Sunday 28 March

Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race
   sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
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.

Mark 12.1–12
Then he began to speak to them in parables. ‘A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watch-tower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” But those tenants said to one another, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture:
“The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the cornerstone;
 this was the Lord’s doing,
   and it is amazing in our eyes”?’
When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.

   (see also Isaiah 5)

Psalm 69
    Save me, O God,
   for the waters have come up, even to my neck.
    I sink in deep mire where there is no foothold;
   I have come into deep waters and the flood sweeps over me.
    I have grown weary with crying; my throat is raw;
   my eyes have failed from looking so long for my God.
    Those who hate me without any cause
   are more than the hairs of my head;
    Those who would destroy me are mighty;
   my enemies accuse me falsely:
      must I now give back what I never stole?
    O God, you know my foolishness,
   and my faults are not hidden from you.
    Let not those who hope in you
      be put to shame through me, Lord God of hosts;
   let not those who seek you be disgraced because of me,
      O God of Israel.
    For your sake have I suffered reproach;
   shame has covered my face.
    I have become a stranger to my kindred,
   an alien to my mother’s children.
      Zeal for your house has eaten me up;
   the scorn of those who scorn you has fallen upon me.
      I humbled myself with fasting,
   but that was turned to my reproach.
      I put on sackcloth also
   and became a byword among them.
      Those who sit at the gate murmur against me,
   and the drunkards make songs about me.
      But as for me, I make my prayer to you, O Lord;
   at an acceptable time, O God.
      Answer me, O God, in the abundance of your mercy
   and with your sure salvation.
      Draw me out of the mire, that I sink not;
   let me be rescued from those who hate me
      and out of the deep waters.
      Let not the water flood drown me,
      neither the deep swallow me up;
   let not the Pit shut its mouth upon me.
      Answer me, Lord, for your loving-kindness is good;
   turn to me in the multitude of your mercies.
      Hide not your face from your servant;
   be swift to answer me, for I am in trouble.
      Draw near to my soul and redeem me;
   deliver me because of my enemies.