Sunday 2 May

Collect
Almighty God,
who through your only–begotten Son Jesus Christ
have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
grant that, as by your grace going before us
   you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help
we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 8.26–40
 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
   and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
     so he does not open his mouth.
 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
   Who can describe his generation?
     For his life is taken away from the earth.’
The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Psalm 44.16–27
      My confusion is daily before me,
   and shame has covered my face,
      At the taunts of the slanderer and reviler,
   at the sight of the enemy and avenger.
      All this has come upon us,
      though we have not forgotten you
   and have not played false to your covenant.
      Our hearts have not turned back,
   nor our steps gone out of your way,
      Yet you have crushed us in the haunt of jackals,
   and covered us with the shadow of death.
      If we have forgotten the name of our God,
   or stretched out our hands to any strange god,
      Will not God search it out?
   For he knows the secrets of the heart.
      But for your sake are we killed all the day long,
   and are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
      Rise up! Why sleep, O Lord?
   Awake, and do not reject us for ever.
      Why do you hide your face
   and forget our grief and oppression?
      Our soul is bowed down to the dust;
   our belly cleaves to the earth.
      Rise up, O Lord, to help us
   and redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.