Worship

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

O Lord, God of my salvation, when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
  let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry.

For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.

I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;
  I am like those who have no help,
  like those forsaken among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave,
  like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.

You have put me in the depths of the Pit, in the regions dark and deep.

Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
  and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah

You have caused my companions to shun me;
  you have made me a thing of horror to them.
  I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
  my eye grows dim through sorrow.
  Every day I call on you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you.

Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the shades rise up to praise you? Selah

Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon?

Are your wonders known in the darkness,
  or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?

But I, O Lord, cry out to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.

O Lord, why do you cast me off? Why do you hide your face from me?

Wretched and close to death from my youth up,
  I suffer your terrors; I am desperate.

Your wrath has swept over me; your dread assaults destroy me.

They surround me like a flood all day long;
  from all sides they close in on me.

You have caused friend and neighbor to shun me;
  my companions are in darkness. —Psalm 88

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:18-39