Friday 30 July

Strengthen for service, Lord,
the hands we offer to you;
may the ears which we hear your word
   be deaf to clamour and dispute;
may the tongues which sing your praise be free from deceit;
may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love
   shine with the light of hope;
and may the bodies which you nourish
   be refreshed with the fullness of your life;
glory to you for ever.  Amen.

James 4.13–5.6
 Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Listen! The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts on a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.

Psalm 31
    In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
      let me never be put to shame;
   deliver me in your righteousness.
    Incline your ear to me;
   make haste to deliver me.
    Be my strong rock, a fortress to save me,
      for you are my rock and my stronghold;
   guide me, and lead me for your name’s sake.
    Take me out of the net
      that they have laid secretly for me,
   for you are my strength.
    Into your hands I commend my spirit,
   for you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
    I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
   I put my trust in the Lord.
    I will be glad and rejoice in your mercy,
   for you have seen my affliction
      and known my soul in adversity.
    You have not shut me up in the hand of the enemy;
   you have set my feet in an open place.
    Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in trouble;
   my eye is consumed with sorrow,
      my soul and my body also.
      For my life is wasted with grief,
      and my years with sighing;
   my strength fails me because of my affliction,
      and my bones are consumed.
      I have become a reproach to all my enemies
      and even to my neighbours,
      an object of dread to my acquaintances;
   when they see me in the street they flee from me.
      I am forgotten like one that is dead, out of mind;
   I have become like a broken vessel.
      For I have heard the whispering of the crowd;
      fear is on every side;
   they scheme together against me,
      and plot to take my life.
      But my trust is in you, O Lord.
   I have said, ‘You are my God.
      ‘My times are in your hand;
   deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
      and from those who persecute me.
      ‘Make your face to shine upon your servant,
   and save me for your mercy’s sake.’
      Lord, let me not be confounded
      for I have called upon you;
   but let the wicked be put to shame;
      let them be silent in the grave.
      Let the lying lips be put to silence
   that speak against the righteous
      with arrogance, disdain and contempt.
      How abundant is your goodness, O Lord,
      which you have laid up for those who fear you;
   which you have prepared in the sight of all
      for those who put their trust in you.
      You hide them in the shelter of your presence
      from those who slander them;
   you keep them safe in your refuge from the strife of tongues.
      Blessed be the Lord!
   For he has shown me his steadfast love
      when I was as a city besieged.
      I had said in my alarm,
      ‘I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes.’
   Nevertheless, you heard the voice of my prayer
      when I cried out to you.
      Love the Lord, all you his servants;
   for the Lord protects the faithful,
      but repays to the full the proud.
      Be strong and let your heart take courage,
   all you who wait in hope for the Lord.