Thursday 16 September

Lord God,
defend your Church from all false teaching
and give to your people knowledge of your truth,
that we may enjoy eternal life
in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Mark 12.1–12
Then he began to speak to them in parables. ‘A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watch-tower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” But those tenants said to one another, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture:
“The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the cornerstone;
 this was the Lord’s doing,
   and it is amazing in our eyes”?’
 When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.

Psalm 37
    Fret not because of evildoers;
   be not jealous of those who do wrong.
    For they shall soon wither like grass
   and like the green herb fade away.
    Trust in the Lord and be doing good;
   dwell in the land and be nourished with truth.
    Let your delight be in the Lord
   and he will give you your heart’s desire.
    Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him,
   and he will bring it to pass.
    He will make your righteousness as clear as the light
   and your just dealing as the noonday.
    Be still before the Lord and wait for him;
   do not fret over those that prosper
      as they follow their evil schemes.
    Refrain from anger and abandon wrath;
   do not fret, lest you be moved to do evil.
    For evildoers shall be cut off,
   but those who wait upon the Lord shall possess the land.
      Yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
   you will search for their place and find them gone.
      But the lowly shall possess the land
   and shall delight in abundance of peace.
      The wicked plot against the righteous
   and gnash at them with their teeth.
      The Lord shall laugh at the wicked,
   for he sees that their day is coming.
      The wicked draw their sword and bend their bow
      to strike down the poor and needy,
   to slaughter those who walk in truth.
      Their sword shall go through their own heart
   and their bows shall be broken.
      The little that the righteous have
   is better than great riches of the wicked.
      For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
   but the Lord upholds the righteous.
      The Lord knows the days of the godly,
   and their inheritance shall stand for ever.
      They shall not be put to shame in the perilous time,
   and in days of famine they shall have enough.
      But the wicked shall perish;
      like the glory of the meadows
      the enemies of the Lord shall vanish;
   they shall vanish like smoke.
      The wicked borrow and do not repay,
   but the righteous are generous in giving.
      For those who are blest by God shall possess the land,
   but those who are cursed by him shall be rooted out.
      When your steps are guided by the Lord
   and you delight in his way,
      Though you stumble, you shall not fall headlong,
   for the Lord holds you fast by the hand.
      I have been young and now am old,
   yet never have I seen the righteous forsaken,
      or their children begging their bread.
      All the day long they are generous in lending,
   and their children also shall be blest.
      Depart from evil and do good
   and you shall abide for ever.
      For the Lord loves the thing that is right
   and will not forsake his faithful ones.
      The unjust shall be destroyed for ever,
   and the offspring of the wicked shall be rooted out.
      The righteous shall possess the land
   and dwell in it for ever.
      The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
   and their tongue speaks the thing that is right.
      The law of their God is in their heart
   and their footsteps shall not slide.
      The wicked spy on the righteous
   and seek occasion to slay them.
      The Lord will not leave them in their hand,
   nor let them be condemned when they are judged.
      Wait upon the Lord and keep his way;
   he will raise you up to possess the land,
      and when the wicked are uprooted, you shall see it.
      I myself have seen the wicked in great power
   and flourishing like a tree in full leaf.
      I went by and lo, they were gone;
   I sought them, but they could nowhere be found.
      Keep innocence and heed the thing that is right,
   for that will bring you peace at the last.
      But the sinners shall perish together,
   and the posterity of the wicked shall be rooted out.
      The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
   he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
      The Lord shall stand by them and deliver them;
   he shall deliver them from the wicked and shall save them,
      because they have put their trust in him.