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Intercessions for the Conversion of St Paul: 25 January 2015

Giovanni_Antonio_de_Sacchis_(Il_Pordenone)_-_Conversion_of_St._Paul_-_Google_Art_Project

Conversion of St Paul by Giovanni Antonio de Sacchis

The Collect

Almighty God, who caused the light of the gospel to shine throughout the world through the preaching of your servant Saint Paul: grant that we who celebrate his wonderful conversion may follow him in bearing witness to your truth; 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 : Jeremiah 1.4-10

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a boy”; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak  whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.’ Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, ‘Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms.’

 

Psalm 67

God be gracious to us and bless us * and make his face to shine upon us,
That your way may be known upon earth, * your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; * let all the peoples praise you.
O let the nations rejoice and be glad, * for you will judge the peoples righteously and govern the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; * let all the peoples praise you.
Then shall the earth bring forth her increase, * and God, our own God, will bless us.
God will bless us, * and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

Second Reading:  Acts 9.1-22

Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were travelling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ He answered, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’ But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’ So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’ All who heard him were amazed and said, ‘Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?’ Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.

 

Gospel Reading: Matthew 19.27-30

Peter said to Jesus: ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’

 

Prayers of Intercession

Visual Liturgy offers the following:
“Encouraged by our fellowship with all the saints,
let us make our prayers to the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

This Sunday is of course also the Third Sunday of Epiphany, and most of our usual guides to the lectionary discuss that. However, almost all churches will be celebrating the Conversion of St Paul, which is a red-letter day. At its most obvious level, the message I suppose for us is that of Amazing Grace: (I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.) However, the Revd Alan Garrow in ‘The Ministry Handbook’ amplifies this:

“On his mission to Damascus, Saul undoubtedly believed himself to be carrying out [God's] purpose in stamping out the followers of the Way. If Saul had a qualification for being chosen to to be Christ’s apostle to the Gentiles, then his enthusiasm to carry out God’s purposes must have been it. His zeal was, of course, dangerously misguided. However…Christ was able to take that fervour and turn it to his true purpose…if we too have a definite desire to serve God’s purpose in the world, God is capable of directing that enthusiasm in the right direction, even if we may start off on entirely the wrong path ourselves. ..the fundamental problem with Saul’s enthusiasm was that it was born of a personal motivation. To be used by God, he had to be stopped and emptied. He became, in fact, an entirely helpless man for three days. From this state of emptiness God was able to fill him and send him, in the Spirit’s power rather than his own. In our plans to serve God, we also need to be sure that we are fuelled by God’s Spirit and agenda rather than our own. ”

 

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, help us to steer the great ship that is your Church through the powerful currents and shifting sands that surround us. Help us to set a true course, and not to be deflected by cross-winds, as we set out for the high seas, scorning to seek the shelter of quiet bays, which offer only stagnation. Fill our sails, as we set our course for the utter east.  Our peace is in your presence, Lord. We are calm when you are close. Winds wail and waves rise, but we will cross these seas with you.

 Lord, take our enthusiasm and channel it to your purposes so that we may truly serve you: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

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

Lord, as movement stirs on the surface of the earth and a new day dawns on our planet, ocean-deep in glory, open our eyes to see and our hearts to join in.  Lord, as you the artist paint us into beauty, you the sculptor shape our souls, and you the gracious gardener grow us to fullness and beauty, Lord our maker, make us whole. **

 Lord, take our enthusiasm and channel it to your purposes so that we may truly serve you: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The local community

Lord, may the wounds that we have borne bear fruit in love. May the pains of the past create in us compassion, and from brokenness may kindness rise in us. Where winter has reigned, Lord, let spring break out. Where hearts are frozen, may your sun rise with healing in its wings. We are breath in clay, spirit in flesh, mind in matter, between angels and animals. Creator God, inspire us today to love one another even as we love you. **

 Lord, take our enthusiasm and channel it to your purposes so that we may truly serve you: hear our prayer

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we pray for those who suffer mental and physical anguish. Help us to take comfort from the example of St Paul who, once willing to share in the cross and follow The Master, was freed – not from pain, but from his delusions, as the mist began to clear for him. For us, we are yet far off, but there are mirrors in which the partially sighted look at themselves, and love looks back. Reaching the goal takes no time, and admission is free to all who bring simply their need and their faith. *

 Lord, take our enthusiasm and channel it to your purposes so that we may truly serve you: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we rejoice that in you the best is yet to come. We give thanks for all who have been changed into the glory of your kingdom and we pray for those whom we love and see no more. Good Lord, transform us,

take our enthusiasm and channel it to your purposes so that we may truly serve you: in your mercy, hear our prayer

*Based on R S Thomas, ‘The Kingdom’

** Based on ideas and phrases from Gerald Kelly’s ‘Twitturgies’.n


 

 

Prayer after Communion

Almighty God,
who on the day of Pentecost
sent your Holy Spirit to the apostles
with the wind from heaven and in tongues of flame,
filling them with joy and boldness to preach the gospel:
by the power of the same Spirit
strengthen us to witness to your truth
and to draw everyone to the fire of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Jeremiah 1.4-10 © 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 Prayer at the Preparation of the Table (Conversion of Paul) © Book of Alternative Services – Anglican Church of Canada Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2002

‘Developing Discipleship’ paper for General Synod February 2015

GS 1977

The following is an abbreviated version (for copyright reasons) of the full paper.

What does it mean to be a disciple?

[passage omitted]

20. Lay and ordained together share a common discipleship… Together as the Church we are the Body of Christ, a community of missionary disciples… the foundation of every Christian’s vocation to work and service.
21. Nurturing this sense of discipleship across the Church is therefore vital as the Church of England seeks to serve the common good through the life and service of every member. Nurturing discipleship is the very essence of promoting spiritual and numerical growth. Nurturing discipleship lies at the heart of re-imagining both lay and ordained ministry.

Discipleship in the tradition

22. As we look back through the history of the Church, it is possible to identify periods of significant reflection on the central importance of discipleship in the life of the Church.
23. These periods of reflection are almost all in times of significant change…These resources from the past form deep wells of inspiration and reflection for the Church today as we reflect in our own times of change and transition …
24. The monastic movement was a renewed call to discipleship…
25. The Reformation …

29. The Methodist covenant prayer, now incorporated into Common Worship, expresses powerfully the sense of dynamic, fruitful discipleship focussed in a life offered to God in response to God’s grace:
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
30. The Church in the twenty-first century faces different challenges from the early monastics in the fourth century, the Franciscans in the twelfth, the Reformers and Puritans in the sixteenth and seventeenth or the early Methodists in the eighteenth. As the Church of England in 2015 we face the challenge of calling one another afresh to follow Christ in the face of a global, secularised, materialistic culture, often experienced as a desert for the soul. We need to draw on the deep wisdom of the past but also to apply ourselves afresh to an authentic and Anglican understanding of discipleship for the 21st Century.

Reflection on discipleship in the contemporary Church of England

31. How effective is the Church of England at the present time in nurturing and sustaining this call to discipleship?
32. In May 2013 the Archbishops’ Council commissioned a review of current provision across the dioceses in forming and sustaining disciples.
33. The survey found many good things. Some excellent work is being done and some fine theological leadership is being given by individuals. However, the survey also identified some significant obstacles to further growth and development. According to the survey, lay development and discipleship are not clearly articulated as strategic priorities in most dioceses. It was widely perceived that the biggest obstacle in lay development is the clericalised culture of church and ministry.
34. The Church of England has not devoted a great deal of time and energy to reflection on the discipleship the whole people of God in recent times.
35. In the whole 20th Century there were just three national reports on this issue.14 The best and most contemporary of these remains the 1985 report, All are Called: Towards a Theology of the Laity. The stress throughout the document is on developing vocation and discipleship not in the Church alone but in the world: in families, workplaces and neighbourhoods. All Are Called appeals for fresh and deeper theological reflection on what it means to be a lay disciple; a more visible affirmation of lay discipleship and vocation in the world, in liturgy and worship; and greater investment in equipping God’s people for their vocation in life and in the world in parishes, dioceses and the National Church Institutions.
36. As part of the preparation for the 2015 Synod debate, Jeremy Worthen, (Secretary for Ecumenical Relations and Theology) undertook a piece of research on sources we might use in developing a contemporary Anglican theology of discipleship (including liturgical sources and common ecumenical statements).
37. Jeremy’s conclusion is that “there is no well-developed authoritative source for the theology of discipleship to which the contemporary Church of England can readily look to inform its teaching here”. This does not mean, of course, that there has been no writing on this subject by Anglicans and others. There are some excellent and recent studies, particularly at a popular level. However the thinking they represent has not been fully absorbed into the lifeblood and culture of our Church and our understanding discipleship and ministry.
38. The lack of a coherent and concisely stated common understanding of discipleship has a number of consequences for the life of parishes, of dioceses and of the Church of England as a whole.
Our vision for the Church and for discipleship is not as clear as it could be. Many churches and dioceses include the goal of making disciples in their vision statements. But what does this mean beyond conversion to Christian faith? Where do we find a compelling vision for lay discipleship in the world?
 Our understanding of service becomes restricted to the life of the Church. A full theology of discipleship, of course, embraces the world and the kingdom of God in the whole of creation as the horizon and the sphere of Christian service and mission. There are many kinds of callings for Christians: the majority are concerned with living out the Christian faith through daily life and work, in the family and the wider community. Without this deep and wide understanding of discipleship, our understanding of ministry and mission becomes too narrowly focussed on the Church.
 Our theological understanding of ministry becomes lopsided. An immense amount of reflection has been invested over the last 25 years on ordained ministry; there has been some reflection on licensed lay ministry but very little on the service offered by the majority of Christians for the majority of time through their discipleship. If we are not careful, the language of discipleship contracts to cover only those who have a recognised ministry.
 Finally, and most seriously, the witness and mission of the whole Church is impoverished as Christians are neither encouraged nor sustained in the living out of their Christian faith in daily life. The 1945 Report, Towards the Conversion of England recognised the vital role which lay disciples could play in witness and evangelism. The 2014 Report, From Anecdote to Evidence, connects the growth of the Church clearly to lay participation and leadership and being intentional in nurturing discipleship. Yet this vision has yet to be fully realised.
39. We have a clear vision as the Church of England to contribute to the common good of our society, to seek spiritual and numerical growth and to re-imagine ministry. If we are to fulfil this vision, then we need as a church to pay greater and deeper attention to the discipleship of the whole people of God in the next quinquennium of our life together.
40. We should not be surprised or discouraged that we need to do further work in this vital area nor should we blame others or ourselves for the present situation. Rather we should recognise that the changing times in which we live call for a changing and evolving understanding of discipleship within the life of the Church. Over the past generation, the Church of England has sought to set the mission of God at the heart of our common life: we are seeking to become a mission-shaped Church. One of the next, and critical, steps in that journey is a deeper and stronger call to missionary discipleship and for the Church to see itself and to become a community of missionary disciples.

What should we then do?

41. Further reflection on discipleship is needed, but where is it to take place and how will it impact the life and the deep culture of the Church of England?
42. There are many things which can be done by individuals and within local churches to strengthen and develop our common understanding of discipleship. This General Synod paper might helpfully be studied by PCC’s and small groups as a way of beginning that conversation.
43. This paper outlines three ways of moving forward in dioceses and nationally. Others may emerge from the General Synod debate.

Ten Marks of Developing Disciples

……..

Published by the General Synod of the Church of England
Copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2015 £3

……………………………

 

You can read the whole document on a PDF, which is linked to the Church of England website here.

Intercessions for the Second Sunday of Epiphany Year B: 18 January 2015

shutterstock_207742195

Did anything good ever come out of Nazareth? Copyright: PathDoc via Shutterstock

The Collect

Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new: transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory; 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 3.1-10 (11-20)

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord , where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord , and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord , for your servant is listening.”’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. On that day I will fulfil against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to punish his house for ever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering for ever.’ Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel and said, ‘Samuel, my son.’ He said, ‘Here I am.’ Eli said, ‘What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.’ So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, ‘It is the Lord ; let him do what seems good to him.’ As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.
 

Psalm 139.1-5,12-18

O Lord, you have searched me out and known me; * you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
You mark out my journeys and my resting place * and are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue, * but you, O Lord, know it altogether.
You encompass me behind and before * and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, * so high that I cannot attain it.
For you yourself created my inmost parts; * you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; * marvellous are your works, my soul knows well.
My frame was not hidden from you, * when I was made in secret and woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my form, as yet unfinished; * already in your book were all my members written,
As day by day they were fashioned * when as yet there was none of them.
How deep are your counsels to me, O God! * How great is the sum of them!
If I count them, they are more in number than the sand, * and at the end, I am still in your presence.
 

Second Reading: Revelation 5.1-10

I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sing a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.’
 

Gospel Reading: John 1.43-51

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’
 


 

To explain this week’s illustration – there are four Sundays of Epiphany, and the lectionary of each one contains a little epiphany of its own. This week, the know-it-all cynic, Nathanael, asks drily whether anything good can come out of Nazareth before losing all his bluster at once when faced with the reality of Christ. What Jacob only dreamed of, they will see for themselves: a way between earth and heaven opened by Jesus himself.

The Revd Alan Garrow expands on this in The Ministry of the Word (p.56) and you can read Jane Williams here: searching ‘rackets’ will take you to pages 22-23.
 

 

Prayers of Intercession

We who are disciples of Christ in our time, join in prayer for his Church and for all people.
 

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, we pray for your Church. Help us to keep our minds open to the possibility of wonder,  and save us from leaping to judgement of new ideas before they have even been tried. Before deciding that ‘what has been done is what will be done; and that there is nothing new under the sun’, let us remember the surprise and awe when the Christ child was born. Keep us always alive to the possibilities of life with you, to the opportunities for metamorphosis and transformation, as base metal was said to be transmuted into gold.

 Lord, transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

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

Lord, we pray for all those in positions of power. Whether in Church or State, give us guidance in choosing people to place in positions of authority who understand how to govern: that they do not do so by divine right, but to be effective can only govern with the consent and support of the people.

 Lord, transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The local community

Lord, you constantly call us to new ventures, to new visions. We pray for the communities to which we belong, that their ways of doing things may not become locked in position, and incapable of being modified. Help us to open ourselves to the ideas of newcomers, and of young people, that our structures may bloom and grow, wither and perish like the flowers in due season, constantly renewing themselves with the changes in our society.

 Lord, transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we pray for those whose trust falters, who see all that is wrong in the world and in their own hearts, all the lies, the betrayals and the hatreds. Devoid of all hope, they seek to flee from your presence in the depths of the earth, the uttermost shores of the sea or the pitch darkness of a star-less night. Scour our hearts, we pray, refine our thoughts, strengthen our wills and guide us in your way. Above all, flood us with the comfort of your presence and the knowledge of your overwhelming love.

 Lord, transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we give thanks for those who were called to be saints, not through their own merit but by your grace. May they be joyful in the life that was promised from the beginning.


 

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Collect (2nd of Epiphany) © 1972 Church of the Province of Southern Africa: Modern Collects Post Communion (2nd of Epiphany) © 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 Gospel Acclamation (Epiph. to Eve of Presentation) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for the Baptism of Christ Year B: 11 January 2015

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-1749890p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Michal Szymanski</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>

Mosaic in Ravenna baptistery, by Michael Symanski, Shutterstock

The Collect

Eternal Father, who at the baptism of Jesus revealed him to be your Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit: grant to us, who are born again by water and the Spirit, that we may be faithful to our calling as your adopted children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

 

First Reading: Genesis 1.1-5

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day”, and the darkness he called “night”. And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.

Psalm 29

Ascribe to the Lord, you powers of heaven, * ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name; * worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders; * the Lord is upon the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is mighty in operation; * the voice of the Lord is a glorious voice.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; * the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf * and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord splits the flash of lightning; the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; * the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the forests bare; * in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’
The Lord sits enthroned above the water flood; * the Lord sits enthroned as king for evermore.
The Lord shall give strength to his people; * the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

Second Reading: Acts 19.1-7

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the inland regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They replied, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ Then he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They answered, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied – altogether there were about twelve of them.

Gospel Reading: Mark 1.4-11

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’


 

Jane Williams is well worth reading this week, which you can do here. Searching ‘nothingness’ will take you to page 20.

Capture

Prayers of Intercession

 

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, at the beginning of another human year we acknowledge once more that everything in our world was made by you, and without you was not anything made that was made. And we also acknowledge that you need our hands and our feet, our hearts, our minds and our wills to build your kingdom on earth. As you once began to build your Church on the rock of St Peter, a simple fisherman, so in our day you depend on us, the warp and weft of humanity. Make us worthy of this calling.

Lord, renew us with your Spirit, that we may fulfil all that you wish for the world: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

Lord, your love embraces all the powers of creation. Your voice rolls over the waters, your glory thunders over the oceans. Give us the steadinesss and skill to strive fearlessly with the energies that you have placed in our hands, that the wise use of atom and laser, of heat and light, may enable all that grows on this earth to flourish. You who offer stillness in the eye of the storm, give us we pray the blessing of your peace.

Lord, renew us with your Spirit, that we may fulfil all that you wish for the world: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

As we are all united in the common bond of our baptism, help us, Lord, to break down the barriers that keep us apart. And, as you have loved us, help us to love those whom we live amongst. Teach us to delight in our differences, as much as those things we have in common. Teach us, in humility, to learn from each other. And teach us to bear with one another’s failings, as we hope they will bear with ours.

Lord, renew us with your Spirit, that we may fulfil all that you wish for the world: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord, look with mercy on those whose lives are bruised, who feel they are stranded in an arid desert, or whose hopes are quenched. We remember all who have lost confidence in life. We pray for the world-weary, the worn and the weak. Give them new life and hope through your life-giving, Holy Spirit so that, always immersed in your presence, they may feel buoyed up by the knowledge that underneath, supporting them always, are your everlasting arms.

Lord, renew us with your Spirit, that we may fulfil all that you wish for the world: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

We commend to your love those who were close to you in this life, and are now closer still.  May we at the last pass through the waters of death to  life eternal with you.

Lord, renew us with your Spirit, that we may fulfil all that you wish for the world: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Post-communion prayer

Lord of all time and eternity,
you opened the heavens and revealed yourself as Father
in the baptism of Jesus your beloved Son:
by the power of your Spirit
complete the heavenly work of our rebirth
through the waters of the new creation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Genesis 1.1-5 © 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 Collect (Baptism of Christ) © Oxford University Press: The Book of Common Worship of the Church of South India Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000

 

Intercesssions for Epiphany Year B: 4 January 2015

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Adoration of the Magi by Abraham Bloemart c. 1624

The Collect

O God, who by the leading of a star manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: mercifully grant that we, who know you now by faith, may at last behold your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Isaiah 60.1-6

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.
Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.”

Psalm 72.(1-9)10-15

Give the king your judgements, O God, * and your righteousness to the son of a king.
Then shall he judge your people righteously * and your poor with justice.
May the mountains bring forth peace, * and the little hills righteousness for the people.
May he defend the poor among the people, * deliver the children of the needy and crush the oppressor.
May he live as long as the sun and moon endure, * from one generation to another.
May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, * like the showers that water the earth.
In his time shall righteousness flourish, * and abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.
May his dominion extend from sea to sea * and from the River to the ends of the earth.
May his foes kneel before him * and his enemies lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute; * the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring gifts.
All kings shall fall down before him; * all nations shall do him service.
For he shall deliver the poor that cry out, * the needy and those who have no helper.
He shall have pity on the weak and poor; * he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, * and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
Long may he live; unto him may be given gold from Sheba; * may prayer be made for him continually and may they bless him all the day long.

Second Reading: Ephesians 3.1-12

I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles – Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 2.1-12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray in the glorious light of Christ, who leads his people in all their worship and adoration.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, we have celebrated the incarnation of the Christ child as a helpless baby, locked in that moment when time met eternity. But today we see Him through the eyes of the Magi, as the King of glory and Lord of all worlds. May we, like them, have the trust and perseverance to continue in our faith, despite manoeuvring by those who are discomfited by the message of the star that hung over Bethlehem.  May we have the confidence to set him free to turn from baby into man. And let us, too, bow our heads in adoration.

Lord, may all that we do be to your greater glory: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

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

Lord of wisdom and justice, hearing the cry of our prayer and knowing the reality of our politics, renew in all of us a thirst for justice. May we cherish the earth and the oceans; teach us the wisdom of restraint in our use of human industry, which threatens to spoil their pristine perfection. And yet, your creation is never spent; although the world seems smudged by overuse, it remains, deep down, radiant with your unquenchable glory, made manifest to those with eyes to see.

Lord, may all that we do be to your greater glory: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The local community

Lord, make us witnesses to your truth through the quiet offering of our lives. Help those we live amongst and with whom we work to offer their talents and possessions for all, and help us to receive these offers with gratitude and grace. Help us to find Christ at the inn in the fellow-guest, who shares our joy and sorrow, God with us.

Lord, may all that we do be to your greater glory: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord,  with the strange gift of myrrh you share in our sorrows and enter into our darkness. Help those, we pray, whose pain is the dull ache of a daily bleakness. The echo of the angels’ song lifts our spirits, the stillness in our hearts reminds us that we were there, just for a moment, at that birth, catching a glimpse of glory. Help us to ponder in our hearts, like Mary, and let the Child grow with us through the year.

Lord, may all that we do be to your greater glory: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The communion of saints

Lord, as we rejoice in the coming of Christ, the light of the world, we know that the darkness is conquered. We pray for those whom we love who have passed through the darkness to eternal light and when, for us too, the darkness of this world is past, may we come into your presence with love and adoration.

Lord, may all that we do be to your greater glory: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 


 

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton 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 First Sunday of Christmas Year B – 28 December 2014

CG30CA

The Collect

Heavenly Father, whose children suffered at the hands of Herod, though they had done no wrong: by the suffering of your Son and by the innocence of our lives frustrate all evil designs and establish your reign of justice 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: Jeremiah 31.15-17

Thus says the Lord: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more. Thus says the Lord: Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for there is a reward for your work, says the Lord: they shall come back from the land of the enemy; there is hope for your future, says the Lord: your children shall come back to their own country.

Psalm 124

Refrain: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

If the Lord himself had not been on our side, *now may Israel say;
If the Lord had not been on our side, * when enemies rose up against us;
Then would they have swallowed us alive * when their anger burned against us;
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us and the torrent gone over our soul; * over our soul would have swept the raging waters. R
But blessed be the Lord * who has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth.
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowler; * the snare is broken and we are delivered.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, * who has made heaven and earth.
Refrain: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Second Reading:  1 Corinthians 1.26-29

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 2.13-18

When the Magi had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Prayers of Intercession

Visual Liturgy suggests the following:
In peace let us pray to the God of love.

Righteous God, your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ dwelt among us and shared our grief and our pain.
We pray for the children of our world, that they may grow up knowing love and security.
We pray for all children who suffer physical or mental abuse.
We pray for all communities in our world who live with the memories of massacre and gross cruelty.
We pray for all who are corrupted by power and who regard human life as cheap.
We pray for parents who have suffered the death of a child.
We pray for parents and guardians, that they may be given grace to care for the children entrusted to them.

As we celebrate the coming of the Christ-child, we rejoice in the fellowship of the Holy Innocents and commit the children of this community, our nation and our world to you, our righteous God.


[A note on the lectionary: tomorrow is the The Innocents, but it is marked today, together with it also being the First Sunday of Christmas ]

 

Let us pray to the Father, who has revealed his glory through the Incarnation of his Son.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, your Son was born when the world was at its darkest, into a world so dark that infanticide in the name of politics is still with us 2,000 years later. And yet into this world came our light, which the darkness could not comprehend. Into this world came our dawn, which the darkness could not overcome. As we feel cast down by the darkness that seems to be our Church, help us to see the thousand points of light, elusive and not easily captured though they may be, which repeat your promise of hope through love.

Lord, when this world seems dark, help us to focus on your light : in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

Lord, in this world which flows with milk and honey, we pray for those who go hungry. In this world in which there are houses which are never or rarely occupied, we pray for those with nowhere to live. Lord, at a time when we celebrate the creation of the Holy Family, we pray for all those who have no families, or are estranged from them. As together we celebrate the birth of the Christ child, we pray for those who do not know him. For those who shiver in the cold, excluded from the fire of life, we pray that they may receive your warmth and love.

Lord, when this world seems dark, help us to focus on your light: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, we pray for the neighbourhoods in which we live. We pray that, when a new idea wells up from amongst us, our first instinct is not to massacre it at birth, fearing it may unsettle our established way of doing things. Help us to look encouragingly at new ideas, especially those offered by the young and those new to our community. Open us up to the wealth of possibilities these new ideas may offer us, new shooting stars that we may attempt to grasp.

Lord, when this world seems dark, help us to focus on your light: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord, this is a time of spiritual darkness for some, and emotional depths for others. It is a time of illness amongst many, and desperation amongst some. We pray for all those who are suffering at this time, and for those around them who attempt to care for them. We pray for all those in physical pain, that their suffering might be alleviated. Into the darkness of all these people, O Lord, we ask you to send your son to guide their steps into the way of peace.

Lord, when this world seems dark, help us to focus on your light: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for all those whom we love and see no more. May they rest in peace and rise in glory, and may your light perpetual shine upon them.

Lord, when this world seems dark, help us to focus on your light: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Matthew 2.13-18 © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council

Intercessions for Christmas Day Years A, B and C – 25 December 2014

shutterstock_96326771

The Collect

Eternal God, who made this most holy night to shine with the brightness of your one true light: bring us, who have known the revelation of that light on earth, to see the radiance of your heavenly  glory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Isaiah 9.2-7

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

 

Psalm 96

Refrain: O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Sing to the Lord a new song; * sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord and bless his name; * tell out his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations * and his wonders among all peoples. R
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; * he is more to be feared than all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are but idols; * it is the Lord who made the heavens.
Honour and majesty are before him; * power and splendour are in his sanctuary. R
Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples; * ascribe to the Lord honour and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name; * bring offerings and come into his courts.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; * let the whole earth tremble before him.
Tell it out among the nations that the Lord is king. * He has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity. R
Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad; * let the sea thunder and all that is in it;
Let the fields be joyful and all that is in them; * let all the trees of the wood shout for joy before the Lord.
For he comes, he comes to judge the earth; * with righteousness he will judge the world and the peoples with his truth.

Refrain: O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

 

Second Reading: Titus 2.11-14

The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Gospel Reading

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen his glory. John 1.14

 

Luke 2.1-14(15-20)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. There were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

 

Prayers of Intercession

Visual Liturgy offers:

Let us pray to Jesus our Saviour.

Christ, born in a stable,
give courage to all who are homeless:
Jesus, Saviour,
hear our prayer.

Christ, for whom the angels sang,
give the song of the kingdom to all who weep:
Jesus, Saviour,
hear our prayer.

Christ, worshipped by the shepherds,
give peace on earth to all who are oppressed:
Jesus, Saviour,
hear our prayer.

Christ, before whom the wise men knelt,
give humility and wisdom to all who govern:
Jesus, Saviour,
hear our prayer.

Christ, whose radiance filled a lowly manger,
give the glory of your resurrection to all who rest in you:
Jesus, Saviour,
hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus Christ, child of Mary
you know us and love us,
you share our lives
and hear our prayer.
Glory to you for ever. Amen.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Lord God, you draw us by your beauty
and transform us by your holiness;
let our worship echo all creation’s praise
and declare your glory to the nations;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Copyright acknowledgement Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2002Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council


intercessions ian black heading
Ian Black intercessionsThe intercessions are taken from Ian Black’s book, Intercessions for Years A, B and C -. The link takes you to a ‘Look Inside’ version of his excellent book.

It is published by SPCK, who say the following:

IanBlack2

Ian Black

Ian Black is Vicar of Peterborough and Canon Residentiary of Peterborough Cathedral. He previously served for 10 years in Leeds, as Vicar of Whitkirk and as a member of the Chapter of Ripon Cathedral. He has also worked in Kent in Maidstone and as priest-in-charge of a group of parishes 10 miles north west of Canterbury. He was a Minor Canon of Canterbury Cathedral, a prison chaplain and Assistant Director of Post-Ordination Training for the Diocese of Canterbury.

 

Prior to ordination Ian had a career in tax, both with the Inland Revenue as a PAYE auditor and in a firm of chartered accountants as a tax accountant. Ian is married with two sons. He is the author of three books on prayer: Prayers for All Occasions (SPCK, 2011), Intercessions for Years A, B & C (SPCK, 2009), and Intercessions for the Calendar of Saints and Holy Days (SPCK, 2005). He has been writing online since the late 1990s and you can catch his ‘Byte-sized spiritual comments’ via his blog at www.ianblack.org.uk.

A collection of intercessions to accompany the Church of England Common Worship Lectionary, years A, B & C, all in one volume. Each petition includes a focusing bidding with some dots (. . .), to indicate where intercessors may address specific concerns, a gathering sentence and a responsory. The intercessions are compatible with the traditional areas of church, political governance/world concerns, neighbourhood, sick and deceased.

As the author has drawn primarily on the gospel for inspiration, the prayers will be relevant however many readings are used in a given service

Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, Nascetur Pro Te, Israel!

Piero_di_Cosimo_053

The Incarnation of Christ: Piero di Cosimo (1462-1522), also known as Piero di Lorenzo

 

Holy and incarnate one,
at whose unexpected touch
the ordinary world
is charged with God:

we pray for those
whose hardship is overwhelming, who cannot find you;
who live in poverty, anxiety, and hunger;
whose lives are fearful or lonely;
who are exploited, exhausted or ill.

For the Word was made flesh
and dwelt among us.

We pray for those
whose ambition is overwhelming, who do not want to find you;
whose lives are choked with overwork or consumption;
who have chosen an unreal path;
who have hardened their hearts.

For the Word was made flesh
and dwelt among us.

We pray for those who have begun to find you, and are overwhelmed;
for whom the risk of healing is too painful;
who are afraid of your embrace,
and fear your energetic power to reconstitute the world.

For the Word was made flesh
and dwelt among us.

John 1.14

From ‘All Desires Known’, by Janet Morley, p. 80

 

 

Training For Leadership In The Church Of England

ITN

Courtesy Upland Path Management: http://www.snh.org.uk/uplandpathmanagement/5.1.shtml

Unless you have spent the last fortnight on a Pacific atoll, you will know that the Church has had what it no doubt believes to be A Bright Idea about how to improve the management skills of the next generation of Bishops and Deans. If you have not already done so, I urge you to read Psephizo’s blog post on the subject, which summarises the comments that have been made, as well as offering his own useful insight.

I had not thought to add my pennyworth. However, something that is glaringly obvious to me does not seem to have been mentioned, viz It Won’t Work!

Assuming you do not object to the idea of training bishops and deans as managers (which of course many do, but that is not the point of this post), there are three important characteristics of managers which the report does not address:

1. Managers are individuals, with individual strengths and weaknesses, and individual training needs.

2. Managers need practical training/coaching/equipping at the moment of need, not theoretically in advance.

2. Managers are part of a team – not every team member needs the same skills.

 

Identifying Future Leaders

Come off it! This is not a new idea – it has always been done, sometimes from the comfort of the Athenaeum, sometimes apparently in the gents at Church House. This is the way of the world, and the Green Report is not going to change that.

Equipping The Chosen For The Task

What is needed is helping those who have been chosen for leadership through these tried and tested methods to carry out their new role. Remember the Peter Principle?  The Church of England is about to conduct an experiment costing £2 million pounds which most of us expect simply to provide further evidence in support of this principle:

The Peter Principle is a concept in management theory in which the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in his or her current role rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and “managers rise to the level of their incompetence.”

Not to mention ‘those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it’.

Reflect On Your Own Experience

For example, supposing you were not born wired up to a computer monitor, do you remember when you first realised this was a skill you needed to master if you were to remain effective in the workplace? I hope you did not go on ‘a computer course’, which taught everything from Ada Lovelace and Babbage up to COBOL. If so, I doubt whether you took much in. People learn best when they are being taught how to solve a particular problem they have encountered at a particular moment.

How To Train A Church Leader

Do not, I beg of you, on bended arthritic knee in case that helps, offer training to high fliers on the way up. Wait until they have arrived in post. Then offer tailor-made ‘equipping’ to help with situations as they arise (or even better, as they are identified on the horizon). For instance, we are all agreed that the future Bishop Libby Lane is going to face difficulties, simply because she is the first woman in this role and all eyes will be on her. I hope that she will make contact with one of the other female bishops in the Anglican Communion and ‘buddy up’ – this is likely to be the most effective form of support. I also hope she will be offered training support as and when she needs it – probably a short course of a week at a time, say, at one of the management colleges on specific issues faced by all managers.

Intercession for 4th Sunday of Advent Year B – 21 December 2014

Virgin_Mary_1-large

The Collect

God our redeemer, who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of your Son: grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour, so we may be ready to greet him when he comes again as our judge; 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 7.1-11,16

Now when David, the king 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 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. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.

Psalm: The Magnificat – Luke 1.46

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; * he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed; *the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.
He has mercy on those who fear him, *from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm *and has scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones *and lifting up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things *and sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, *to remember his promise of mercy,
The promise made to our ancestors, *to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

Second Reading:  Romans 16.25-27

To God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever! Amen.

Gospel Reading: Luke 1.26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

Prayers of Intercession

Visual Liturgy suggests:

In joyful expectation of his coming to our aid we pray to Jesus.

Come to your Church as Lord and judge. We pray for …
Help us to live in the light of your coming
and give us a longing for your kingdom.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to your world as King of the nations. We pray for …
Before you rulers will stand in silence.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to the suffering as Saviour and comforter. We pray for …
Break into our lives, where we struggle with sickness and distress,
and set us free to serve you for ever.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to us as shepherd and guardian of our souls. We remember …
Give us with all the faithful departed
a share in your victory over evil and death.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come from heaven, Lord Jesus, with power and great glory. Lift us up to meet you,
that with all your saints & angels we may live & reign with you in your new creation.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Silence is kept.

Come, Lord Jesus, do not delay; give new courage to your people,  who trust in your love. By your coming, raise us to share in the joy of your kingdom on earth as in heaven, where you live and reign with the Father and the Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Our Lord says, ‘I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting.
Amen.


 

Jane Williams says:

When David offers to make God a home, God explains that his home has always been with his people. He has gone with them, preparing things for them, making provisions for them in ways that they never even noticed. He knows that they long for a home, but perhaps they do not realise that they can have no home without him. All the things that we long for, that we search for throughout the world, throughout our lives  – love, security, peace, fulfilment, joy – all of these things are to be found in God, our only real home. So now, God is preparing, as Advent moves towards Christmas, to come to us, in our own place, in what we call ‘home’ and yet are never quite content with. He will make it, and us, his home, so that we can come to our true home, at last.

Eternal Spirit of the living God, be for us a flame of warmth and light, steadying and transforming our desires so that, lovingly and truthfully, we may pray and we may live.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, as we reach the shortest days of the year, we ask you for night vision that we may see you in the dark. May we find in the shadows, the contours of your presence. If all our hopes for the Church have not yet been realised, then our fears may yet be misplaced. Oh, let it be so! As we look forward to celebrating the birth of your Son, let us search once more the corners of your Church where your people, united in your purpose, may yet be able to shine your light and offer the water and the nourishment needed for new life.

Lord, turn our faces gently to the sun: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

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

Lord, it matters what we pray, but so does what we eat. It matters what we believe, but so does what we buy. It matters what we love, but so does our stewardship of all the bounty of this planet. It matters how we worship, but also where we work. It matters that we sing hymns of praise to you, but so does the care we take of this world that we call home.

Lord, turn our faces gently to the sun: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶The local community

Lord, you take the earth and all its inhabitants, and orchestrate the Babel of competing voices into a world of  beauty. However discordant the different strands may be, if we allow ourselves to receive your grace, you are always creating new harmonies. Let there be peace on earth this Christmastide. Let there be peace among nations and peace within nations. Let there be peace in our community and peace in our homes. And let it begin with me.

Lord, turn our faces gently to the sun: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we are hard-pressed by anxiety and discord while you shower blessings on the just and unjust. You endure with us the showers of black rain,  and the pain and evil that we face is but a drop in the vast ocean of your love. Lord, we are cold, empty, hungry, thirsty and broken . Come fire, come food, come glue, come glory; Comforter come to us.

Lord, turn our faces gently to the sun: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶The communion of saints

Creator of mankind, we are mortal, formed of the earth and to earth we return. Only you are immortal. Give rest to your servants with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, but give way to life everlasting.

Lord, turn our faces gently to the sun: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 


The prayers today are drawn from a variety of sources, including Jim Cotter’s ‘Out of Silence’, and Gerald Kelly’s ‘Twitturgies‘, which offers new insights every time I open its pages.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Invitation to Confession (1st Sun. of Advent to Christmas Eve) © 1988 Continuum (Mowbray) (Adapted) 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 Archbishops’ Council 2002 Blessing (1st Sun. of Advent until Christmas Eve) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

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