Friday 1 October

Lord, we pray that your grace
   may always precede and follow us,
and make us continually to be given to all good works;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Mark 14.53–65
They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, ‘We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.” ’ But even on this point their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?’ But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am; and
“you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power”,
and “coming with the clouds of heaven.” ’
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?’ All of them condemned him as deserving death. Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, ‘Prophesy!’ The guards also took him over and beat him.

Psalm 55
  Hear my prayer, O God;
   hide not yourself from my petition.
  Give heed to me and answer me;
   I am restless in my complaining.
  I am alarmed at the voice of the enemy
   and at the clamour of the wicked;
  For they would bring down evil upon me
   and are set against me in fury.
  My heart is disquieted within me,
   and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
  Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me,
   and a horrible dread has overwhelmed me.
  And I said: ‘O that I had wings like a dove,
   for then would I fly away and be at rest.
  ‘Then would I flee far away
   and make my lodging in the wilderness.
  ‘I would make haste to escape
   from the stormy wind and tempest.’
  Confuse their tongues, O Lord, and divide them,
   for I have seen violence and strife in the city.
  Day and night they go about on her walls;
   mischief and trouble are in her midst.
  Wickedness walks in her streets;
   oppression and guile never leave her squares.
  For it was not an open enemy that reviled me,
   for then I could have borne it;
  Nor was it my adversary that puffed himself up against me,
   for then I would have hid myself from him.
  But it was even you, one like myself,
   my companion and my own familiar friend.
  We took sweet counsel together
   and walked with the multitude in the house of God.
  Let death come suddenly upon them;
      let them go down alive to the Pit;
   for wickedness inhabits their dwellings, their very hearts.
  As for me, I will call upon God
   and the Lord will deliver me.
  In the evening and morning and at noonday
      I will pray and make my supplication,
   and he shall hear my voice.
  He shall redeem my soul in peace
      from the battle waged against me,
   for many have come upon me.
  God, who is enthroned of old,
      will hear and bring them down;
   they will not repent, for they have no fear of God.
  My companion stretched out his hands against his friend
   and has broken his covenant;
  His speech was softer than butter, though war was in his heart;
   his words were smoother than oil, yet are they naked swords.
  Cast your burden upon the Lord and he will sustain you,
   and will not let the righteous fall for ever.
  But those that are bloodthirsty and deceitful, O God,
   you will bring down to the pit of destruction.
  They shall not live out half their days,
   but my trust shall be in you, O Lord.