Monday 26 April

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Merciful Father,
you gave your Son Jesus Christ to be the good shepherd,
and in his love for us to lay down his life and rise again:
keep us always under his protection,
and give us grace to follow in his steps;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ephesians 4.7–16
 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said,
‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
   he gave gifts to his people.’
(When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Psalm 119.9–16
    How shall young people cleanse their way︎
   to keep themselves according to your word?
      With my whole heart have I sought you;︎
   O let me not go astray from your commandments.
      Your words have I hidden within my heart,︎
   that I should not sin against you.
      Blessed are you, O Lord;︎
   O teach me your statutes.
      With my lips have I been telling︎
   of all the judgements of your mouth.
      I have taken greater delight in the way of your testimonies︎
   than in all manner of riches.
      I will meditate on your commandments︎
   and contemplate your ways.
      My delight shall be in your statutes︎
   and I will not forget your word.