Sunday 11 July

Collect
Merciful God,
you have prepared for those who love you
such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love toward you
that we, loving you in all things and above all things,
may obtain your promises,
which exceed all that we can desire;
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.

Acts 28.17–31
 Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, ‘Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor—even though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.’ They replied, ‘We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken anything evil about you. But we would like to hear from you what you think, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.’
After they had fixed a day to meet him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets. Some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe. So they disagreed with each other; and as they were leaving, Paul made one further statement: ‘The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah,
 “Go to this people and say,
You will indeed listen, but never understand,
   and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
   and their ears are hard of hearing,
     and they have shut their eyes;
     so that they might not look with their eyes,
   and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
   and I would heal them.”
Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.’
He lived there for two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, 31proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Psalm 65
    Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion;
   to you that answer prayer shall vows be paid.
    To you shall all flesh come to confess their sins;
   when our misdeeds prevail against us,
      you will purge them away.
    Happy are they whom you choose
      and draw to your courts to dwell there.
   We shall be satisfied with the blessings of your house,
      even of your holy temple.
    With wonders you will answer us in your righteousness,
      O God of our salvation,
   O hope of all the ends of the earth
      and of the farthest seas.
    In your strength you set fast the mountains
   and are girded about with might.
    You still the raging of the seas,
   the roaring of their waves
      and the clamour of the peoples.
    Those who dwell at the ends of the earth
      tremble at your marvels;
   the gates of the morning and evening sing your praise.
    You visit the earth and water it;
   you make it very plenteous.
    The river of God is full of water;
   you prepare grain for your people,
      for so you provide for the earth.
      You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges;
   you soften the ground with showers and bless its increase.
      You crown the year with your goodness,
   and your paths overflow with plenty.
      May the pastures of the wilderness flow with goodness
   and the hills be girded with joy.
      May the meadows be clothed with flocks of sheep
   and the valleys stand so thick with corn
      that they shall laugh and sing.