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Intercessions for Sixth Sunday after Trinity Year A (Proper 12): 27 July 2014

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The Collect

Merciful God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as pass our understanding: pour into our hearts such love toward you that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain our promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Genesis 29.15-28

Laban said to Jacob, ‘Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?’ Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful. Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, ‘I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.’ Laban said, ‘It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.’ So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.’ So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?’ Laban said, ‘This is not done in our country giving the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.’ Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.

Psalm 105.1-11,45b

O give thanks to the Lord and call upon his name; *make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises, *and tell of all his marvellous works.
Rejoice in the praise of his holy name; *let the hearts of them rejoice who seek the Lord.
Seek the Lord and his strength; * seek his face continually.
Remember the marvels he has done, *his wonders and the judgements of his mouth,
O seed of Abraham his servant, *O children of Jacob his chosen.
He is the Lord our God; *his judgements are in all the earth.
He has always been mindful of his covenant, *the promise that he made for a thousand generations:
The covenant he made with Abraham, *the oath that he swore to Isaac,
Which he established as a statute for Jacob, *an everlasting covenant for Israel,
Saying, ‘To you will I give the land of Canaan *to be the portion of your inheritance.’
That they might keep his statutes *and faithfully observe his laws. Alleluia.

Second Reading: Romans 8.26-39

The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than  conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 13.31-33,44-52

Jesus put before the crowd another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’ He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened. The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’


The gospel this week is so packed with parables that it is like being spun round several times on the spot and left to find our way, rather groggily, to the nearest place we can sit down and take it all in. I cannot quote the whole of Jane Williams on the subject, but I do recommend you read her, which you can do here (pp 94-95 – searching for ‘scribe’ will take you to page 95). Perhaps the most evocative commentary of all is R S Thomas’s ‘The Bright Field’, which he reads here; the text is here.

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to the God of compassion for the light to know his will, and the grace to obey it.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, again and again you renew your promise, putting a new heart and spirit within us. You demand no unthinking obedience, no loyalty blind and correct. You do not try to control us, but instead seek the pledge of our wills and our hearts, freely given in love for you. You have bound yourself to us, and we belong inextricably to you and to each other. Keep us giving and receiving your presence among us, protecting those who are weak and in need, our trust deepening through sacraments of love.

Lord, give us grace to work for the coming of your kingdom: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Lord, we have rejoiced at the sight of the sun breaking through the clouds for an instant to illuminate a small field. We have gazed in wonder at the ocean. And in those moments, we have glimpsed a sight of your face. And then the mundane concerns of the every day world resurface and we forget the glories of these treasures. Help us to live in the moment. Help us never to forget these times when we are filled with awe at the marvels of your creation, and lost in wonder, love and praise.

Lord, give us grace to work for the coming of your kingdom: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, give us the insight to see the miraculous in the everyday things that surround us. Give us the insight to see the face of your Son in everyone with whom we come into contact. Let us embrace one another, choosing in friendship to share our being and becoming. Let us learn from the farmers of the East, who use two people to accomplish every task, one to push and one to pull, so that everyone may be employed in the vineyard of the Lord as  we offer you our hands and feet to do your work.

Lord, give us grace to work for the coming of your kingdom: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, give us, and all who are in pain, courage today. Courage that we may think about something other than the distress that we feel. Courage that we may not dwell on a future which we fear may be bleak. Courage to put ourselves in the place of those around us and spare them the misery of watching the suffering of those whom they love. Give all who suffer the strength to look outwards, rather than inwards. May your eternal spirit flood our souls and bodies, filling every corner with light and grace; so that we may be diffusers of life, meeting all ills with gallant and high-hearted happiness, giving you thanks always for all things.

Lord, give us grace to work for the coming of your kingdom: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we thank you for all the saints who went before us, who have spoken to our hearts and touched us with your fire. Lord, we thank you for all the saints who live beyond us, who challenge us to change the world with them. And we thank you for your promise that death shall have no more dominion.

Lord, give us grace to work for the coming of your kingdom: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

Copyright acknowledgement : Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA. Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000. Collect (6th after Trinity, Short) © The Archbishops’ Council 2005

‘House of Bishops’ Declaration and the Five Guiding Principles’: Tim Hind

Statue of Saint Peter by Giuseppe de Fabris

Part of the legislative package that the General Synod passed at their meeting in York in July 2014 is a Declaration by the House of Bishops regarding the way in which they will operate should the legislation come into law in due course. It is predicated on five principles which have gained universal acceptance by all sides of the debate.

In November 2012, the General Synod seemed to implode as it came to terms with what some had been predicting for some time, namely that the vote for the current legislation would be lost because it would fail to get the requisite majority (66.7%) in all three Houses – and particularly in the House of Laity. There were many dire consequences predicted but we need to keep in focus that, should it have been passed, the Code of Practice had yet to be debated – it was only in draft form – and that even with a fair wind and using our pedestrian procedures we would be heading for finalisation in 2015!  In fact we would be likely to be still arguing over the nitty gritty of the Code of Practice. Frightening!

As a result of a bit of creative use of procedures, coupled with the application of the reconciliation ministry from Coventry in the form of facilitated conversations, there has been a dramatic turn around and a successful conclusion to this chapter in the history of the Church of England.

So what is so special about the 5 principles?

The principles can be paraphrased as follows but it is vital that the Declaration & its Annex must be examined in full!

1 The Church of England treats all ordained people, regardless of gender, the same and expects others to do the same

2 All Church of England ministers must accept that this decision has been made clearly

3 the Church of England recognises that this must be set against a backdrop of differing opinions within the Anglican Communion & Ecumenical Partnerships

4 Within the Church of England, the Church is committed to enabling all to flourish within its life and structures

5 There will be no time limit imposed on any pastoral or sacramental provision made to satisfy the 4th principle.

Now it is possible be either sceptical or cynical about these principles. However, those who have a positive outlook will be at worst sceptical – the proof of the pudding argument.

Just after the train crash of 2012, one suffragan standing in during a vacant see said “The mistrust of the bishops in Synod is palpable”. It is clear to almost everyone that there has been a seed change in the House of Bishops since then. If nothing else the introduction of 8 regional women observers has occurred and that in itself has further changed the dynamics within meetings of that House.

So, for me, the idea that a positive declaration from the House of Bishops that they are going to commit to a way of acting out the 5 principles is now believable.

We have a new legislative package, a new commitment that people will be treated fairly, a set if 5 principles that impose duties on all sides of the argument.

We can now be confident, as John Spence said in the final speech from the floor of Synod, that Christ can be restored to his rightful place.


tim hind

Tim Hind

Vice Chair House of Laity General Synod but writing in a personal capacity.


I am very grateful to Tim Hind for agreeing to help us ‘unpack’ the fine print in the agreement to raise women to the episcopate. Whichever wing of the Church you are from, there are principles that make you want to cheer, as well as others that may make you nervous as to how they will work out in practice. But Tim is the best possible guide to this, as he has a ‘feel’ second to none for the workings of the Church of England.

He does not volunteer the information, so I will on his behalf, that he is a member of the Archbishops Council:

“The Archbishops’ Council provides within the Church of England a focus for leadership and executive responsibility and a forum for strategic thinking and planning. Within an overall vision for the Church set by the House of Bishops, the Council proposes an ordering of priorities in consultation with the House of Bishops and the General Synod and takes an overview of the Church’s financial needs and resources.”

Intercessions for Fifth Sunday after Trinity Year A (Proper 11) 20 July 2014

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The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in holiness and truth to the glory of your name; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Genesis 28.10-19a

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel.

Psalm 139.1-11,23-24

Lord, you have searched me out and known me; * you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
You mark out my journeys and my resting place * and are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue, * but you, O Lord, know it altogether.
You encompass me behind and before * and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, * so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go then from your spirit? * Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I climb up to heaven, you are there; * if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
If I take the wings of the morning * and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand shall lead me, * your right hand hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will cover me * and the light around me turn to night,’
Even darkness is no darkness with you; the night is as clear as the day; * darkness and light to you are both alike.
Search me out, O God, and know my heart; * try me and examine my thoughts.
See if there is any way of wickedness in me * and lead me in the way everlasting.

Second Reading: Romans 8.12-25

Brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

 

Gospel Reading: Matthew 13.24-30,36-43

Jesus put before the crowd another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’ Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!’


On a historic day for the Church of England, when our General Synod approved the raising of women to the episcopate, it is hard not to devote the whole of the intercessions to this topic and its ramifications. However, we have many readers from abroad who are not directly affected, so I have avoided any specific mention of our news in the prayers. Nevertheless, as so often happens, the lectionary chimes with what is in the hearts of many of us. First of all, Jacob’s ladder dream, which is traditionally taken to mean that our Lord is our means to ascend to heaven (as we recognise every time we end a prayer ‘through Jesus Christ our Lord’). For me, the emphasis is on our pilgrimage, our spiritual journey, ever travelling onward and upwards. And occasionally there is a chink of light, something understood. Prophetically, in 2008, the RSCM commented:

How easy it is to see the chaos and mess around us, in the world but also in the church, and to be tempted to think it’s our responsibility to try and sort it all out. Yes, things go wrong, yes, they are messy, even in the church, but it is God’s responsibility to unravel at the end. We must ‘tend the field’, faithfully doing all that we are called to do, leaving the rest to God, who knows the secrets of all hearts.

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, we thank you that at times when differences amongst us threaten to tear us asunder, you send a shaft of light, a new way of seeing, even if it is a man who is himself blind that is chosen to teach us how to see.  Through your grace, we each have individual experience of the working of the Holy Spirit: now help us to see the spirit working among us collectively as the Body of Christ, even if it is those with whom we disagree on doctrine who today seem to have advanced their own cause. Pour on us, we pray, your charity so that we may learn to appreciate and work in harmony with all our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Lord, through your Son you have shown us the way, the truth and the life: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Lord, you are working your purpose out, as year succeeds to year. Give us, we pray, a deep sense of the way your providence unfolds, its ebb and its flow. Take from us all sense of urgency or haste, keeping us conscious that our timescale is not the same as the timescale of eternity. You, who are the keeper of celestial time, help us attune ourselves to the pulse of your grace and the season of your spirit, rather than our own impatient desires and plans for the universe. Reconcile us to the present moment, and the slow but certain dawning of your future.

Lord, through your Son you have shown us the way, the truth and the life: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, we love our friends, even though they may have faults, and they love us despite ours. But you have set us to live amongst people who do not necessarily think like us, or share the same tastes or ideas about life. And they may not like us. But you have told us so many times, in so many ways, that it is in caring for these people that we can best serve you. Lord, help us to build bridges to the different. And if we have to agree to disagree, then let us do so in love.

Lord, through your Son you have shown us the way, the truth and the life: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord of life, we ask for a gift we never want to need: the gift of courage. We pray for it for ourselves, as we look towards an unknown future. We pray for those who will need it this day, those who face the prospect of physical or mental pain. Give us eyes to see beauty, dignity and grace in the bravery of others. Bless us with the courage of Gethsemane, and bind us in the fellowship of those who take the cup of necessary suffering and drink from it.  *

Lord, through your Son you have shown us the way, the truth and the life: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord, give us ears to hear, wills to listen, and minds to comprehend the message of immortality for the children of your kingdom, that we may look forward with patient confidence to entering at the last into your glorious liberty.

Lord, through your Son you have shown us the way, the truth and the life: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

 


* Based on the prayer ‘Courage‘ by Stephen Cherry

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Genesis 28.10-19a © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for Fourth Sunday after Trinity (Proper 10) Year A – 13 July 2014

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The Collect

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that with you as our ruler and guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not our hold on things eternal; grant this, heavenly Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

 

First Reading: Genesis 25.19-34

These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. The children struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If it is to be this way, why do I live?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.’ When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. Afterwards his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. When the boys grew up, Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob. Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!’ (Therefore he was called Edom.) Jacob said, ‘First sell me your birthright.’ Esau said, ‘I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’ Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.’ So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Psalm 119.105-112 14 Nun

Refrain: O deal with your servant according to your faithful love.

Your word is a lantern to my feet * and a light upon my path.
I have sworn and will fulfil it, * to keep your righteous judgements.
I am troubled above measure; * give me life, O Lord, according to your word.
Accept the freewill offering of my mouth, O Lord, * and teach me your judgements.R
My soul is ever in my hand, * yet I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me, * but I have not strayed from your commandments.
Your testimonies have I claimed as my heritage for ever; * for they are the very joy of my heart.
I have applied my heart to fulfil your statutes: * always, even to the end.R

Second Reading: Romans 8.1-11

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law – indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 13.1-9,18-23

Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen! Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to God, through whose grace our words are given life. *

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, who gave us a life to enjoy and a life together that we might cherish each other in the Body of Christ, we beseech you not only to give us the intellects to obsess over points of doctrine but also the hearts that are capable, in your service, of powerful commitment and costly love. Enlarge these our hearts, we pray, so that in choosing life in all its abundance we may fix on the constant that is love of your Holy Trinity with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. And give us the grace to love our brothers and sisters in Christ as we love ourselves.

Lord, help us to fix ourselves entirely on you as our goal: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Lord, stop us in our tracks with the beauty of your world. Open our eyes to look outwards, beyond our daily preoccupations, beyond ourselves, to see the glory of all that you have made.  Help us to understand that we, too, are a part of your creation, and that the best of ourselves is also a part of all that wonder.  And help us to look deep within ourselves and find there, too, the mystery of your art.

 Lord, help us to fix ourselves entirely on you as our goal: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, you charge us to do your work with what we have, as far as we can and where we are. Though love and service of the people in our community is not all that you ask of us, it is a necessary part of it. Give us the gift of kindness, we pray: kind words and a kind heart. Make us good companions to others, whether our time together is to be marked by seconds or decades.

 Lord, help us to fix ourselves entirely on you as our goal: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we ask those who suffer to repeat to themselves ‘And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’ We know full well ourselves that there are moments when fear gnaws at trust. We know that the courage to say ‘and all shall be well’ does not mean being able to avoid pain. But this too we know: all may yet be well if we face what is to come, placing all our trust in you. All may yet be well if we ask you to be with us always throughout our journey.

 Lord, help us to fix ourselves entirely on you as our goal: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord, you have promised to set those who live in the Spirit free from sin and death. And we shall see unclouded, and drenched with light, seeing and knowing at last in the company of that great un-numbered throng.

 Lord, help us to fix ourselves entirely on you as our goal: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 


*I have begun to include a few words of introduction to the prayers, because in listening to intercessions generally I have found that this settles the congegation and enables the prayer for the Body of Christ, ie the Church, to be heard properly. However, I advise you on no account to make this too long – don’t forget the social contract with the congregation that the service should not be so much longer than expected as to interfere with the orderly production of Sunday lunch.
Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 Collect (4th after Trinity) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for Third Sunday after Trinity (Proper 9) Year A – 6 July 2014

shutterstock_171182126

The Collect

Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father: give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service, that we and all creation may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Genesis 24.34-38,42-49,58-67

The servant whom Abraham had sent said to Laban: ‘I am Abraham’s servant. The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has. My master made me swear, saying, “You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; but you shall go to my father’s house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son.” I came today to the spring, and said, “O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am going! I am standing here by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, ‘Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,’ and who will say to me, ‘Drink, and I will draw for your camels also’ – let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.” Before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah coming out with her water jar on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, “Please let me drink.” She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder, and said, “Drink, and I will also water your camels.” So I drank, and she also watered the camels. Then I asked her, “Whose daughter are you?” She said, “The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.” So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her arms. Then I bowed my head and worshipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left.’ And they called Rebekah, and said to her, ‘Will you go with this man?’ She said, ‘I will.’ So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, ‘May you, our sister, become thousands of myriads; may your offspring gain possession of the gates of their foes.’ Then Rebekah and her maids rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb. Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, ‘Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?’ The servant said, ‘It is my master.’ So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Psalm 45.10-17

Hear, O daughter; consider and incline your ear; *forget your own people and your father’s house.
So shall the king have pleasure in your beauty; *he is your lord, so do him honour.
The people of Tyre shall bring you gifts; *the richest of the people shall seek your favour.
The king’s daughter is all glorious within; *her clothing is embroidered cloth of gold.
She shall be brought to the king in raiment of needlework; *after her the virgins that are her companions.
With joy and gladness shall they be brought *and enter into the palace of the king.
‘Instead of your fathers you shall have sons *whom you shall make princes over all the land.
‘I will make your name to be remembered through all generations; *therefore shall the peoples praise you for ever and ever.’

Second Reading:Romans 7.15-25a

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Gospel Reading: Matthew 11.16-19,25-30

At that time Jesus said, ‘To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.” For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

Jane Williams makes good sense  of the epistle and gospel (searching ‘sulk’ will take you to pp 88-89):

‘Paul understands perfectly well that the children are rejecting happiness…they have deliberately cut themselves off from what they want. Nobody else made them do it…they chose to be miserable when they wanted to be happy…And now he has foud what he was looking for all his life – a way to forget himself and so be what he wants to be. Julian of Norwich writes of this experience in her ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ – God, of your goodness, give me yourself…if I ask anything less, I shall always be in want. Only in you do I have it all’


Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, we long to serve you as one people united in your truth and love. But we have woven a tangle of distractions and difficulties, which seem more daunting each time we look at them. Ignoring them seems no longer possible either. Lord, give us grace to extract from this complex knot just one obstacle that by grace might be tamed. Let us look there for some filament on which to pull. Let us find the way to unloosen the window and let in light and air. Give us the grace to do the difficult thing today. *

Lord of your goodness, give us of yourself: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Lord, whose beauty is beyond our imagining and whose power we cannot comprehend: show us your glory as far as we can grasp it, and shield us from knowing more than we can bear until we may look upon you without fear. Help us to understand that all humans with temporal power, who deck themselves with the trappings of wealth and influence, do but hide their naked humanity. And clothe us, we pray, with the splendour and glory that shine through justice, mercy and humility.

Lord of your goodness, give us of yourself: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, teach us again the great lesson of service: help us to devote ourselves to our community and our families as well as to ourselves, so that through all we may serve you. Through your love for us, save us from half-heartedness. In the depth of your mercy, pick us up when we fall. Be close to us when we face difficulty or distress. And dance in our lives with your light and delight.

Lord of your goodness, give us of yourself: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord, when darkness falls on our lives, and paths and signposts are lost in doubt; when the mist swirls around us so that we can no longer see; when we feel loveless, unfulfilled and useless to ourselves and others; reach us, we pray in that darkness. Though we may feel forsaken, keep us through the aching night till new dawns awaken, bringing fresh hope.

Lord of your goodness, give us of yourself: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord of eternity, whose power is infinite, whose days are without number and whose mercy is beyond our fathoming: keep our faces turned always towards you, so that each day we may remember that life is your gift and the hour of death unknown. And when finally we meet you face to face, transform us in the fire of your love and receive us into your eternal kingdom  with all the company of saints.

Lord of your goodness, give us of yourself: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

 


Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA Post Communion (3rd after Trinity) © 1992 Janet Morley: All Desires Known (SPCK) Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000

*From an idea by Stephen Cherry in his prayer for Maundy Thursday, Too Difficult.

Intercessions for the Feast of St Peter and St Paul Year A – 29 June 2014

St Peter and St Paul by El Greco

St Peter and St Paul by El Greco

The Collect

Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you in their death as in their life: grant that your Church, inspired by their teaching and example, and made one by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Zechariah 4.1-6a,10b-14

The angel who talked with me came again, and wakened me, as one is wakened from sleep. He said to me, ‘What do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it; there are seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And by it there are two olive trees, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.’ I said to the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these, my lord?’ Then the angel who talked with me answered me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ I said, ‘No, my lord.’ He said to me, ‘These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth.’ Then I said to him, ‘What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?’ And a second time I said to him, ‘What are these two branches of the olive trees, which pour out the oil through the two golden pipes?’ He said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ I said, ‘No, my lord.’ Then he said, ‘These are the two anointed ones 1 who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.’

1Zechariah probably meant Joshua and Zerubbabel, Israel’s spiritual leaders of his time…in the context of today’s festival, we think of Peter and Paul.

Psalm 125

Refrain: Glorious things are spoken of you, Zion, city of our God.
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, *which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever.
As the hills stand about Jerusalem, *so the Lord stands round about his people, from this time forth for evermore.
The sceptre of wickedness shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the righteous, * lest the righteous turn their hands to evil.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, * and to those who are true of heart.
Those who turn aside to crooked ways the Lord shall take away with the evildoers; * but let there be peace upon Israel.
Refrain: Glorious things are spoken of you, Zion, city of our God.

 

Second Reading: Acts 12.1-11

King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.) When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him.  The very night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’And the chains fell off his wrists. The angel said to him, ‘Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.’He did so. Then he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.’ Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, ‘Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.’

Gospel Reading: Matthew 16.13-19

When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’

”Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam. Et portae inferi non praevalebunt ad versus eam: et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum.”

Prayers of Intercession

Today is complicated. It is both the Feast of St Peter and St Paul and the Second Sunday after Trinity.  The lectionary for Trinity 2 follows after the line at the bottom of this text. However, most people will follow the liturgy for St Peter and St Paul (particularly as June 29th this year falls on a Sunday). The following intercessions are proposed by Visual Liturgy (Church House):

Encouraged by our fellowship with all the saints,  let us make our prayers to the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Father, your Son called men and women to leave the past behind them and to follow him as his disciples in the way of the cross. Look with mercy upon those whom he calls today, marks with the cross and makes his disciples within the Church …
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Your Son told his disciples not to be afraid and at Easter breathed on them his gift of peace. Look with mercy upon the world into which he sent them out, and give it that peace for which it longs …
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.|

Your Son formed around him a company who were no longer servants but friends, and he called all those who obeyed him his brother and sister and mother. Look with mercy upon our families and our friends and upon the communities in which we share …
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Your Son sent out disciples to preach and heal the sick. Look with mercy on all those who yearn to hear the good news of salvation, and renew among your people the gifts of healing …
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Your Son promised to those who followed him that they would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel and would share the banquet of the kingdom. According to your promise, look with mercy on those who have walked with Christ in this life and now have passed through death …
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ himself as the chief cornerstone: so join us together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God, who has prepared for you a city with eternal foundations, bring you, with Peter and Paul and all the saints, to the eternal and triumphant joy of that city; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.


Lay Anglicana offers:

The RSCM wrote the following in 2008:

Caesarea Philippi – a key turning point in the Gospels: nothing can be the same again after this. The other disciples play it safe. Only Peter, willing to make the biggest mistake of his life (although in fact that will come later) risks all, risks blasphemy: ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.’ And so he reveals what a big, risky God he has, God made man – a God who asks us, like Peter, to take extraordinary risks with him and for him.

 

 ¶The Church of Christ

Lord, you built your Church upon a rock, and despite many travails and conflicts, it remains standing as a beacon of light transmitted from your son to the apostles Peter and Paul, and thence to those around them in a galaxy of myriad lights taken up by successive generations. We thank you for infusing the apostles with the joy of believing, and the ability to transmit that joy to others. May we in our age, who speak where others listen and write what others read, do our part in spreading the light of Christ far and wide.

Lord, help us each in turn to absorb, be transformed by and then transmit the light of Christ: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Lord, those who stand at the roof of the world to await the dawn, in the darkest of dark hours which precede it,  see at first not the sun itself, but its reflection on each mountain top in turn, beginning with the highest peak. Each mountain summit takes up the light, transmitting the beacon to its snow-capped companions, on to the next and the next until the valleys themselves are also flooded with light. So may our planet transmit peace and light and love, one community to another in turn, as we seek to glorify you in this world you have made.

Lord, help us each in turn to absorb, be transformed by and then transmit the light of Christ: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, we ask you to find a space for us somwhere in this giant jigsaw that you are working: a space our contours can fit without contortion. Teach us which patch we are in the cosmic quilt you are quilting: show us where our own squares of selfhood can be of use to the pattern as a whole. Put us next to whom you will, precisely in the place your plan demands. Tell us what we are in this body you are building: tongues to taste, nerves to serve or ears to hear. Weave your wondrous tapestry until the twisted, tangled threads of our selves, surrendered to your artistry, form an image that is beautiful to see. *

Lord, help us each in turn to absorb, be transformed by and then transmit the light of Christ: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord, shine on us and those for whom we pray, with your eyes of compassion and glory. We remember those whose hearts are broken because the light they lived by has turned to darkness. We remember those whose feet walk in circles, resting only to resume the same circular path. We remember those whose flesh and bone or mind and spirit are filled with pain. Let your light flood the darkness in us and in our world, and make us bearers of your healing for people.

Lord, help us each in turn to absorb, be transformed by and then transmit the light of Christ: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we thank you for the saints of all ages; for those who, in times of darkness, kept the lamp of faith burning; for the great souls like St Peter and St Paul, who saw visions of larger truth and dared to declare it; for those whose presence has purified and sanctified the world; and for those whom we knew and loved, and who have passed from this earthly fellowship into the fuller light of life with you.

 Lord, help us each in turn to absorb, be transformed by and then transmit the light of Christ: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

*Based on Gerard Kelly’s ‘Fit Me In Somewhere‘.


Collect for Second Sunday after Trinity

Lord, you have taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you. Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Genesis 22.1-14

God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And Abraham said, ‘Here I am.’ God said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt-offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘Father!’ And Abraham said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ Isaac said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together. When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ The angel said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’

Psalm 13

Refrain: I love the Lord, for he has heard the voice of my supplication.
How long will you forget me, O Lord; for ever? * How long will you hide your face from me?
How long shall I have anguish in my soul and grief in my heart, day after day? * How long shall my enemy triumph over me? R
Look upon me and answer, O Lord my God; * lighten my eyes, lest I sleep in death;
Lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed against him,’ * and my foes rejoice that I have fallen. R
But I put my trust in your steadfast love; * my heart will rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord, * for he has dealt so bountifully with me.
Refrain: I love the Lord, for he has heard the voice of my supplication.

Jesus Christ, Son of God,
who passed through the dark sleep of death,
remember those who cry to you
in shame and silence and defeat
and raise them to your risen life,
for you are alive and reign for ever.

Second Reading: Romans 6.12-23

Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 10.40-42

‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA. Intercessions (Peter & Paul) © Michael Perham; The Archbishops’ Council. Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000. Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council

Re-blogged from ‘Past Christian’ by Dr Wendy Dackson

Dr Wendy Dackson now has her own blog. Although I hope she will continue to write for us as well, sometimes her pearls of wisdom are too lustrous not to share!


Good Disagreement: ++Justin’s Speech on

the 21st Century Church (Part 1)

Yesterday on Facebook, Lay Anglicana shared the Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech at Britain’s National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. I’m sure that there will be a lot of commentary on the finer points of global Christianity from people with much more official authority than I have.  But a few things stood out for me, and I want to write a bit on them.

The first (not in order of where it falls in ++Justin’s speech, but in what captured my  attention) is the idea of good disagreement. The Archbishop used the phrase in the context of how the Anglican Communion holds together, and his words were as follows:

We deal in thousands of cultures. The struggle, the achievement, of holding together in good disagreement sets a pattern in which truth is not a club with which to strike others, but a light freely offered for a path of joy and flourishing.

Good disagreement.I have a bunch of former students, distributed across a number of institutions and two countries, who must be breaking out in rashes at that phrase. Because disagreement between Christians is never good, is it?  Some of the problems with the idea of disagreement were in the context of a group discussion where the complaint was “we could not come to agreement”.  Others were complaints about a grade that was “unfair” just because the student and I did not “agree” on certain aspects of religion.  (No, that wasn’t the problem.  More often than not, a failure to meet the standards set out in writing for the assignment was why your mark was disappointing.) The most egregious was a student presenting me with the official form to drop my class because s/he “could not agree with (me), and therefore couldn’t learn from (me).”

There is a silly idea about–not just among Christians, but in secular society as well–that anyone we disagree with is somehow not as good a person as we are.  We have nothing to learn from those who do not confirm our most dearly held preconceived notions.  If someone does not think as I do, s/he must somehow be my enemy, or at the very least, removed from the social and spiritual world in which I move.

And so I was very glad to see ++Justin Welby use the phrase good disagreement. It is a beautiful pairing of words, of which I think Jesus would heartily approve. Because, good disagreement was exactly the method Jesus and his coreligionists used to discuss their sacred writings.  It’s called midrash, and Ken Howard’s blog Paradoxical Thoughts brings the method to bear on contemporary western Christianity.  I get the method in broad strokes, Ken is much more nuanced than I am, and I heartily suggest following his blog to get an idea of how it might be used for the life of the church in the 21st century.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was the very first way I observed people studying Holy Scripture.  I was maybe seven or eight, and we were visiting a cousin of my mother’s, a rabbi with five sons who were all a few years older than me.  One of them was preparing for Bar Mitzvah, and my “uncle” (that’s what we called him) was discussing the passage of the Torah which he would be called to read and interpret.  My uncle, with much more obvious expertise, did not demand that his son memorize or agree with his interpretation, but kept introducing other, seemingly contradictory ways of viewing the passage.  The boy on the cusp of religious adulthood was to look at all of these, decide on an interpretation most convincing to him and why (often blending the ideas of several commentators, and holding in tension views that seemed on the surface to be in opposition to each other), but was never encouraged or instructed to dismiss other interpretations. Settling one’s opinion, when further evidence or insight might be brought to light at a later time by other people, was not the goal.  The goal was to include as wide a range of viewpoints as possible.  Only by looking at a passage of scripture this way, bringing to bear as many opinions as possible–even those that seemed irreconcilable–held the possibility of moving toward a truthful interpretation.

This is a pretty sophisticated mental exercise for a 13 year old, but it happens somewhere in the world on probably most Saturdays throughout the year.  It saddens me that Christians who have lived several times that number of years are not only often unable to perform it, but refuse to even attempt it or to see the value of doing so.

Part of the value is the move toward a bigger version of ‘truth’ than any one person (or group) can possess.  Another part of the value is that all viewpoints are discussed seriously, taking account of both their merits and their deficiencies, and good reason is given before an interpretation is adopted or dismissed.  Minority views can be upheld, and there is much less danger of a tyranny of numbers.

Good disagreement must be nurtured in both church and society.  We still have a responsibility to set limits, condemn evil, expose corruption when we see it.  There will always be lines which cannot be crossed (although what those lines are will be a topic for discussion).  But within a more generously bounded area than we often find acceptable, there is room for healthy, life-giving difference of opinion.

The old saying is that when two people hold exactly the same opinion, one of them isn’t necessary.  Human endeavor relies on bringing differences together, not keeping things separate.  A beautiful painting contains a variety of , brush strokes, curves and lines.  A mosaic is only interesting if there are tiles of varying materials to give it color and texture.  A garden needs more than one kind of plant if it is to be pleasing to the eye or useful for food or medicine.  A symphony needs a range of instruments playing different notes or remaining silent over the course of the music, creating harmony (and sometimes dissonance) to reach a satisfying conclusion.

Christians should not demand absolute agreement as the gold standard of life together–whether globally, as in the context of ++Justin’s speech, or within a weekday morning coffee-and-Bible Study group.   Good disagreement–taking into account the merits of opinions we have never heard, or may not like, but recognizing them as potentially leading us to greater beauty, truth, and goodness–should be the aim of our life together under the gaze of God.


I also recommend the second part of Wendy’s reactions to this speech:

Another theme, one that he spent more on, is suffering. He speaks of the suffering of the Church in parts of the world where there is systemic violence, and where Christianity is indeed a persecuted religion. He tells of a visit to Pakistan where he has seen the Church suffer and grow… :

And the third reflection:

. . . the sight of a Church tower, wherever it is met with, is an assurance that every thing has not been bought up for private convenience or enjoyment;–that there is some provision made for public purposes, and for the welfare of the poorest and most destitute human being who lives within the hearing of its bells. (Thomas Arnold, Principles of Church Reform, p. 94)

Of course, ++Justin did not quote Thomas Arnold in his speech at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, which has given me cause to think and write today. But he may as well have done. Except now, it is not just England, or foreign missions of the Church of England, to which Arnold’s words apply. Since 1833, when Principles of Church Reform was written, the Anglican Communion has evolved from colonial outposts and a few churches (such as the Episcopal Church) not governed by the Church of England, to a global affiliation of interdependent provinces, each with their own systems of canon law, but held together, if only tenuously at times, by the Instruments of Communion…

Intercessions for First Sunday after Trinity Year A (Proper 7 ) – 22 June 2014

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The Collect

O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in you, mercifully accept our prayers and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without you, grant us the help of your grace, that in the keeping of your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy  Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Genesis 21.8-21

Isaac grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.’ The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named after you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, ‘Do not let me look on the death of the child.’ And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.’ Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Psalm 86.1-10,16-17

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, *for I am poor and in misery.
Preserve my soul, for I am faithful; *save your servant, for I put my trust in you.
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for you are my God; *I call upon you all the day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant, *for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, Lord, are good and forgiving, *abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer *and listen to the voice of my supplication.
In the day of my distress I will call upon you, *for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, *nor any works like yours.
All nations you have made shall come and worship you, O Lord, *and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wonderful things; *you alone are God.
Turn to me and have mercy upon me; *give your strength to your servant and save the child of your handmaid.
Show me a token of your favour, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; * because you, O Lord, have helped and comforted me.

Second Reading: Romans 6.1b-11

Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 10.24-39

Jesus summoned the twelve and sent them out with the following instruction: ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father,  and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;  and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.’

Prayers of Intercession

 ¶The Church of Christ

Lord, guide your Church as differences amongst us seem at times to threaten our very existence. We face each other, but do not see the face. We look over, we look through, we look beyond, we look askance. Tectonic plates pull us inexorably apart. We have made ‘an other’ of one another. Help us now to look again,  to see the shape of the face and read the anguish of the soul; to read the hopes, aspirations and desires which make no sense to us.  Lead us to that place where we do not try to ignore or forget, but remember well and look kindly: where we can know the peace of truth, and judgement of mercy, not through understanding all, but by renewing in us the Spirit of your love. *

Lord, you are persistent in faithfulness and constant in love: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Lord, we are part of the tension and injustice of the world: heal the resentment between people, of which we are a part, and intervene in the world’s conflicts, in which we share by being human. Lord, help us to walk humbly, and let us not walk alone. When we come to the crossroads and have to choose a path, lead us to the path of justice. Steer us away from the place of self and help us to find the way to restitution and reconciliation.

Lord, you are persistent in faithfulness and constant in love: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, help us to be gentle. Gentle with others, gentle with ourselves. Give us, we pray, the calm that makes for consideration, the respect for others that makes us courteous. Take from us the brusque word, the cynical look. Let us be to others as we need them to be to us. And let others be to us as we seek to be to them. When we fail, forgive us. When they fail, heal us. When we hurt each other, reconcile us. **

Lord, you are persistent in faithfulness and constant in love: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we pray for all those who are afflicted by physical or mental ills. As trust and doubt, delight and distress wax and wane through the years, keep their eyes fixed on you, and give them the courage to face the trials and temptations that may come. Even in the worst of times, may they not abandon their trust in you.

Lord, you are persistent in faithfulness and constant in love: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, your love reaches even to the depths of the grave. At the end of our days on earth we know you will be there, in the encounter whose nature we cannot predict. We thank you for the hope that draws us on and remember those whom we love and have gone before us. Abiding is your love, everlasting are your truths, eternal is your glory, O God, who is our God.

Lord, you are persistent in faithfulness and constant in love: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 


Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above):Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA. Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000. Collect (1st after Trinity) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

* This prayer is based on  ‘Reconciliation‘ by Stephen Cherry in ‘Barefoot Prayers’ (p.123).

**And this one is inspired by ‘Gentleness’, pp93-94.g

“Beyond The Collar – Confessions of a Vicar” by Mark Edwards

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The Revd Mark Anthony Edwards is the Team Vicar at the churches of St Cuthbert’s and St Matthews in the benefice of  Christ the King in the Diocese of Newcastle, where he has served since 2008. He lives in the vicarage of St Matthew’s in Dinnington.

This is the outer layer of the onion. Peel it off, and you will find beneath the story of his time as an Anglican priest. He studied for the priesthood at Cranmer Hall, Durham, and was ordained deacon in 1995 in Carlisle Cathedral. He then became an assistant curate, first at   Ulverston (St Mary with Holy Trinity and St Jude), and then, after he was priested in 1997, at Barrow-in-Furness (St John the Evangelist) from 2000 to 2008. Since then he has served as Team Vicar at  St Matthews, Barrow-in-Furness  with   Christ the King, Newcastle and was also Chaplain to the Northumbria Police from 2008-2012.

So far, so commonplace, you may say. But peel off the next layer, and you will find him working as a lay pastoral assistant in the Baptist Church. 1984 found Mark Edwards studying at Morland Bible College. He had come to faith through the help of ‘a godly pastor’ at Chester City Mission, where he had been spending a lot of time.

41ULf1EnE8L._And why had he been spending a lot of time at the Chester City Mission? Well, and it is at this point that Mark’s life story departs from the usual well-worn tracks, he had been sleeping on the floor of this church because he was homeless. And why was he homeless? Well, he had been discharged from a mental health hospital, where he had been sectioned. And why was he sectioned? He had tried to commit suicide. And why had he tried to kill himself? He had been in care from the age of 3 until the age of 17. Mark’s first book, ‘ Tears in the Dark’, covers the period of his life up until his ordination as deacon in 1995.

D. Gray, in reviewing this book, says:

Mark Edwards is my vicar so I can see the continuing results of his book from his difficult childhood to his calling to the priesthood. The book is full of struggle and love and God’s intervention by placing Mark’s wife Lesley in his path when he needed love the most. She was and is his Godsend and I recommend “Tears in the Dark” not just as a good read but as a learning tool for all who suffered in childhood and beyond

 

Mark Edwards seems to be a living breathing exemplar of the adage, ‘if God gives you lemons, make lemonade’. It is pretty clear that, not only has he turned his own life around, he is devoting himself to those around him. He says ‘when I am not involved in Ministry I am on duty as a volunteer community First Responder with the Ambulance Service’. And you will realise that this is just the tip of the iceberg when I tell you that he was awarded the MBE in 2010 ‘for services to the community of Barrow in Furness’. How many other priests do you know who have had a similar award?

I have not met Mark, but we have spoken on the telephone and I can vouch for his endearing openness and the ability to project his love of God and his fellow man. ‘Beyond the Collar’ is available as a Kindle publication rather than in hard cover, but he drew the following personal warm responses to his book:

‘ A pacey fluent irresistible read with a Tiggerish bounce, nakedly candid, forthright and impressive ‘ Quentin Letts 

Mark Edwards takes the reader on a personal emotional roller-coaster, while conveying what it’s like to be a vicar in a Northern industrial town ” Editor of The Independent Chris Blackhurst

‘ A very honest and revealing book and a good read ‘ – ITV Lorraine Kelly

‘ Well worth the read.’ Natalie Haynes ( Booker Prize Judge)

‘ A powerful story’ BBC Television Songs of Praise Pam Rhodes

” A refreshing down to earth account of the difficulties and challenges facing a Vicar and his family “ ( Church of England Newspaper )

“ A no-holds-barred honest laugh-out-loud funny sometimes raw Auto-biography of a Vicar“ Pattie Moys ( Minister)

 

chiefs visit 2007008

Beyond the Collar: Confessions of a Vicar [Kindle Edition]

MARK EDWARDS (Author), MARK EDWARDS WITH CAROLINE … (Editor)


Kindle Price: £4.27 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

 
 
 
What the Revd Mark Edward says about this book:

I was inspired to write this sequel ‘ Beyond the Collar ‘  to reveal what life is really like (warts and all) behind the dog collar for a clergyman and his family living in the vicarage and serving the parish.

The book picks up from where my last one left off at my ordination in 1995 and tells the story of my curacy and my first living as Vicar serving in two deprived parishes.

Intercessions for Trinity Sunday Year A – 15 June 2014

'Bavnehøj Kirke' by Gunnar Bach Pedersen via Wikimedia

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity: keep us steadfast in this faith, that we may evermore be defended from all adversities; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading:  Isaiah 40.12-17,27-31

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,  and weighed the mountains in scales  and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counsellor has instructed him? Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice? Who taught him  knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; see, he takes up the isles like fine dust. Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burnt-offering. All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Psalm 8

O Lord our governor, * how glorious is your name in all the world!
Your majesty above the heavens is praised * out of the mouths of babes at the breast.
You have founded a stronghold against your foes, * that you might still the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, * the moon and the stars that you have ordained,
What are mortals, that you should be mindful of them; * mere human beings, that you should seek them out?
You have made them little lower than the angels * and crown them with glory and honour.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands * and put all things under their feet,
All sheep and oxen, * even the wild beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea * and whatsoever moves in the paths of the sea.
O Lord our governor, * how glorious is your name in all the world!

 

Second Reading:  2 Corinthians 13.11-13

Brothers and sisters, put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 28.16-20

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’


Let us turn once more to Jane Williams :

You may not be able to measure every drop of water in the world, or weigh a mountain, but God can and has. Your very insignificance is, funnily enough, a reassurance…When they are too tired, bewildered and woebegone to find any way out of their plight, they can remember that their God is inexhaustible. They can remember, reach out and feel the potent, unending energy of God…In creation, incarnation and Pentecost we see God at work, patiently, with infinite attention to detail, drawing us into his incomprehensible freedom and life. So when Matthew and Paul end their writings with references to the Trinity, they are not just paying lip-service to something they have inherited and feel they must mention, but are witnessing to the thing that motivates them, and that they believe can energize the hard-pressed and doubting congregations to whom they are writing….If we wish upon ourselves the ‘communion’ of the Holy Spirit, we are praying to be unified, as Father, Son and Spirit are unified. We do not pray to be made indistinguishable, but we do pray to be made inseparable, and to give and get meaning only in each other.

 (pp 76-77. I suggest you follow the link and search 'fiercely' 
which will lead you to the whole page).

So, for me, this Trinity Sunday is primarily about movement, using the energy that we have been given through Pentecost to join the triune cosmic dance, as was discussed here in connection with Andrei Rublev’s icon of the Trinity.

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, you have poured your energy into the Church through the miracle of Pentecost. Help us now to build on that, as did the disciples, so that every day we may see your son more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly, drawn into communion with you and the Holy Spirit.   May we thus be inspired to give ourselves freely to your will for the world and find our true selves in belonging together as members one of another as we endeavour to live out the gospel.

Lord, you have promised to be with us always, even unto the end of the age: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Creator God, source of all life, when we look at creation, the moon and stars majestic in the heavens, the eagle soaring in the air and the dolphin ploughing the sea, the gazelle leaping the wind and the sheep grazing in the meadows, who are we human beings that you care so much for us? Stewards of the planet you give us as our home, how awesome a task you trust to our hands, how fragile and beautiful is the good earth. Amid the immensities of the universe, you seek us out to be your partners. O Lord, help us not to fail you.

Lord, you have promised to be with us always, even unto the end of the age: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, we speak of the mysteries of the Trinity but one thing above all you have made crystal clear to us: we are to move constantly out towards one another in self-giving, living and being in that perfect oneness we call by the name of ‘love’. Help us to realise that it is truly in giving that we receive, and that in serving one another we are serving you. What we gave, we have; what we spent, we kept; and what we kept locked inside ourselves for safekeeping, we lost.

Lord, you have promised to be with us always, even unto the end of the age: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord, make us to know that there is truly a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.  When we feel discouraged, and think our work in vain, you send your Holy Spirit to revive our hopes. We pray for all those that are in physical pain, as well as facing discouraged hopes. We pray for those who are facing terminal illness, that they may have strength to endure and find acceptance and peace.

 Lord, you have promised to be with us always, even unto the end of the age: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for all those whom we love but see no more. May they rest in peace, and rise in glory, buoyed up on the sea of your eternal love.

 Lord, you have promised to be with us always, even unto the end of the age: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA. Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000. Collect (Trinity Sunday) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

The image is ‘Bavnehøj Kirke‘ by Gunnar Bach Pedersen via Wikimedia

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