Wednesday 24 March

Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 22.1–5, 13–19
Thus says the Lord: Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, and say: Hear the word of the Lord, O King of Judah sitting on the throne of David—you, and your servants, and your people who enter these gates. Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. For if you will indeed obey this word, then through the gates of this house shall enter kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their servants, and their people. But if you will not heed these words, I swear by myself, says the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.
 Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness,
   and his upper rooms by injustice;
who makes his neighbours work for nothing,
   and does not give them their wages;
 who says, ‘I will build myself a spacious house
   with large upper rooms’,
and who cuts out windows for it,
   panelling it with cedar,
   and painting it with vermilion.
 Are you a king
   because you compete in cedar?
Did not your father eat and drink
   and do justice and righteousness?
   Then it was well with him.
 He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
   then it was well.
Is not this to know me?
   says the Lord.
 But your eyes and heart
   are only on your dishonest gain,
for shedding innocent blood,
   and for practising oppression and violence.
 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah:
They shall not lament for him, saying,
   ‘Alas, my brother!’ or ‘Alas, sister!’
They shall not lament for him, saying,
   ‘Alas, lord!’ or ‘Alas, his majesty!’
 With the burial of a donkey he shall be buried—
   dragged off and thrown out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.

Psalm 35
    Contend, O Lord, with those that contend with me;
   fight against those that fight against me.
    Take up shield and buckler
   and rise up to help me.
    Draw the spear and bar the way
      against those who pursue me;
   say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’
    Let those who seek after my life be shamed and disgraced;
   let those who plot my ruin fall back and be put to confusion.
    Let them be as chaff before the wind,
   with the angel of the Lord thrusting them down.
    Let their way be dark and slippery,
   with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
    For they have secretly spread a net for me without a cause;
   without any cause they have dug a pit for my soul.
    Let ruin come upon them unawares;
   let them be caught in the net they laid;
      let them fall in it to their destruction.
    Then will my soul be joyful in the Lord
   and glory in his salvation.
      My very bones will say, ‘Lord, who is like you?
   You deliver the poor from those that are too strong for them,
      the poor and needy from those who would despoil them.’
      False witnesses rose up against me;
   they charged me with things I knew not.
      They rewarded me evil for good,
   to the desolation of my soul.
      But as for me, when they were sick I put on sackcloth
   and humbled myself with fasting;
      When my prayer returned empty to my bosom,
   it was as though I grieved for my friend or brother;
      I behaved as one who mourns for his mother,
   bowed down and brought very low.
      But when I stumbled, they gathered in delight;
      they gathered together against me;
   as if they were strangers I did not know
      they tore at me without ceasing.
      When I fell they mocked me;
   they gnashed at me with their teeth.
      O Lord, how long will you look on?
   Rescue my soul from their ravages,
      and my poor life from the young lions.
      I will give you thanks in the great congregation;
   I will praise you in the mighty throng.
      Do not let my treacherous foes rejoice over me,
   or those who hate me without a cause
      mock me with their glances.
      For they do not speak of peace,
   but invent deceitful schemes against those that are quiet in the land.
      They opened wide their mouths and derided me, saying
   ‘We have seen it with our very eyes.’
      This you have seen, O Lord; do not keep silent;
   go not far from me, O Lord.
      Awake, arise, to my cause,
   to my defence, my God and my Lord!
      Give me justice, O Lord my God,
      according to your righteousness;
   let them not triumph over me.
      Let them not say to themselves,
      ‘Our heart’s desire!’
   Let them not say, ‘We have swallowed him up.’
      Let all who rejoice at my trouble be put to shame and confusion;
   let those who boast against me
      be clothed with shame and dishonour.
      Let those who favour my cause rejoice and be glad;
   let them say always,
      ‘Great is the Lord, who delights in his servant’s well-being.’
      So shall my tongue be talking of your righteousness
   and of your praise all the day long.