Feast of the Annunciation to the Mother of God,
Sixth Sunday of Great Lent:
Sunday of Advent
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 the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
 And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High;
and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever;
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
 And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?”
 And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born will be called holy,
the Son of God.
 And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
 And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said,
 “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
 And they asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?”
 And he said, “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!’ and, `The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.
 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;
 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.
 This will be a time for you to bear testimony.
 Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer;
 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.
 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death;
 you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.
 But not a hair of your head will perish.
 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.
 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it;
 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfil all that is written.
 Alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this people;
 they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,
 men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
 Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees;
 as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.
 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place.
 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
 “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare;
 for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth.
 But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.”
 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.
 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.
 Thus says the LORD:
“Heaven is my throne
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house which you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
 All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things are mine, says the LORD.
But this is the man to whom I will look,
he that is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word.
 “He who slaughters an ox is like him who kills a man;
he who sacrifices a lamb, like him who breaks a dog’s neck;
he who presents a cereal offering, like him who offers swine’s
he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like him who
blesses an idol.
These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;
 I also will choose affliction for them,
and bring their fears upon them;
because, when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke they did not listen;
but they did what was evil in my eyes,
and chose that in which I did not delight.”
 Hear the word of the LORD,
you who tremble at his word:
“Your brethren who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, `Let the LORD be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame.
 “Hark, an uproar from the city!
A voice from the temple!
The voice of the LORD,
rendering recompense to his enemies!
 “Before she was in labor
she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her
she was delivered of a son.
 Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor
she brought forth her sons.
 Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth?
says the LORD;
shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?
says your God.
 “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
 that you may suck and be satisfied
with her consoling breasts;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from the abundance of her glory.”
 For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I will extend prosperity to her like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall suck, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and dandled upon her knees.
 As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and it shall be known that the hand of the LORD is with his
and his indignation is against his enemies.
 “For behold, the LORD will come in fire,
and his chariots like the stormwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
 For by fire will the LORD execute judgment,
and by his sword, upon all flesh;
and those slain by the LORD shall be many.
 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, says the LORD.
 “For I know their works and their thoughts, and I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see my glory,
 and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations.
 And they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their cereal offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD.
 And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the LORD.
 “For as the new heavens and the new earth
which I will make
shall remain before me, says the LORD;
so shall your descendants and your name remain.
 From new moon to new moon,
and from sabbath to sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
says the LORD.
 “And they shall go forth and look on the dead bodies of the men that have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
 See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.
 For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily,
 and you have come to fulness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ;
 and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
 And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
 having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
 He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him.
 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.
 These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations,
 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”
 (referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines?
 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh.
 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
 For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
 In these you once walked, when you lived in them.
 But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.
 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices
 and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
 Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scyth’ian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.
 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience,
 forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sad’ducees, they came together.
 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him.
 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
 This is the great and first commandment.
 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”
 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question,
 saying, “What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.”
 He said to them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
 `The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
till I put thy enemies under thy feet’?
 If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?”
 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask him any more questions.
 Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples,
 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat;
 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.
 They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.
 They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,
 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues,
 and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.
 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.
 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
 Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.
 He who is greatest among you shall be your servant;
 whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.
 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’
 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?
 And you say, `If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’
 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
 So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it;
 and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it;
 and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity.
 You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
 So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
 saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’
 Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.
 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?
 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town,
 that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechari’ah the son of Barachi’ah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.
 Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.
 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!
 Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate.
 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America