For I hear many whispering:
   ‘Terror is all around!
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’
   All my close friends
   are watching for me to stumble.
‘Perhaps he can be enticed,
   and we can prevail against him,
   and take our revenge on him.’
 But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior;
   therefore my persecutors will stumble,
   and they will not prevail.
They will be greatly shamed,
   for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonour
   will never be forgotten.
 O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous,
   you see the heart and the mind;
let me see your retribution upon them,
   for to you I have committed my cause.
 Sing to the Lord;
   praise the Lord!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
   from the hands of evildoers.
 Cursed be the day
   on which I was born!
The day when my mother bore me,
   let it not be blessed!
 Cursed be the man
   who brought the news to my father, saying,
‘A child is born to you, a son’,
   making him very glad.
 Let that man be like the cities
   that the Lord overthrew without pity;
let him hear a cry in the morning
   and an alarm at noon,
 because he did not kill me in the womb;
   so my mother would have been my grave,
   and her womb for ever great.
 Why did I come forth from the womb
   to see toil and sorrow,
   and spend my days in shame?

Psalm 32
    Happy the one whose transgression is forgiven,
   and whose sin is covered.
    Happy the one to whom the Lord imputes no guilt,
   and in whose spirit there is no guile.
    For I held my tongue;
   my bones wasted away
      through my groaning all the day long.
    Your hand was heavy upon me day and night;
   my moisture was dried up like the drought in summer.
    Then I acknowledged my sin to you
   and my iniquity I did not hide.
    I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’
   and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
    Therefore let all the faithful make their prayers to you
      in time of trouble;
   in the great water flood, it shall not reach them.
    You are a place for me to hide in;
      you preserve me from trouble;
   you surround me with songs of deliverance.
    ‘I will instruct you and teach you
      in the way that you should go;
   I will guide you with my eye.
      ‘Be not like horse and mule which have no understanding;
   whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle,
      or else they will not stay near you.’
      Great tribulations remain for the wicked,
   but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.
      Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord;
   shout for joy, all who are true of heart.