December 20th, 2018

Katharina von Bora Luther

First Reading: Is. 40:18-41:10

 18 To whom, then, will you compare God?
       What image will you compare him to?

 19 As for an idol, a craftsman casts it,
       and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
       and fashions silver chains for it.

 20 A man too poor to present such an offering
       selects wood that will not rot.
       He looks for a skilled craftsman
       to set up an idol that will not topple.

 21 Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       Has it not been told you from the beginning?
       Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
       and its people are like grasshoppers.
       He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
       and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

 23 He brings princes to naught
       and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.

 24 No sooner are they planted,
       no sooner are they sown,
       no sooner do they take root in the ground,
       than he blows on them and they wither,
       and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

 25 "To whom will you compare me?
       Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

 26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
       Who created all these?
       He who brings out the starry host one by one,
       and calls them each by name.
       Because of his great power and mighty strength,
       not one of them is missing.

 27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
       and complain, O Israel,
       "My way is hidden from the LORD;
       my cause is disregarded by my God"?

 28 Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and his understanding no one can fathom.

 29 He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.

 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;

 31 but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.

The Helper of Israel
 1 "Be silent before me, you islands!
       Let the nations renew their strength!
       Let them come forward and speak;
       let us meet together at the place of judgment.

 2 "Who has stirred up one from the east,
       calling him in righteousness to his service [a] ?
       He hands nations over to him
       and subdues kings before him.
       He turns them to dust with his sword,
       to windblown chaff with his bow.

 3 He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
       by a path his feet have not traveled before.

 4 Who has done this and carried it through,
       calling forth the generations from the beginning?
       I, the LORD -with the first of them
       and with the last—I am he."

 5 The islands have seen it and fear;
       the ends of the earth tremble.
       They approach and come forward;

 6 each helps the other
       and says to his brother, "Be strong!"

 7 The craftsman encourages the goldsmith,
       and he who smooths with the hammer
       spurs on him who strikes the anvil.
       He says of the welding, "It is good."
       He nails down the idol so it will not topple.

 8 "But you, O Israel, my servant,
       Jacob, whom I have chosen,
       you descendants of Abraham my friend,

 9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
       from its farthest corners I called you.
       I said, 'You are my servant';
       I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

 10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
       do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
       I will strengthen you and help you;
       I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Footnotes:Isaiah 41:2 Or / whom victory meets at every step

Second Reading: Rev. 8:1-13

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
 1When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

 2And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.

 3Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. 4The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand. 5Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

The Trumpets
 6Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

 7The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

 8The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

 10The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11the name of the star is Wormwood.[a] A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

 12The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

 13As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"

Footnotes:Revelation 8:11 That is, Bitterness


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