FIRST LESSON                                                                                  Amos 7:7-15
Lector         A reading from the Book of the Prophet Amos.
This is what the Lord GOD showed me: the LORD was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.” Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, "Amos has conspired against you in the very centre of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said, 'Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.'" And Amaziah said to Amos, "O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom." Then Amos answered Amaziah, "I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'”
SECOND LESSON                                                                Ephesians 1:3-14
Lector     A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory.
Let us pray to God whose righteousness is made known by his mighty word and works.

Keep your Church, called to be the Body of Christ and the channel of your grace, in faithful service of the Gospel.  Defend her in adversity and give to your priests and ministers courage to witness in word and deed.

Turn the hearts of those who misuse their power over others.  Bring hope and freedom to the places where people live in fear of tyranny and injustice.

As we have been made members of your family by adoption, bless our human families with your continual presence.  Guide us to follow the way that you have prepared for us in all our relationships with others.

Have mercy on all who suffer for the sake of truth.  Comfort those who are unjustly imprisoned and those who have been brought by human judgment into the shadow of death.

We pray for all who have died violently and alone.  Grant them the peace that was denied them at their end and bring them to the joy of your heavenly Kingdom.

 [Here other intercessions may be offered.]

May the courage and fidelity of John the Baptist be our example as we pray.  Amen.