Friday 18 June

Faithful Creator,
whose mercy never fails:
deepen our faithfulness to you
and to your living Word,
Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Romans 11.1–12
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? ‘Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.’ But what is the divine reply to him? ‘I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,
‘God gave them a sluggish spirit,
   eyes that would not see
   and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.’
And David says,
‘Let their table become a snare and a trap,
   a stumbling-block and a retribution for them;
 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
   and keep their backs for ever bent.’
 So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

Psalm 51
    Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness;
   according to the abundance of your compassion
      blot out my offences.
    Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness
   and cleanse me from my sin.
    For I acknowledge my faults
   and my sin is ever before me.
    Against you only have I sinned
   and done what is evil in your sight,
    So that you are justified in your sentence
   and righteous in your judgement.
    I have been wicked even from my birth,
   a sinner when my mother conceived me.
    Behold, you desire truth deep within me
   and shall make me understand wisdom
      in the depths of my heart.
    Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean;
   wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
    Make me hear of joy and gladness,
   that the bones you have broken may rejoice.
      Turn your face from my sins
   and blot out all my misdeeds.
      Make me a clean heart, O God,
   and renew a right spirit within me.
      Cast me not away from your presence
   and take not your holy spirit from me.
      Give me again the joy of your salvation
   and sustain me with your gracious spirit;
      Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked
   and sinners shall return to you.
      Deliver me from my guilt, O God,
      the God of my salvation,
   and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness.
      O Lord, open my lips
   and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
      For you desire no sacrifice, else I would give it;
   you take no delight in burnt offerings.
      The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit;
   a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
      O be favourable and gracious to Zion;
   build up the walls of Jerusalem.
      Then you will accept sacrifices offered in righteousness,
      the burnt offerings and oblations;
   then shall they offer up bulls on your altar.