"God, open our eyes that we may see and welcome all truth, whether shining
from the annals of ancient revelations or reaching us through the seers of
our own time; for God hidest not light from any generation that yearns for
the Eternal One, seeking guidance. May prayer awaken within us the con-
sciousness of God's presence, and bring peace and rest to our spirits. O God,
grant that we find the strength to banish all anxiety, fretting and complaining.
Sovereign of the Universe, sustain our hearts with faith."
(edited selection, Union Prayerbook, CCAR)
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed
are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those
who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are
the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peace-
makers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who
are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and
utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice
and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men perse-
cuted the prophets who were before you.
You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how
shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything
except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. You are the
light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men
light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it
gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before
men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your
Father who is in heaven. Think not that I have come to abolish the
law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to ful-
fil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away,
not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accom-
plished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these command-
ments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of
heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great
in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness
exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the
kingdom of heaven.
You have heard that it was said to the men of old, "You shall not
kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment." But I say to
you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to
judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the coun-
cil, and whoever says, "You fool!" shall be liable to the hell of
fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there
remember that your brother has something against you, leave your
gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your
brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with
him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and
the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to
you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.
You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery."
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully
has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your
right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it
is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole
body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of
your members than that your whole body go into hell. It was also
said, "Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate
of divorce." But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife,
except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and
whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, "You shall
not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn."
But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is
the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by
Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear
by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what
you say be simply "Yes" or "No"; anything more than this comes from
You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for
a tooth." But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if anyone
strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if
anyone would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak
as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two
miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who
would borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, "You shall
love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, Love
your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may
be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise
on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the
unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?
Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only
your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the
Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your
heavenly Father is perfect.
Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by
them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in
heaven. Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as
the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they
may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received
their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand
know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in
secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And
when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love
to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners,
that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have
received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and
shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your
Father who sees in secret will reward you. And in praying do not
heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they
will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your
Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like
this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy
kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give
us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, as we also
have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil. For if you forgive men their trespasses,
your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not
forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive
your trespasses. And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the
hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may
be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their
reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who
is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and
rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for
yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust con-
sumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also. The eye is the lamp
of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be
full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will
be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how
great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either
he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to
the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you
shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you
shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than
clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap
nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being
anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you
anxious about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil
nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not
arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the
field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,
will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore
do not be anxious, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we
drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the Gentiles seek all these
things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But
seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things
shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble
be sufficient for the day.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pro-
nounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the
measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's
eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can
you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye",
when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take
the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take
the speck out of your brother's eye. Do not give dogs what is holy;
and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them
under foot and turn to attack you.
Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and
it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he
who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what
man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who
are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much
more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those
who ask him! So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so
to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy,
that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For
the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and
those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to
you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will
know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or
figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the
bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit,
nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear
good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will
know them by their fruits.
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord", shall enter the kingdom
of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy
in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty
works in your name?" And then will I declare to them, "I never knew
you; depart from me, you evildoers." Everyone then who hears these
words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his
house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the
winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it
had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words
of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built
his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and
the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great
was the fall of it. And when he finished these sayings, the crowds
were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had
authority, and not as their scribes.