O God, the protector of all who trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that with you as our ruler and guide
we may so pass through things temporal
that we lose not our hold on things eternal;
grant this, heavenly Father,
for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
2 Corinthians 8.7–15
Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.
I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something— now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,
‘The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.’
I will exalt you, O Lord,
because you have raised me up
and have not let my foes triumph over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to you
and you have healed me.
You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead;
you restored me to life from among those that go down to the Pit.
Sing to the Lord, you servants of his;
give thanks to his holy name.
For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye,
his favour for a lifetime.
Heaviness may endure for a night,
but joy comes in the morning.
In my prosperity I said,
‘I shall never be moved.
You, Lord, of your goodness,
have made my hill so strong.’
Then you hid your face from me
and I was utterly dismayed.
To you, O Lord, I cried;
to the Lord I made my supplication:
‘What profit is there in my blood,
if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
‘Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me;
O Lord, be my helper.’
You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness;
Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing;
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.