1Hear my cry, | O God,*
listen | to my prayer;
2from the end of the earth I call to you when my | heart is faint.*
Lead me to the rock that is high- | er than I,
3for you have been my | refuge,*
a strong tower against the | enemy.
4Let me dwell in your tent for- | ever!*
Let me take refuge under the shelter | of your wings!
5For you, O God, have | heard my vows;*
you have given me the heritage of those who | fear your name.
6Prolong the life | of the king;*
may his years endure to all gener- | ations!
7May he be enthroned forever be- | fore God;*
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch | over him!
8So will I ever sing praises | to your name,*
as I perform my vows day | after day.
Additional Psalm: Psalm 27
Old Testament Reading: Ecclesiastes 12:1–14
Remember Your Creator in Your Youth
1Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; 2before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 3in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, 4and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low—5they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—6before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 8Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Fear God and Keep His Commandments
9Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.
11The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
New Testament Reading: John 11:1–16
The Death of Lazarus
1Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
You see how [Jesus] gives full scope to death. He grants free reign to the grave. He allows corruption to set in… He allows the realm of darkness to seize His friend, drag him down to the underworld, and take possession of him. He acts like this so that human hope may perish entirely and human despair reach its lowest depths. The deed He is about to accomplish may then clearly be seen to be the work of God, not of man.
Be still, my soul; though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in this vale of tears;
Then you will better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrows and your fears.
Be still, my soul; your Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away. (LSB 752:3)
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L27)
Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Small Catechism Preface 9–18