Home > Reading > Daily Reading – April 19, 2021

Daniel 4:19–27 (Listen)

Daniel Interprets the Second Dream

19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! 20 The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, 21 whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived—22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. 23 And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time pass over him,’ 24 this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, 25 that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. 26 And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

1 John 3:19–4:6 (Listen)

19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

Test the Spirits

4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Luke 4:14–30 (Listen)

Jesus Begins His Ministry

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18   “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19   to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 97 (Listen)

The Lord Reigns

97:1   The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;
    let the many coastlands be glad!
  Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
  Fire goes before him
    and burns up his adversaries all around.
  His lightnings light up the world;
    the earth sees and trembles.
  The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
    before the Lord of all the earth.
  The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    and all the peoples see his glory.
  All worshipers of images are put to shame,
    who make their boast in worthless idols;
    worship him, all you gods!
  Zion hears and is glad,
    and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
    because of your judgments, O LORD.
  For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.
10   O you who love the LORD, hate evil!
    He preserves the lives of his saints;
    he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11   Light is sown for the righteous,
    and joy for the upright in heart.
12   Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
    and give thanks to his holy name!

Psalm 145 (Listen)

Great Is the Lord

A Song of Praise. Of David.

145:1   I will extol you, my God and King,
    and bless your name forever and ever.
  Every day I will bless you
    and praise your name forever and ever.
  Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.
  One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
  On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
  They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness.
  They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
  The LORD is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
  The LORD is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10   All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
    and all your saints shall bless you!
11   They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
    and tell of your power,
12   to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13   Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
  [The LORD is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.]
14   The LORD upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
15   The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
16   You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17   The LORD is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.
18   The LORD is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19   He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them.
20   The LORD preserves all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.
21   My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
    and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 124 (Listen)

Our Help Is in the Name of the Lord

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

124:1   If it had not been the LORD who was on our side—
    let Israel now say—
  if it had not been the LORD who was on our side
    when people rose up against us,
  then they would have swallowed us up alive,
    when their anger was kindled against us;
  then the flood would have swept us away,
    the torrent would have gone over us;
  then over us would have gone
    the raging waters.
  Blessed be the LORD,
    who has not given us
    as prey to their teeth!
  We have escaped like a bird
    from the snare of the fowlers;
  the snare is broken,
    and we have escaped!
  Our help is in the name of the LORD,
    who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 115 (Listen)

To Your Name Give Glory

115:1   Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
    for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
  Why should the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”
  Our God is in the heavens;
    he does all that he pleases.
  Their idols are silver and gold,
    the work of human hands.
  They have mouths, but do not speak;
    eyes, but do not see.
  They have ears, but do not hear;
    noses, but do not smell.
  They have hands, but do not feel;
    feet, but do not walk;
    and they do not make a sound in their throat.
  Those who make them become like them;
    so do all who trust in them.
  O Israel, trust in the LORD!
    He is their help and their shield.
10   O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD!
    He is their help and their shield.
11   You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD!
    He is their help and their shield.
12   The LORD has remembered us; he will bless us;
    he will bless the house of Israel;
    he will bless the house of Aaron;
13   he will bless those who fear the LORD,
    both the small and the great.
14   May the LORD give you increase,
    you and your children!
15   May you be blessed by the LORD,
    who made heaven and earth!
16   The heavens are the LORD’s heavens,
    but the earth he has given to the children of man.
17   The dead do not praise the LORD,
    nor do any who go down into silence.
18   But we will bless the LORD
    from this time forth and forevermore.
  Praise the LORD!

Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1019 (April 19)

About the Commemoration

Alphege (Aelfheah) was born in 954. He became a Benedictine monk, then prior of an abbey at Bath, and finally Archbishop of Canterbury at a time when England was being overrun by the Danes. When they attacked and captured Canterbury, Alphege urged them to spare the town, but they made him watch while they slaughtered many of the inhabitants and burned the cathedral; then they imprisoned him.

The Danes demanded that the people of Canterbury pay a ransom for his release, but Alphege refused to let his poor and overburdened people pay it. In a drunken fury his captors set upon him, pelting him with stones. Although one of them, Thorkell the Tall, tried to save him, he was killed by a blow on the head with an axe, the first Archbishop of Canterbury to suffer martyrdom. He died praying for his murderers. His death took place April 19, 1012.
Excerpts from New Book of Festivals & Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints by Philip H. Pfatteicher, copyright, 2008 by Fortress Press, an imprint of Augsburg Fortress.

See also: Ælfheah of Canterbury


From the account of the martyrdom of Alphege by Osbern

Then the devil’s henchmen, foaming out cruelty with poisoned breath, and no longer able to bear the weight of the words of Alphege, leaped from their seats with the force of savage lions, felled him with axes, and then one after another pelted him with stones. Alphege was already at the gates of life, when, remembering Christ the Lord hanging on the Cross for the salvation of all and praying to his Father for his enemies, he touched his right knee and his left foot to the ground. The he offered this prayer for himself and for those who without ceasing were tormenting him. “Only-begotten Son of the most high Father, Lord Jesus. who came into the world through the womb of the pure virgin to save sinners, receive me in peace, and have mercy on these men.” Falling to the ground once but getting up again, he prayed once more, “Good Shepherd, unequalled Shepherd, watch over the children of the Church, whom I commend to you as I die.” Then a man. whom the archbishop had himself baptized, ran up and seeing the holy man struggling still at the very brink of death, was moved by a wrong sense of duty and plunged an axe into his head. Alphege, resting at once in eternal peace, directed his victorious spirit with triumph to heaven. Who, I ask, after those who were the first leaders of the Lord’s flock, lived more innocently than this man or ended his lite more tranquilly? Or whose merits were so similar as those of this warrior of ours and of Stephen the first martyr?

But the Danish chieftains, desiring to conceal both their own foul deed and Alphege’s glory, gathered together and resolved that his body should be thrown into the river, thinking that the enormity of their crimes could be easily hidden and that his memory could be taken away. But what Christ had devised for disgrace for the Danes, was glory to Alphege.
Osbern, Life of St. Alphege, chap. 7, paras. 35-36, Acta Sanctorum, April II (5 June 1986): 640; trans. PHP, based on Antony Snell.


O loving God, your martyr bishop Alphege of Canterbury suffered a violent death when he refused to permit a ransom to be extorted from his people: Grant that all pastors of your flock may pattern themselves on the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep; and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever.

Readings: Psalm 34 or 31:1-5; Revelation 7:13-17; Luke 12:4-12
Hymn of the Day:King of the martyrs’ noble band” (H82 236)
Prayers: For all gentle people facing persecution and the violence of the world; For our own enemies; For those who harm others; For those who find it difficult to forgive.
Preface: A Saint (3) (BCP)
Color: Red

Olavus Petri, Priest, 1552; Laurentius Petri, Archbishop of Uppsala, 1573; Renewers of the Church (April 19)

About the Commemoration

Olavus and Laurentius Petri were two brothers who led the Reformation in Sweden in the sixteenth century. Olavus, the elder brother, was born in 1493, Laurentius in 1499, both in Örebro, the chief town of Nerike (modern Närke), from which Laurentius is sometimes called Nericius. The boys were educated in the local monastery, Uppsala, Leipzig, and then at Wittenberg, where they were deeply influenced by Martin Luther. Olavus seems to have been in Wittenberg at the time of the posting of the Ninety-five Theses, for he received his bachelor’s degree in 1516 and the master’s degree in 1518.

When Olavus returned to Sweden, he became chancellor to Bishop Matthias of Strengnäs and a close friend of Laurentius Andreae, who was the archdeacon. Olavus was ordained deacon and spread the teachings of the reformers among clergy and laity’ of the Church. After his coronation at Strengnäs, King Gustavus Vasa, who liberated Sweden from Danish rule, took Laurentius Petri to Stockholm as his chancellor and Olavus as pastor of the city church there and secretary of the city council. Half the townspeople were German, and Olavus’s study in Germany stood him in good stead.

The character of the Reformation in Sweden was determined to a great extent by the writings of Olavus. He understood that the reformation of the Church depended upon the education of the clergy and people, and his writing gave the intellectual and liturgical basis for such education. He prepared a Swedish translation of the New Testament based on the Latin Vulgate, but with some reference to Luther’s translation from the Greek. In the same year, 1526, he published a book of catechetical instruction, A Useful Teaching. In 1531 he issued a Swedish version of the Latin mass, simplified along the lines of Luther’s Deutsche Messe, and in 1530 he published a collection of hymns and canticles in Swedish. In 1540 he was condemned to death for violating royal dignity because of his opposition to the king’s desire for complete ecclesiastical control. Later he was pardoned and wrote his Swedish Chronicles. He died April 19, 1552.

Laurentius returned from Wittenberg in 1527 and, in spite of his youth (he was 28), he was appointed to a professorship at the University of Uppsala. He was ordained to the priesthood and four years later was the king’s choice to fill the vacant see of Uppsala. An assembly of the clergy from the whole realm was called, and they voted overwhelmingly in favor of the young priest-professor. He was consecrated on September 22, 1531, in Stockholm, the first evangelical archbishop of Sweden. Uppsala had first become the seat of an archbishop in 1164 with Stephen as its first incumbent; the eight hundredth anniversary of this event was celebrated in 1964. Laurentius succeeded (against Gustavus Vasa who thought of abolishing the episcopal office) in preserving the historic episcopate for Lutheranism. (Evangelical Lutheran Worship is in error in calling Laurentius Petri “Bishop of Uppsala.” There is in fact another person who is the diocesan bishop and not the primate.)

In 1541 the complete Bible in Swedish, the joint work of the Petri brothers, appeared with full royal approval. In the same year a revised liturgy prepared by Laurentius was issued in which the reformer began the transformation of the solemn mass in Latin without congregational communion into a service of Holy Communion sung in Swedish by the people, with a sermon required after the Gospel.

In 1561, at the coronation of King Eric XIV, Archbishop Laurentius preached a sermon setting forth the principles of the Reformation and making clear the relation between the two autonomous instruments of God’s rule, the secular and the religious.

Laurentius died in 1573, and twenty years later, when the Augsburg Confession was officially endorsed the Reformation in Sweden was complete. During the lifetime of the two Petri brothers, Sweden had passed from Danish rule, subject to Rome, to an independent nation with a firmly established evangelical church.
Excerpts from New Book of Festivals & Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints by Philip H. Pfatteicher, copyright, 2008 by Fortress Press, an imprint of Augsburg Fortress.

See also: Olaus Petri; Laurentius Petri


From The Church Manual of Olavus Petri

Our death has now through Christ’s death become a medicine unto life, so that when we begin to die, then for the first time we really begin to live, because the sin with which we were born is so deeply rooted in us that we can not be free from it as long as we live. And we are not fit for eternal life as long as we live. And we are not fit for eternal life as long as we are laden with sin, which is active in our mortal members; therefore it is necessary that death comes and strikes down man in whom sin reigns, so that the body is brought to naught. For this reason death is now become a remarkable medicine. And although this medicine is bitter to experience, it is nevertheless beneficial for us, and we can observe from this severe remedy how grievous is the sickness of sin with which we are afflicted. And we are poor and wretched folk as long as we remain in this miserable life. In this poor world there is no security, but from all sides we are troubled by sin. Therefore, let us earnestly fall down before our heavenly Father, and pray him for grace not to fear or dread death, since it is quite beneficial that we for a short time taste this physical death with Christ, in order that we may also be raised again with him to blessedness. And we should not mourn and grieve too much that our friends have departed, because they are now separated from this misery and danger in which we still remain, and they are now come into the peace of Christ, where they shall rest until the last judgment. Then we shall be reunited with them and thus remain with Christ forever. With this we should now comfort one another. May God Almighty grant us his holy grace, that we may so walk here in this life, among those things which are temporal, as not to lose that which is spiritual and eternal. Amen.
Excerpted in For All the Saints, ed. Frederick J. Schumacher and Dorothy Zelenko, vol. 3 (Delhi: American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 1995), 77-78.


Almighty God, through the labors of your learned servants Olavus and Laurentius Petri you gave the people of Sweden the Scriptures and the services of the church in their own tongue: Mercifully grant that people everywhere may hear and understand the good news of salvation, and be drawn to the kingdom of your blessed Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 46; 1 Corinthians 3:11-23; Mark 10:35-45
Hymn of the Day:Oh, sing jubilee to the Lord” (LBW 256)
Prayers: For the Church in Sweden: its archbishop, bishops, priests, and people; For the gift of wisdom and learning for the clergy; For a deepened appreciation of the long tradition of the church.
Preface: A Saint (1) (BCP)

Color: White

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After a challenging year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

Learn More