Sunday, November 21, 2021
Feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God to the Temple,
Eleventh Sunday after the Holy Cross,
Eve of the Fast of Heesnag
Song of Solomon 1:2-11
II Corinthians 6:16-7:1
Song of Solomon 1:2-11
 O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth!
For your love is better than wine,
 your anointing oils are fragrant,
your name is oil poured out;
therefore the maidens love you.
 Draw me after you, let us make haste.
The king has brought me into his chambers.
We will exult and rejoice in you;
we will extol your love more than wine;
rightly do they love you.
 I am very dark, but comely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
like the tents of Kedar,
like the curtains of Solomon.
 Do not gaze at me because I am swarthy,
because the sun has scorched me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me,
they made me keeper of the vineyards;
but, my own vineyard I have not kept!
 Tell me, you whom my soul loves,
where you pasture your flock,
where you make it lie down at noon;
for why should I be like one who wanders
beside the flocks of your companions?
 If you do not know,
O fairest among women,
follow in the tracks of the flock,
and pasture your kids
beside the shepherds’ tents.
 I compare you, my love,
to a mare of Pharaoh’s chariots.
 Your cheeks are comely with ornaments,
your neck with strings of jewels.
 We will make you ornaments of gold,
studded with silver.
 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
but lawlessness takes away lives.
 If the righteous is requited on earth,
how much more the wicked and the sinner!
 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.
 A good man obtains favor from the LORD,
but a man of evil devices he condemns.
 A man is not established by wickedness,
but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
 A good wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good tidings,
who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
 Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice,
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
 Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem;
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
 The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I come and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the LORD.
 And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of you, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
 And the LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.”
 Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.
 “Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
“For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;
II Corinthians 6:16-7:1
 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and move among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
 Therefore come out from them,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch nothing unclean;
then I will welcome you,
 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.
 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
 and she entered the house of Zechari’ah and greeted Elizabeth.
 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
 And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
 He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
 he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.”
 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”
 And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”
 And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment of men learned by rote;
 therefore, behold, I will again
do marvelous things with this people,
wonderful and marvelous;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hid.”
 Woe to those who hide deep from the LORD their counsel,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
 You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay;
that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
 Is it not yet a very little while
until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
 In that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.
 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD,
and the poor among men shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
 For the ruthless shall come to nought and the scoffer cease,
and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,
 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.
 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me; you were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.
 Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.
 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.
 I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.
 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedo’nia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving except you only;
 for even in Thessaloni’ca you sent me help once and again.
 Not that I seek the gift; but I seek the fruit which increases to your credit.
 I have received full payment, and more; I am filled, having received from Epaphrodi’tus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.
 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
 He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.
 Give us each day our daily bread;
 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.”
 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves;
 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;
 and he will answer from within, `Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’?
 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs.
 And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;
 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America