Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. St. Luke 3.4, 6
In the Lord I take refuge;
how can you say to me,
“Flee like a bird to the mountains;
for lo, the wicked bend the bow,
they have fitted their arrow to the string,
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do”?
The Lord is in his holy temple,
the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
his eyes behold, his eyelids test, the children of men.
The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,
and his soul hates him that loves violence.
On the wicked he will rain coals of fire and brimstone;
a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous, he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.
Glory 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.
1 Kings 18.17-39
When Ahab saw Eli′jah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but you have, and your father’s house, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Ba′als. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Ba′al and the four hundred prophets of Ashe′rah, who eat at Jez′ebel’s table.”
So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel, and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. And Eli′jah came near to all the people, and said, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Ba′al, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. Then Eli′jah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Ba′al’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let two bulls be given to us; and let them choose one bull for themselves, and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; and I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, and put no fire to it. And you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” Then Eli′jah said to the prophets of Ba′al, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” And they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Ba′al from morning until noon, saying, “O Ba′al, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped about the altar which they had made. And at noon Eli′jah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is musing, or he has gone aside, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice; no one answered, no one heeded.
Then Eli′jah said to all the people, “Come near to me”; and all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; Eli′jah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”; and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt offering, and on the wood.” And he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time. And the water ran round about the altar, and filled the trench also with water.
And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Eli′jah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that thou, O Lord, art God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”
St. John 1.19-28
And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Eli′jah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.” They said to him then, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Eli′jah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who
trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Merciful God, who sent thy messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.