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Joel 2:1-2 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
    for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near,
a day of darkness and gloom,
    a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains
    a great and powerful people;
their like has never been from of old,
    nor will be again after them
    through the years of all generations.

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Joel 2:12-17 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

12 “Yet even now,” says the Lord,
    “return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13     and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord, your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
    and repents of evil.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and repent,
    and leave a blessing behind him,
a cereal offering and a drink offering
    for the Lord, your God?

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
    sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16     gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation;
    assemble the elders;
gather the children,
    even nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
    and the bride her chamber.

17 Between the vestibule and the altar
    let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep
and say, “Spare thy people, O Lord,
    and make not thy heritage a reproach,
    a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
    ‘Where is their God?’”

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Psalm 103 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness

A Psalm of David.

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live[a]
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works vindication
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor requite us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
    so the Lord pities those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
    upon those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    hearkening to the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers that do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 103:5 Heb uncertain
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“At the acceptable time I have listened to you,
and helped you on the day of salvation.”

Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in any one’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Matthew 6:1-6 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Concerning Almsgiving

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Concerning Prayer

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Matthew 6:16-21 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Concerning Fasting

16 “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Concerning Treasures

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust[b] consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 6:19 Or worm
  2. Matthew 6:20 Or worm
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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