Lay Anglicana, the unofficial voice of the laity throughout the Anglican Communion.
This is the place to share news and views from the pews.

Get involved ...

Intercessions for Trinity +9 Year B (Proper 13) : 2 August 2015

Adoration_of_the_Magi_-_Google_Art_Project_(6821891)

Adoration of the Magi, c.1240, from J Paul Getty Museum

The Collect

Almighty God, who sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of your Church: open our hearts to the riches of your grace, that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in love and joy and peace; 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: 2 Samuel 11.26-12.13a

When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord. The Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, ‘There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meagre fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveller to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.’ Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.’ Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’ David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Nathan said to David, ‘Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.’

Psalm 51.1-13

Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness; * according to the abundance of your compassion blot out my offences.
Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness * and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my faults * and my sin is ever before me.
Against you only have I sinned * and done what is evil in your sight,
So that you are justified in your sentence * and righteous in your judgement.
I have been wicked even from my birth, * a sinner when my mother conceived me.
Behold, you desire truth deep within me * and shall make me understand wisdom in the depths of my heart.
Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; * wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear of joy and gladness, * that the bones you have broken may rejoice.
Turn your face from my sins * and blot out all my misdeeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God, * and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence * and take not your holy spirit from me.
Give me again the joy of your salvation * and sustain me with your gracious spirit;

Second Reading: Ephesians 4.1-16

I, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’ (When it says, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Gospel Reading: John 6.24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were at the place where Jesus had given the bread, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’

Jeffrey John writes, in The Meaning of the Miracles:

The primary symbolic meaning of the bread is the Word of God, the message of salvation, which was to include Gentiles as well as Jews. The rabbis had already interpreted the manna in the Exodus story as a symbol of God’s word, which he sends down to ‘feed’ human beings. It was an interpretation that was already suggested by the account of the story in Deuteronomy (8.3), where Moses warns the people that God had fed them with manna in the desert ‘in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but be every word that comes out of the mouth of God. ‘ In his gospel, John follows the feeding of the 5,000 with a long discourse of Jesus on himself as the Bread of Life, adapting this already standard Jewish interpretation of the manna as God’s word to his own theology of Jesus as the Logos incarnate…Jesus identifies the bread explicitly with his own flesh and blood – making the eucharistic interpretation inescapable. This, and the fact that from at least the early 2nd century bread and fish symbols appear in Christian art as symbols of the Eucharist, suggest the miracle was understood in this sense probably from the first…As the Passover manna came to be understood by the Jews as a symbol of the Word of God in the Law, or as God’s own Wisdom indwelling in us, so in the Eurcharist we receive Christ the eternal Word of God, both in Scripture and in the sacrament. (pp 62-69)

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, our father, you feed our souls with the living bread from heaven; and, in doing so, you increase our hope and strengthen our love for you and our fellow members of the body of Christ. Teach us, we pray, to hunger for Christ, the true and living bread. May we live by every word that comes from you through him and, as we receive him into our lives, day by day may we become ever closer to you.

Lord, open our hearts to the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, as our leaders face new and increasingly complex problems at every turn, grant to a troubled world, we pray, the stability and firmness of purpose that only you can bring. Inspire all those whose decisions affect the lives of others, that all may serve according to the gifts that you have given them. And may all put serving the people  above serving themselves.

Lord, open our hearts to the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, we pray for those who share our journey with us, knowing that it is not the distance that we travel but our manner of doing so which counts. We thank you for the gift of human companionship. May our homes be open to guests, and our hearts  to one another so that all our travelling is lighter and together we reach the goal.

Lord, open our hearts to the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord of compassion, take us to yourself, we who hurt so much in the depths of our being, caught up in the pain of life, and so often inflicting yet more on others. Embrace us, we pray, with the hands that show the marks of the crucifixion. Then may our broken bones join again, as we dance with our Saviour, who embodies your redeeming power. *

Lord, open our hearts to the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, hear us as we pray for those who have recently died… Grant us to share with them in the bread of heaven, which eternally renews itself to feed all those who come to your table.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…


Prayer after Communion

Holy Father,
who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
in that new world where you reveal the fullness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language
to share in the eternal banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord.


* based on Jim Cotter’s meditation on Psalm 51.

Note on illustration:
“From a 13th century psalter. Rather than representing the Virgin and Child in the modest surroundings described in the Gospels, the artist emphasized the majesty of these figures. The Virgin is regally enthroned, crowned, and richly attired, while Jesus already has the features of a grown man”, says the Getty, presumably, in adding this to Wikimedia. To me, I read it as a depiction of us (the Magi) offering to Christ, while Christ feeds us with the bread of life and blesses us. Teasingly, it poses the question: is the Magi presenting the chalice to the Christ child, or is Christ offering him the wine of the Eucharist in the chalice? Like the Rublev icon, it asks us to join in this ‘dance’, this perpetual exchange between God and mankind.

 

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

Women Bishops, Sexuality, and When Theology Ignores People: by Andrew Bennison

 

Announcement and presentation of the new Diocesan Bishop to the Church of England, the Venerable Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester at Harnhill Farm, nr Cirencester.  News; Citizen: 26.03.15. Photos by Anna Lythgoe

Announcement and presentation of the new Diocesan Bishop to the Church of England, the Venerable Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester at Harnhill Farm, nr Cirencester.
News; Citizen: 26.03.15.
Photos by Anna Lythgoe

Today the first female diocesan bishop in the Church of England, Rachel Treweek, will be consecrated in a service in Canterbury Cathedral. As the most senior female bishop, and the first to sit in the House of Lords, Treweek’s appointment is a landmark moment – a shattering of the ‘stained-glass ceiling’ that has been welcomed with joy by so many women and men in the Church.

 

Listening to the news on BBC Radio 4 this morning, I found myself reflecting on why female bishops matter so much to me, as a Christian. A few months ago, just before her appointment was announced, I attended an event organised by the Diocese of London at which Rachel Treweek – then Archdeacon of Hackney – was a guest speaker. The theme for the evening was ‘hot topics’, and Rachel reflected generously and diplomatically on how we might approach issues of disagreement within the Church. One comment, above all, stood out for me: questioned on how she would engage with those who oppose women’s ordination, Rachel replied that she would push them, as an ordained woman, to follow through fully the logic of their arguments to their (arguably absurd) conclusions: ‘What you’re really saying is that I’ve not been called to be a priest. I’ve misheard God’. The weakness of an opponent’s argument is thus exposed not by force of counter-argument, or by superior theological understanding, but by forcing it to confront its lived-out, practical implications for ordinary people – a process which soon makes obvious its deficiencies. In other words, the argument is brought up short by its failure to account for lived reality.

 

Rachel Treweek’s comment reminded me, then, of a point which is too often neglected in our theological disagreements: however carefully and beautifully constructed our theology may be, unless it has purchase on lived reality it will ultimately be deficient. Nowhere is this clearer than in the current fractious debates in the Church over sexuality: even the most beautifully constructed and philosophically coherent conservative theologies – Pope John Paul II’s elegant ‘Theology of the Body’ is a case in point – ultimately fall short, as they fail to account for the complex lived experiences of human beings. A ‘traditional’ view on human sexuality is impossible to maintain when confronted with the powerful witness of gay Christians, whose lives demonstrate so clearly the fruits of a deep commitment to Jesus Christ. Doing theology in isolation from lived experience is thus ultimately a form of idolatry, in which the ‘neatness’ and ‘beauty’ of one’s philosophical or ethical schema is prized over love and attentiveness to human beings.

 

To make this claim is not of course to argue that theology should simply be the slave of human ‘experience’. Lived experience cannot be the sole basis of theological enquiry; it is always brought into dialogue with the rich witness of Scripture and Christian tradition. But it must have a place. The Cambridge theologian Sarah Coakley has been particularly helpful in drawing attention to this fact: her recent volume of systematic theology, God, Sexuality and the Self, boldly proposes a théologie totale – a methodology in which systematic statements about God emerge from a rich dialogue between Scripture, tradition, culture and human experience (understood through sociological enquiry as well as through prayer). Reading Coakley’s volume, I was struck by the realisation that this is nothing new: Christian theology has always been in dialogue with people’s lives. The doctrine of the Trinity emerged for instance not primarily from intellectual enquiry, but also through the lived experience of prayer and worship. Indeed, we frequently seem to forget that the truth of the New Testament itself is conveyed not principally through written rules and propositional statements, but though conversations and encounters: most obviously, the encounters of Jesus with specific individuals recorded in the gospels, and the encounters of St Paul with emerging Christian communities, made accessible through his letters. Theological thinking ignores lived experience at its peril!

 

So, as the most senior female bishop is consecrated in the Church of England, I am deeply thankful: thankful firstly for the extraordinary gift of our female priests and bishops. But I am also deeply thankful for the reminder that God’s reality is not abstract and distant, but incarnated in the witness of Rachel Treweek and countless other men and women, whose lives testify to the joyful, mysterious, captivating love of God in Jesus Christ.


s200_andrew.bennison

Andrew has been generous enough to let us re-blog this post in its entirety from his Musings on Mystery. He describes himself as follows: “History teacher, Christian, identical twin, London-dweller and countryside-lover (among other things). This blog is my attempt to share my experience of the mystery of God, and to create a space for generous conversations.”

It seems particularly fitting, and welcome, to have this blog by a man on the day our first woman diocesan bishop is consecrated. Also being consecrated in Canterbury cathedral today is The Reverend Dame Sarah Mullally – to be consecrated as Bishop of Crediton.

 

 

Intercessions for Trinity + 8 (Proper 12) Year B: 26 July 2015

shutterstock_29895109

The Collect

Almighty Lord and everlasting God, we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern both our hearts and bodies in the ways of your laws and the works of your  commandments; that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; 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: 2 Samuel 11.1-15

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.  It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, ‘This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant.’  So David sent word to Joab, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house, and wash your feet.’ Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, ‘Uriah did not go down to his house,’ David said to Uriah, ‘You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?’ Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.’ Then David said to Uriah, ‘Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.’ So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.  In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, ‘Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.’

Psalm 14

Refrain: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ * Corrupt are they, and abominable in their wickedness; there is no one that does good.
The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the children of earth, * to see if there is anyone who is wise and seeks after God.
But every one has turned back; all alike have become corrupt: * there is none that does good; no, not one. R
Have they no knowledge, those evildoers, * who eat up my people as if they ate bread and do not call upon the Lord?
There shall they be in great fear; * for God is in the company of the righteous.
Though they would confound the counsel of the poor, * yet the Lord shall be their refuge.
O that Israel’s salvation would come out of Zion! * When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, then will Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

Refrain: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

God of heaven,
look with mercy on all who are consumed
by ignorance and greed,
and let the children of earth know
that you are God for ever.

Second Reading: Ephesians 3.14-21

I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Reading: John 6.1-21

Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Jesus, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’ When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.  When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.

The gospel reading today describes probably the best known of all the miracles. One reason for that is that there are accounts of the feeding of the 5,000 in each gospel (Mark 6.30-44, Matthew 14.13-21, Luke 9.12-17 and John 6.1-21). And two more descriptions of the feeding of the 4,000 (Mark 8.1-9 and Matthew 15.32-38). The best commentary I know is by Jeffrey John in ‘The Meaning in the Miracles’ (pp 60-70). You can see the text of Jane Williams here (pp 89-90, search ‘pressure’).

Gerard Kelly, in ‘Twitturgies‘ (week 29) has an interesting reflection on bread, for which he suggests you read Philippians 2.17. “Christians think of bread and wine in terms of receiving. The Eucharist is central to our faith: Christ’s body is broken and given to us. We are on the receiving end of love. But elsewhere we are described as the body of Christ. Henri Nouwen points out an often-hidden meaning of this name. Are we, as Christ’s body, broken and given to the world? Does our imitation of Christ stretch to this ultimate act of self-giving? Are we bread in the hands of God to be broken and shared with the hungry, wine to be poured out? Nouwen suggests that we are and that the act of being broken, being poured out, being shared is the true meaning of our faith. Paul describes his life as ‘poured out as an offering’. Will yours be?”

This is the first of several weeks in the lectionary on the subject of the bread of life. So we need to pace ourselves. The particular feature of this gospel reading is perhaps the boy, whose lunch is shared with this vast throng. Does he represent all those who have promised to follow Christ, ‘bread in the hands of God to be broken and shared with the hungry’ as Nouwen writes?

Or, linking with the passage from Ephesians, does the boy represent each one of us, unique to God amongst the throng? Here is Jane Williams:

Capture

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

O Lord our God, we have promised to serve you to the end, knowing that the food that we eat, all that we have, comes from you.  Today we vow to follow that child who gave all that he had to eat that day, so that with five rolls and two fish a vast multitude might be fed. Today we offer ourselves to you, just as we are, to be taken, blessed, broken and given in your name. May it be so.

Lord, work in us so that we may be changed: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

Lord, we pray for those in authority who have been overcome by the web of greed and corruption. May their hearts look beyond themselves once more and be softened by compunction and grief. God of true wealth, draw us all through the narrow gate of loss.

Lord, work in us so that we may be changed: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, we ask that through you we may be of service to our neighbour. But give us also the humility to realise that we, too, need to accept your grace through those we live amongst. We stand united, looking in the same direction towards Christ, and we help one another along the road to salvation. Some may do the carrying, others may be carried, but we follow the same path and give glory to you by our journeying. *

Lord, work in us so that we may be changed: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord, there are times when we feel we are at the limits of our coping.  We know that the Christ who hangs on the cross with us shares our pain. Being pushed to the limit takes us to the edge of eternity, makes us tremble on the brink of your infinite mystery, where we live by faith — our faith in you, and even more astonishing, your faith in us.**

Lord, work in us so that we may be changed: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for all those that have died, that the love of Christ  will gather them into the fellowship of the saints…

May they rejoice in your heavenly feast, where he presides for ever.

Lord, work in us so that we may be changed: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

* Based on Dame Catherine Wybourne’s post Pilgrimage to St Winefride’s Well.

** Ibid, ‘Pushed to the Limit’

Prayer after Communion

Strengthen for service, Lord,
the hands that have taken holy things;
may the ears which have heard your word
be deaf to clamour and dispute;
may the tongues which have sung your praise
be free from deceit;
may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love
shine with the light of hope;
and may the bodies which have been fed with your body
be refreshed with the fullness of your life;
glory to you for ever.

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 (8th after Trinity) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for Trinity + 7 (Proper 11) Year B: 19 July 2015

shutterstock_57071080

Benjamin Haas via shutterstock

The Collect

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things:  graft in our hearts the love of your name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of your great mercy keep us in the same; 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: 2 Samuel 7.1-14a

When David was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.’ But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you, David, that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.

Psalm 89.20-37

‘I have found David my servant; *with my holy oil have I anointed him.
‘My hand shall hold him fast * and my arm shall strengthen him.
‘No enemy shall deceive him, * nor any wicked person afflict him.
‘I will strike down his foes before his face * and beat down those that hate him.
My truth also and my steadfast love shall be with him * and in my name shall his head be exalted.
‘I will set his dominion upon the sea * and his right hand upon the rivers.
‘He shall call to me, “You are my Father, * my God, and the rock of my salvation;”
‘And I will make him my firstborn: * the most high above the kings of the earth.
‘The love I have pledged to him will I keep for ever, * & my covenant will stand fast with  him.
‘His seed also will I make to endure for ever * and his throne as the days of heaven.
‘But if his children forsake my law * and cease to walk in my judgements,
‘If they break my statutes * and do not keep my commandments,
‘I will punish their offences with a rod * and their sin with scourges.
‘But I will not take from him my steadfast love * nor suffer my truth to fail.
‘My covenant will I not break * nor alter what has gone out of my lips.
‘Once for all have I sworn by my holiness * that I will not prove false to David.
‘His seed shall endure for ever * and his throne as the sun before me;
‘It shall stand fast for ever as the moon, * the enduring witness in the heavens.’

Second Reading: Ephesians 2.11-22

Remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by those who are called ‘the circumcision’ – a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands – remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

Gospel Reading: Mark 6.30-34,53-56

The apostles returned from their mission. They gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.


The lectionary for today packs a lot in, and each time I re-read it I find something new. The RSCM points out: ‘One of Jesus’ greatest miracles came when ‘many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat’. A friend pointed out: Christ ‘had compassion for them…he began to teach them': we are used to stories of his healing the sick in a physical sense, but here he responded to a group whose hopeless lack of direction was obvious to him. Breaking down dividing walls between groups. Christ as the cornerstone (again). And Janeites can find her unique insight on these passages here (search ‘escalated’ pp 89/90). But the key is perhaps our individual relationship with God, which engenders – or ought to – our overwhelming gratitude:

Human beings need to feel special…knowing that we are identified as individuals is an essential element in both Judaism and Christianity, despite the deeply communal nature of each faith…Friedrich Schleirmacher…said that religion is the external expression of internal feelings of faith….none is more fundamental than gratitude. Gratitude is the consummate religious expression…A million things evoke gratitude towards someone or something beyond ourselves – whether or not we feel able to define who or what that someone or something is…we express gratitude by putting to good use the gifts with which we are blessed…there is a Jewish saying that we will have to give account on the judgement day of every good thing that we refused to enjoy when we might have done so.

I shall not want‘ by the Revd Dave Tomlinson (pp 79-84)

Prayers of Intercession

As sheep who have found their shepherd, we pray through Christ our Lord.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord God, we thank you for your work in the Church, where your followers attempt to be members one of another in the body of your son. We thank you for those times when you are able to work through us, and for the privilege such responsibility affords. And we thank you that, when needed, you work around and in spite of our efforts, for you know our frailties. Guide us, O Lord, as we seek to serve you.

To the greater glory of you in all that we do: Lord, 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 so far as we can grasp it, while shielding us from more knowledge than we can bear until we may look upon you without fear. Your Spirit is around us in the air we breathe; your glory touches us in the light that we see, the fruitfulness of the earth, and the joy of its creatures. You have written for us your revelation, as you have granted us your daily bread: teach us how to use it.

To the greater glory of you in all that we do: Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, help us to know and love the people whom you have planted as our fellow labourers in the vineyard. May we be fresh air and nourishment to each other, through your grace. And if we become bruised, and find it hard grow together, you have promised to break down the divisions between us. Where fields are overgrown with thorns, you will disperse every trace of bitterness and replant. And in you shall we find our peace.

To the greater glory of you in all that we do: Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, you have compassion on your people in all their needs, and have promised your steadfast love if we do but build on you as our cornerstone. You look into our hearts and see a beauty worth the battle: you watch over our growth and find a purpose worth the pain. The past bears your footprints; the future holds your hope; but, above all,  be the presence in our present, O Lord, our comforter.

To the greater glory of you in all that we do: Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we lay before you all those who have died. May they rest in peace and rise in glory. As you make us a dwelling place for you in the here and now, so may we come to dwell with you for ever.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

 


The prayers today draw inspiration from Gerard Kelly’s Twitturgies.

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 (7th after Trinity) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for Trinity +6 (Proper 10) Year B – 12 July 2015

shutterstock_27596392

by Benjamin Haas via Shutterstock

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 your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: 2 Samuel 6.1-5,12b-19

David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. David and all the people with him set out and went from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned on the cherubim. They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart with the ark of God; and Ahio went in front of the ark. David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes.

Psalm 24

Refrain: The Lord of hosts: he is the King of glory.

The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it, * the compass of the world and all who dwell therein.
For he has founded it upon the seas * and set it firm upon the rivers of the deep. R
‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, * or who can rise up in his holy place?’
‘Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, * who have not lifted up their soul to an idol, nor sworn an oath to a lie;
‘They shall receive a blessing from the Lord, * a just reward from the God of their salvation.’
Such is the company of those who seek him, * of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob. R
Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; *and the King of glory shall come in.
‘Who is the King of glory?’ * ‘The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord who is mighty in battle.’
Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; *and the King of glory shall come in.
‘Who is this King of glory?’ * ‘The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.’

Refrain: The Lord of hosts: he is the King of glory.

O Lord of hosts,
purify our hearts
that the King of glory may come in,
your Son, Jesus our redeemer.

Second Reading: Ephesians 1.3-14

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

Gospel Reading: Mark 6.14-29

King Herod heard of the healings and other miracles, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’  For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptizer on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.


Jane Williams’ commentary for today (pp 88-89) is good (search ‘cosmic’)

‘Christianity is not, at its heart, about living a good and decent life. It is about living the life we were created for, in tune with the God who made us. That is why Christians are right to agonize over the way our lives bear witness to the God we seek and serve…We are designed to be part of the ceaseless flow of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Christians, then, live as people who know God’s plan for the world. We know that God has made us to be part of his glorious life and love. ..To praise and glorify God, and to live in the truthful knowledge of the overriding purposes of God, will not necessarily make our lives easy.”

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, set on fire the hearts of all those that worship you! We come before you in beautiful surroundings, some of great antiquity, which speak to us of hundreds of years of continuous praise and give us a sense of permanence,  always there, always changeless. But we know in our heart of hearts that the ‘abiding city’ **  is not here but in the life to come. In the here and now, you ask us to blaze with your love so that the whole world may catch fire with your joy.

For you are the king of glory, O Lord: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

For the night skies opening outwards, star upon star, expanse after expanse, thanks be to you, O Lord. For the mystery of your presence in and beyond all that can be seen, thanks be to you. * For the music of the spheres, for the cosmic dance in which you invite us to join with King David, thanks be to you. For your grace, which shows us your glory even in the foothills of faith, thanks be to you.

For you are the king of glory, O Lord: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, we thank you for all those who speak out on behalf of the communities to which they belong. Bless all those we live amongst and grant that we may truly behave like members one of another, supporting the weak and helping the afflicted while rejoicing in the shared reflection of that joy we know from our fellowship with you.

For you are the king of glory, O Lord: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord of life, we ask for the gift of courage: bind us in the fellowship of those who take the cup of necessary suffering, and drink from it. Hear the prayer of those who cry out in pain and those who cry out in fear; those who cry out in grief and those who cry out in despair; those who cry out to you to forgive because they can not; and those whose cries are inward and unheard. Pour upon their wounds the healing balm of your mercy.

For you are the king of glory, O Lord: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, inspire us with the courage and fidelity of John the Baptist. We pray for all those who at this time are facing persecution and death because of their Christian faith. Bring all those who have died to the joy of your heavenly kingdom, and comfort those who mourn their passing.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

The illustration at the head of this piece perhaps needs some explanation. I was looking for something which would remind us of the glory of God (the theme of most of the readings), with our only possible response being worship and adoration. But I also wanted to hint at the danger such adoration may lead us into – as C S Lewis famously said, Aslan ‘is not a tame lion, you know’.

*based on Celtic Benediction, J. Philip Newell

** For here have we no abiding city, but we seek one to come. Hebrews 13:14

Prayer after Communion

God of our pilgrimage,
you have led us to the living water:
refresh and sustain us
as we go forward on our journey,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Post Communion (6th after Trinity) © 1985 Anglican Church of Canada: The Book of Alternative Services 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

Intercessions for Trinity + 5 Year B (Proper 9): 5 July 2015

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury Pilgrims 13th c via Wikimedia

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: 2 Samuel 5.1-5,9-10

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, ‘Look, we are your bone and flesh. For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.’ So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years. David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inward. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.

 

Psalm 48

Refrain: We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God.

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised, *in the city of our God.
His holy mountain is fair and lifted high, *the joy of all the earth.
On Mount Zion, the divine dwelling place, *stands the city of the great king.
In her palaces God has shown himself *to be a sure refuge. R
For behold, the kings of the earth assembled *and swept forward together.
They saw, and were dumbfounded; *dismayed, they fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there; they writhed like a woman in labour, * as when the east wind shatters the ships of Tarshish.
As we had heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, the city of our God: * God has established her for ever. R
We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God, * in the midst of your temple.
As with your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; * your right hand is full of justice.
Let Mount Zion rejoice and the daughters of Judah be glad, * because of your judgements, O Lord.
Walk about Zion and go round about her; count all her towers; * consider well her bulwarks; pass through her citadels,
That you may tell those who come after that such is our God for ever and ever. * It is he that shall be our guide for evermore.

Refrain: We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God.

Father of lights,
raise us with Christ to your eternal city,
that, with kings and nations,
we may wait in the midst of your temple
and see your glory for ever and ever.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12.2-10

I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven –  whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows –  was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Gospel Reading: Mark 6.1-13

Jesus came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


Jane Williams focuses on St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and you can read what she has to say here, by searching ‘speculation’ (p86). Similar points are made in ‘The Ministry of the Word’, extracted here.

strong weak 001

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, help us to focus on the work you want us to do as the Body of Christ. Amongst all the excitement of moving forward in one part of the Communion, with concerns amongst many that we are departing from your word, we know that without our help you will not move; by ourselves we cannot move, but together with you, we can. *

Lord, our eyes turn to you as our guide for all eternity: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord of grace, you have raised up the leaders of this world from among your people. Lend to all those in authority, we pray, the wisdom and the strength to deal with the problems faced by our planet, some of which seem impossible to solve. Give them imagination and courage to find solutions, and the ability to lead others into the future.

Lord, our eyes turn to you as our guide for all eternity: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, you sent out the twelve apostles on the mission of missions with nothing to sustain them beyond the hospitality of those they encountered on the path. Open now the hearts of all people to share what they have of your bountiful goodness, and make our communities places of welcome and willingness to build together for the generations yet unborn.

Lord, our eyes turn to you as our guide for all eternity: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, come into our weakness with your power. We know that, when life seems most difficult and pain most present, hope can simply ebb away. We know that those who wait upon you renew their strength: when we reach the end of our own resources, give us the faith and confidence simply to let go, knowing that you will breathe into us new strength for the road ahead.

Lord, our eyes turn to you as our guide for all eternity: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, give joy and peace to those whom we have loved who have now departed this life, and grant them joy and peace in your eternal kingdom. And be with all those who mourn their loss.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

 

Prayer after Communion

Grant, O Lord, we beseech you,
that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered
by your governance,
that your Church may joyfully serve you in all godly quietness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

* Words spoken by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, quoted by the new Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, in an interview (at 9.43 minutes). “By himself, God won’t. By ourselves, we can’t. But together with God, we can”.

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 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for Trinity + 4 (Proper 8 ) Year B: 28 June 2015

Daughter_of_the_head_of_synagogue_is_resurrected_by_Christ

Raising of Jairus’s daughter, Cathedral of Monreale, Palermo 12th c

 

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: 2 Samuel 1.1,17-27

After the death of Saul, when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. David intoned this lamentation over Saul and his son Jonathan. (He ordered that The Song of the Bow be taught to the people of Judah; it is written in the Book of Jashar.) He said: Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places! How the mighty have fallen! Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon; or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. You mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain upon you, nor bounteous fields! For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, nor the sword of Saul return empty. Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you with crimson, in luxury, who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan lies slain upon your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

Psalm 130

Out of the depths have I cried to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice; * let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to mark what is done amiss, * O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you, * so that you shall be feared.
I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; * in his word is my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord, more than the night watch for the morning, * more than the night watch for the morning.
O Israel, wait for the Lord, *for with the Lord there is mercy;
With him is plenteous redemption *and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 8.7-15

You excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you – so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something – now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has – not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written, ‘The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.’

Gospel Reading: Mark 5.21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?”’ He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’ While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum,’ which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

The RSCM has “We don’t want to be a nuisance to anyone, least of all to God. So we don’t bring him all our wants and desires, fears and woes. Yet here is Jesus on an urgent mercy mission, being interrupted by a woman with a need which she hardly likes to bother him with, touching just the hem of his garment. And our God stops to give her his full attention. It’s not an interruption for him.

You can read Jane Williams here, by searching for ‘Jairus’ (pp84-5). She carries on the RSCM’s point: ” Don’t be afraid, Jesus says.  God’s love is not that small. There is enough for the woman and for [Jairus’s] daughter. There is enough for all.”

This is just as well, because our psalmist this week is writing ‘de profundis’, from the depths of despair. But he has confidence in God’s mercy and forgiveness, and waits in the darkness with hope for the new dawn.
 

Prayers of Intercession

We pray in the name of Christ, by whom we are raised to new life.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, look in your mercy on your Church. Our hope lies in your word and we draw strength from you and from each other as we gather to worship you. Heal your Church, both the wounds of the past and those we inflict on each other in the present. Heal the dissensions which divide us from one another, and bring us into unity of love in you, so that we may reach out to a troubled world in your name.

Lord, make us whole that we may do your will: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

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

Lord, in a world whose web of life is intricate and beautiful, save us from carelessness and blindness. In a world whose creatures are so varied and so vulnerable, save us from wanton plundering. In a world whose oceans should cleanse the earth, save us from absent-minded pollution. In a world whose forests protect the very air that we breathe, save us from the urge to destroy them in the name of profit. In a world whose fruits are rich and plentiful, save us from waste and greed. *

Lord, make us whole that we may do your will: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶The local community

Lord, you have given to us in abundance: may we share that abundance with those whom we live amongst. Help us to overcome all that divides us, and to build up all that makes for the common good. When new ventures are struggling to survive, we ask you to breathe on them your life-giving oxygen, and water them with your living water so that they may be brought to thrive.

Lord, make us whole that we may do your will: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we bring before you all those who are empty, exhausted or in anguish. All those who feel themselves alone, marooned in a bleak wasteland, and unable to see a brighter horizon. Like  watchmen waiting for the morning, they hope for the dawn. Pour on them, we pray, your healing grace, so they may feel the reality of your compassion and love and  begin once more to hope in the possibilities of the new day.

Lord, make us whole that we may do your will: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for the souls of all that have recently died. Comfort all those whom they loved, and were loved by in return. And may the departed arise to life eternal in you.

 

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

 

Prayer after Communion

Eternal God,
comfort of the afflicted and healer of the broken,
you have fed us at the table of life and hope:
teach us the ways of gentleness and peace,
that all the world may acknowledge
the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

* Based on prayer 877 by Angela Ashwin in her Book of a Thousand Prayers

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Post Communion (4th after Trinity) © 1985 General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada: The Book of Alternative Services 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 Trinity + 3 (Proper 7) Year B: 21 June 2015

HitdaMeschedeDarmstadtCod1640fol117r

Calming the storm, Hitda-Codex, 11th century via Commons Wikimedia

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: 1 Samuel 17.(1a,4-11,19-23)32-49

The Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Socoh in Judah.  A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armour of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield-bearer went ahead of him. Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to the camp. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.” Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. David said to Saul, “Let no-one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armour on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield-bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly towards the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

Psalm 9.9-20

Then will the Lord be a refuge for the oppressed, * a refuge in the time of trouble.
And those who know your name will put their trust in you, * for you, Lord, have never failed those who seek you.
Sing praises to the Lord who dwells in Zion; * declare among the peoples the things he has done.
The avenger of blood has remembered them; * he did not forget the cry of the oppressed.
Have mercy upon me, O Lord; * consider the trouble I suffer from those who hate me, you that lift me up from the gates of death;
That I may tell all your praises in the gates of the city of Zion * and rejoice in your salvation.
The nations shall sink into the pit of their making * and in the snare which they set will their own foot be taken.
The Lord makes himself known by his acts of justice; * the wicked are snared in the works of their own hands.
They shall return to the land of darkness, * all the nations that forget God.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten * and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.
Arise, O Lord, and let not mortals have the upper hand; * let the nations be judged before your face.
Put them in fear, O Lord, * that the nations may know themselves to be but mortal.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 6.1-13

As we work together with Christ, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see – we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return – I speak as to children – open wide your hearts also.

Gospel Reading: Mark 4.35-41

When evening had come, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

The Revd John Proctor writes in The Ministry Handbook: ‘We too may be entering times when Christianity will be widely despised, even pitied. What commends the gospel will not be the social prominence of those who follow and represent Christ, but the resilience, integrity, and inner worth of our lives – our inner peace amid the storm –  …Tradition has thought of the boat as Christ’s Church, battered and fearful amid turbulent times, yet always secure and protected in the company of Jesus. More personally, the disciples would remember that night…Jesus controlled the situation and restored it: suddenly they were encompassed by majestic calm. Even the realm of life we know best, he understands.”

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, you know that our Church is storm-tossed like the disciples’ boat on the Sea of Galilee. We seek above all to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to all that have ears to hear, but the winds and the waves blow us constantly off target. Calm the fears of your people and help us, we pray, to ride out the storms as we work together to remain afloat. And, in the moments of intervening calm, may we know your peace.

Lord, give heed to our pleas when we cry unto you for help: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, you have promised to be a refuge for your people in time of trouble. Look with compassion, we pray, on all the peoples of the world who are so cruelly or incompetently governed that they can only flee, abandoning all that they have. The hope of the weary grows dim as they struggle beneath a pitiless sky to find a place of safety. Work in us the costly ways of peace, that in justice and with gentleness your will may be done throughout all the earth.

Lord, give heed to our pleas when we cry unto you for help: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, help us in our daily tasks to play our part,  remaining steadfast with our eyes fixed on the goal. Walking by faith and putting one foot in front of  the other, lend us both courage and hope to rise above those things which frighten us, so that we may continue to carry out our daily tasks and care for those in our immediate surroundings, with new resolve every morning.

Lord, give heed to our pleas when we cry unto you for help: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, give us the grace to walk by faith, and through every storm of life to keep our gaze fixed on you. Watch over us, so that in the small hours of the morning when our hope is at its lowest ebb, you will remember our frailty and strengthen our sinews so that we may withstand the daunting waves of the open seas. Help us to keep watch with you and maintain our course in the direction you would have us sail, until dawn returns and the world resumes its familiar and comforting contours.

Lord, give heed to our pleas when we cry unto you for help: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we bring before you those who have departed this life in recent days….Bring us all at last to the quiet haven of our hearts’ desire where, in the company of all the saints,  you live and reign for ever and ever.

 

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

Prayer after Communion

O God, 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;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Amen

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): 1 Samuel 17.(1a,4-11,19-23)32-49 © 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 Post Communion (3rd after Trinity) © 1992 Janet Morley: All Desires Known (SPCK) Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000

“More TV Vicar?” by The Revd Bryony Taylor

bryony 001 (3)
The advantage of waiting until this week to talk about Bryony’s new book is that we have had a chance to see how it has been reviewed generally, and I am happy to tell you that it has both won critical acclaim and is also the book everyone is discussing at the water-cooler. Quite a feat!

First of all, Bryony tells us some of the background to ‘More TV Vicar?’ and how she came to write it.

When Dawn French was asked by Richard Curtis to play the Vicar of Dibley, she wasn’t altogether sure at first, she revealed on Desert Island Discs: ‘”I thought, ‘How on earth do you play a central character who’s so blooming good?’ I thought ‘Where are the flaws? Where is the monster in this woman?’ That’s what I understand comedy to be.” Dawn French initially assumed that you can’t be funny and good at the same time. She discovered that this wasn’t true when she visited the (real) Revd Joy Carroll’s house with Richard Curtis (who wrote the sitcom) and saw that she had a mug that said ‘Lead me not into temptation, I can find it myself’– seeing this gave him permission to write a character that had quirks and flaws as well as happening to be a member of the Anglican clergy.

When we hear the word Christian, or vicar, or priest, a number of images come to mind – not all positive. The likelihood of these images having been informed by what you have watched on television over the years is extremely high. That is what I explore in my book ‘More TV Vicar?’ What do the various portrayals of Christians and clergy over the years on British TV say about what our society thinks of believers? And what do our responses (if we’re Christians) to these characters say about us? Many of the characters are part of the comedy heritage of our country. Why are vicar characters used so much in comedy, and when does the satire move closer to mockery or offense? I wanted to explore these issues by looking closely at each character in turn and analysing what is going on under the surface of such well-loved figures as Revd Geraldine Granger, Father Ted and even the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells (from Blackadder).

The book is a fun romp through a range of characters that fall into the categories of the ‘good, the bad and the quirky’ and asks the question, ultimately, what would Jesus watch?

 

What I find fascinating about Bryony’s MTV is the mirror it holds up to the Church as a whole, particularly the Church of England as the established church, and the relationship between Church and people. And the extent to which these mirrors are accurate, perhaps more so than we would like, and the extent to which they distort.

The reader embarks on what appears to be a catalogue of vicars on television, set in their context. Grouping the programmes into the good, the bad and the quirky, we begin with the good. What one might call the Robert Browning view of the universe: God’s in his heaven; all’s right with the world. The church forms part of an Arcadian idyll, with notional – but not serious – flaws, like the revolting cakes cooked by the village spinster in The Vicar of Dibley. The scriptwriters seem cheerfully confused about the difference between the parish council and the PCC, with the Revd Geraldine Grainger being an ex officio member of the former. But this is not a serious objection, since the viewers are well aware that we are in an alternative universe.  G K Chesterton appears, at first sight, to have set his Father Brown down in the same Hovis setting but, this being G K Chesterton, there is some serious theology and philosophy. And then we complete this tour of the horizon with the bad and the quirky.

But this is not a book about television at all… I’m on to you, Bryony. This is a very clever book, which uses the water cooler (formerly village well) concept to gather people around to discuss what they saw last night on the telly. And then, hardly perceptibly at all at first, but gradually more insistently, we get analysis of the role of the Church in the 21st century: its evolution, urban vs rural ministry, disparate congregations and the people of God, stresses and strains on the clergy, as well as on the structures (both physical and metaphorical) of the Church; and some thoughts on its future. Suddenly, we are in much more serious territory, but have been led here through familiar pastures: by the end we are considering the various aspects of ecclesiology quite seriously enough for the Anglican Journal. Very neat, in fact a virtuoso piece of writing.


More TV Vicar?
Christians on the Telly: The Good, the Bad and the Quirky

Bryony Taylor
978 0 232 53170 1
Paperback |16
Darton, Longman and Todd

Intercessions for Trinity +2 Year B (Proper 6): 14 June 2015

mustard seed

The Collect

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. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: 1 Samuel 15.34 – 16.13

Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel. The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’ Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’ And the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you, and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.’ Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, ‘Do you come peaceably?’ He said, ‘Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen any of these.’ Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.’ And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.’ He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

Psalm 20

Refrain: We will call on the name of the Lord our God.
May the Lord hear you in the day of trouble, * the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
Send you help from his sanctuary * and strengthen you out of Zion;
Remember all your offerings * and accept your burnt sacrifice;
Grant you your heart’s desire * and fulfil all your mind.
May we rejoice in your salvation and triumph in the name of our God; * may the Lord perform all your petitions. R
Now I know that the Lord will save his anointed; * he will answer him from his holy heaven, with the mighty strength of his right hand.
Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, * but we will call only on the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought down and fallen, * but we are risen and stand upright.
O Lord, save the king * and answer us when we call upon you.

Refrain: We will call on the name of the Lord our God.

Merciful God,
purify our hearts in the flame of your Spirit
and transform our toil into an offering of praise,
that we may reject the proud rule of might
and trust in Christ alone,
for he is our Lord for ever and ever.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5.6-10(11-13)14-17

Brothers and sisters, we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. The love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Gospel Reading: Mark 4.26-34

Such a large crowd gathered around Jesus that he got into a boat and began to teach them using many parables. Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’ Jesus also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’ With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

The RSCM (2009) has: “We are so often plunged into another of Jesus’ wonderful parables and analogies throughout the gospels that we forget the preface, ‘the kingdom of God is like…’ Nearly all his stories and sayings meant to point to this kingdom. So what is it like? St Mark’s record includes the hope of planting, the trust of leaving things to God, the wonder of growth and the faith of starting small. A place of hope, trust, wonder and faith. Is this the kingdom we convey in what we say?”

You can read Jane Williams here by searching ‘alarm’ (p.80).

Prayers of Intercession

That we may grow in the service of Christ, Lord, we pray in his name.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, when we feel daunted at the sheer number and weight of the tasks which face our Church, mindful that we are fewer and fewer in number, remind us once more of the mustard seed and the hazelnut of Julian of Norwich.  If we look solely at externals, we see only how puny is the material we have to work with. But, small and insignificant though they may be, these spheres each contain within them spinning atoms of vast universes beyond all our imagining.

Lord, help us to see a world in a grain of sand: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, we pray for those who govern the nations of our world on behalf of the people. Give them strength in time of trouble, grant them your light and your wisdom, and support them through the prayers of our hearts.  Lord of compassion, guide all those who bear public office that they may use their power for the common good. May they remember their promise to serve all the people and take from them, we pray, the thirst for power and wealth.

Lord, help us to see a world in a grain of sand: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, we ask for your help in all our efforts at building communities within our community. You have promised us that, no matter how small the initiative, if we will plant it and tend it, you will send the sun and the rain to help it flourish. Though we may not succeed at first attempt, give us the courage to try again, and the readiness continually to persevere, should that be needed. And may all that we do be to your greater glory.

Lord, help us to see a world in a grain of sand: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we bring before you all those who pray for shelter from the storm, and protection from thunder, lightning and rain. Teach us instead how to undergo the tempests of this life, which come to all. Instead of craving security above all, show us the comfort of sheltering with friends and sharing the bare necessities. Help us to comfort each other in moments of shared danger or distress. Bring us hope out of our emptiness, energy out of fear and new life out of grief and loss.

Lord, help us to see a world in a grain of sand: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for those who have triumphed over death and the grave and come home to you. May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

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 (2nd after Trinity) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

We rely on donations to keep this website running.