March 9 – Lent 1
Dinah, the daughter whom Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to meet the women of that country. 2 When Shechem the son of the Hivite Hamor and the country’s prince saw her, he took her, slept with her, and humiliated her. 3 He was drawn to Dinah, Jacob’s daughter. He loved the young woman and tried to win her heart. 4 Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get this girl for me as my wife.” 5 Now Jacob heard that Shechem defiled his daughter Dinah; but his sons were with the animals in the countryside, so he decided to keep quiet until they got back. 6 Meanwhile, Hamor, Shechem’s father, went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7 Just then, Jacob’s sons got back from the countryside. When they heard what had happened, they were deeply offended and very angry, because Shechem had disgraced Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter. Such things are simply not done.
8 Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem’s heart is set on your daughter. Please let him marry her. 9 Arrange marriages with us: give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 Live with us. The land is available to you: settle down, travel through it, and buy property in it.”
11 Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “If you approve of me, tell me what you want, and I will give it to you. 12 Make the bride price and marriage gifts as large as you like, and I will pay whatever you tell me. Then let me marry the young woman.”
Comment: you may choose to skip the next reading from Genesis. This story turns out to be very, very harsh. I considered leaving off this reading but there are unresolved tensions in the Bible, this will be one of them.
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” 4 Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
7 Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; 8 hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. 9 He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; 10 for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. 11 Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” 12 But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.
1 Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in its loftiness,
the joy of the whole earth,
like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion,
the city of the Great King.
3 God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress.
4 When the kings joined forces,
when they advanced together,
5 they saw her and were astounded;
they fled in terror.
6 Trembling seized them there,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
shattered by an east wind.
8 As we have heard,
so we have seen
in the city of the Lord Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure
9 Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.
10 Like your name, O God,
your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices,
the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them
to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.
Prayer: Lord God, you lead your people through the wilderness, that which they created and that which happens to them. Lead us all, that we might know your power to save. Amen.