If I say, "Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light around me turn to night," darkness is not dark to you, O Lord; the night is as bright as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike. Psalm 139:10, 11
CONFESSION OF SIN
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Evening Examen: Was there time today when I felt guilty, ashamed, or lonely? What was most joyful about my day? Let God guide you as you reflect on your day by asking him for light, grace, and gratitude.
O God, make speed to save us. *
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Truly, God is good to Israel, *
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had nearly slipped; *
I had almost tripped and fallen;
Because I envied the proud *
and saw the prosperity of the wicked:
For they suffer no pain, *
and their bodies are sleek and sound;
In the misfortunes of others they have no share; *
they are not afflicted as others are;
Therefore they wear their pride like a necklace *
and wrap their violence about them like a cloak.
Their iniquity comes from gross minds, *
and their hearts overflow with wicked thoughts.
They scoff and speak maliciously; *
out of their haughtiness they plan oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens, *
and their evil speech runs through the world.
And so the people turn to them *
and find in them no fault.
They say, "How should God know? *
is there knowledge in the Most High?"
So then, these are the wicked; *
always at ease, they increase their wealth.
In vain have I kept my heart clean, *
and washed my hands in innocence.
I have been afflicted all day long, *
and punished every morning.
Had I gone on speaking this way, *
I should have betrayed the generation of your children.
When I tried to understand these things, *
it was too hard for me;
Until I entered the sanctuary of God *
and discerned the end of the wicked.
Surely, you set them in slippery places; *
you cast them down in ruin.
Oh, how suddenly do they come to destruction, *
come to an end, and perish from terror!
Like a dream when one awakens, O Lord, *
when you arise you will make their image vanish.
When my mind became embittered, *
I was sorely wounded in my heart.
I was stupid and had no understanding; *
I was like a brute beast in your presence.
Yet I am always with you; *
you hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me by your counsel, *
and afterwards receive me with glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? *
and having you I desire nothing upon earth.
Though my flesh and my heart should waste away, *
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
Truly, those who forsake you will perish; *
you destroy all who are unfaithful.
But it is good for me to be near God; *
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge.
I will speak of all your works *
in the gates of the city of Zion.
Father, in your wisdom you allowed your Son to be dismayed by the prospect of his cross, but by his death the penalty of sin was changed to glory. Grant that, on our journey to you, the cross of your Son may not be a stumbling block but a beacon to guide us to that heavenly country where you with your Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit live and reign one God, now and forever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit; *
as it was in the beginning
is now and shall be for ever. Amen.
Esther 1:1-4, 10-19
This happened in the days of Ahasuerus, the same Ahasuerus who ruled over one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. In those days when King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, in the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his officials and ministers. The army of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces were present, while he displayed the great wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and pomp of his majesty for many days, one hundred eighty days in all.
On the seventh day, when the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who attended him, to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing the royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the officials her beauty; for she was fair to behold. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command conveyed by the eunuchs. At this the king was enraged, and his anger burned within him. Then the king consulted the sages who knew the laws (for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were versed in law and custom, and those next to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven officials of Persia and Media, who had access to the king, and sat first in the kingdom): “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus conveyed by the eunuchs?” Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Not only has Queen Vashti done wrong to the king, but also to all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. For this deed of the queen will be made known to all women, causing them to look with contempt on their husbands, since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will rebel against the king’s officials, and there will be no end of contempt and wrath! If it pleases the king, let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be altered, that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she.
After Paul and Silas had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three sabbath days argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This is the Messiah, Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you.” Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews became jealous, and with the help of some ruffians in the marketplaces they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. While they were searching for Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly, they attacked Jason’s house. When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some believers before the city authorities, shouting, “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has entertained them as guests. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus.” The people and the city officials were disturbed when they heard this, and after they had taken bail from Jason and the others, they let them go.
That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea; and when they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, including not a few Greek women and men of high standing. But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Beroea as well, they came there too, to stir up and incite the crowds. Then the believers immediately sent Paul away to the coast, but Silas and Timothy remained behind. Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and after receiving instructions to have Silas and Timothy join him as soon as possible, they left him.
In the evening, pray for:
individuals and their needs
Conclude with the Lord's Prayer and/or the following Collect:
O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord. *
Thanks be to God!
The Almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us. Amen.