23 June
Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely, c.678

Lesser Festival


Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 61.10-62.5

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.        [NRSV]

New testament reading: 2 Corinthians 10.17-11.2

"Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." For it is not those who commend themselves that are approved, but those whom the Lord commends.

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.        [NRSV]

Psalm 44.11,12,14-17

"Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely;*
   forget your people and your father's house.

The king will have pleasure in your beauty;*
   he is your master; therefore do him honour.

All glorious is the princess as she enters;*
   her gown is cloth-of-gold.

In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king;*
   after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.

With joy and gladness they are brought,*
   and enter into the palace of the king.

"In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons;*
   you shall make them princes over all the earth.

Gospel: Matthew 24.22-26

Jesus said, "And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, 'Look! Here is the Messiah!' or 'There he is!' --do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Take note, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Look! He is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look! He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it."        [NRSV]
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