The Second Sunday in Lent
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities that may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Genesis 15: 1-12, 17-18
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him.
When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? * The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, * they stumbled and fell.
Though a host were encamped against me, yet my heart would not be afraid, * and though war rose up against me, yet would I put my trust in him.
One thing have I desired of the Lord; one thing I seek: * that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the fair beauty of the Lord, * and to seek him in his temple.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his tabernacle; * indeed, in the secret place of his dwelling he shall hide me, and set me high upon a rock of stone.
And now he shall lift up my head * above my enemies round about me.
Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation with great gladness; * I will sing and speak praises unto the Lord.
Hearken to my voice, O Lord, when I cry unto you; * have mercy upon me and hear me.
You speak to my heart and say, “Seek my face.” * Your face, O Lord, will I seek.
O hide not your face from me, * nor cast your servant away in displeasure.
You have been my helper; * leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me, * the Lord takes me in.
Teach me your way, O Lord, * and lead me in the right way, because of my enemies.
Deliver me not over to the will of my adversaries, * for there are false witnesses who have risen up against me, and those who speak wrong.
I would utterly have fainted, * had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
O wait for the Lord; be strong, and he shall comfort your heart. * O put your trust in the Lord.
+Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end. Amen.
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Artwork: Ethiopian Religious Goatskin Leather Painting Hand Painted Icon Abraham, Isaac and Jacob