Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Zephaniah 3:8-13, Psalm 96, and Romans 10:5-13
The prophet Zephaniah talks about how someday God is going to avenge his people they are going to be restored to their lives and prosperity. St. Paul writes that we no longer have to worry about following the law, because Christ has come and given us a way to find salvation.
Zephaniah was writing to a people who were in exile. They had been conquered by the Babylonians and taken away from their homeland. To them, good news was being returned to the status quo. St. Paul was writing to people who were part of the dispersion: Jewish people who had moved away from Palestine and who had accepted Christ as Messiah. The ones addressed in this letter live in Rome. To them, good news was knowing that God had moved, that Christ had opened the door to all people, not just Jews, that the kingdom knows no boundaries or ethnic groups or languages.
What is good news for us? Has it changed much in the intervening two centuries? It seems everyone has a different idea of what good news would look like. The Jews in Zephaniah’s time were ready for their good news to begin. So were Paul’s audience. What about you?