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Intercessions for Palm Sunday Year B: 29 March 2015

Mosaic in Palermo commons wikimedia

Mosaic from Palermo c.1150 via Wikimedia under CCL

 

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; 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.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

[Liturgy of the Psalms
Mark 11.1-11
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.]

Liturgy of the Passion

First Reading: Isaiah 50.4-9a

The servant of the Lord said: The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens – wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;  I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?
All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.

 

Psalm 118.1-2,19-24

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; * his mercy endures for ever.
Let Israel now proclaim, * ‘His mercy endures for ever.’
Open to me the gates of righteousness, * that I may enter and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord; * the righteous shall enter through it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me * and have become my salvation.
The stone which the builders rejected * has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing, * and it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made; * we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Second Reading: Philippians 2.5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly  exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel Reading: Mark 14.1-15.47

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.
Christ humbled himself and became obedient unto death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him
and given him the name that is above every name.
AllPraise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; for they said, ‘Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.’ While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, ‘Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.’ And they scolded her. But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’ Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’ So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.’ They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, ‘Surely, not I?’ He said to them, ‘It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’ While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’ When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, ‘You will all become deserters; for it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even though all become deserters, I will not.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ But he said vehemently, ‘Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And all of them said the same. They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’ Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.’ All of them deserted him and fled. A certain young man was following Jesus, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked. They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, ‘We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.”’ But even on this point their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?’ But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said,‘I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,” and “coming with the clouds of heaven.”’ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?’ All of them condemned him as deserving death. Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, ‘Prophesy!’ The guards also took him over and beat him. While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘I do not know or understand what you are talking about.’ And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, ‘This man is one of them.’ But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.’ But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, ‘I do not know this man you are talking about.’ At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept. As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so.’ Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, ‘Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.’ But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed. Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?’ They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’ And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!’ In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.’ And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’ There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem. When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.


A complicated day. The RSCM has: ‘The joy, expectation and hope will soon turn to fear, pain and despair: today we try to hold both together. As he entered Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah and showed he was a king: in embracing humiliation, injustice and a cruel death, he accepted the mantle of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant. So two threads of ancient promise are united in the king who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The Revd Alan Garrow writes (p.133): ‘Jesus set his face like flint and endured the torture that was laid on him because he had an unshakeable grasp of where his priorities lay and what his life was for. There are all kinds of pressures which, while not of the same order as those endured by Jesus, are constantly capable of blowing our churches, and Christian lives, off course. We must be constantly aware of God’s future purpose for us if we are to avoid being pressured into comfortable, but ultimately useless, cul-de-sacs.

 

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, we pray for your Church and people. You are our hope of victory, yet, like your disciples of old, we constantly betray you. Grant us so to recognise your coming that in our answering clamour we may yet show firm commitment. And in our answering awe, when words die away, may the very stones cry aloud your name.

Lord of pain, of passion and compassion: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

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

Lord, bless us with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and the exploitation of people. You are wounded in the weeping of Africa. You are suffering on the scarred streets of Europe. You bleed in the bombings of the Middle East. Lord, help us to direct your righteous anger so that we may work tirelessly for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

Lord of pain, of passion and compassion: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶The local community

Lord, lend us your eyes to see the world around us as you see it. Show us what needs to be done, and give us the imagination and strength to do it.  Bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we really can make a difference in this world, so that we are able, through your grace, to do what others claim cannot be done. Bless us with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that we may seek truth boldly and love deep within our hearts.

Lord of pain, of passion and compassion: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we pray for those who suffer in body, mind or spirit, remembering always the example of Jesus our brother, who followed the path which necessity dictated and, as he was repudiated by more and more people on the way to the Cross,  felt forsaken and desolate.  Lord, bless us with the gift of tears to shed for others, so that, in your name, we may reach out our hands to comfort them, in the knowlege that God is with them, and that the God who is with them cannot be defeated.

Lord of pain, of passion and compassion: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶The communion of saints

Lord of the cross, we give thanks for your holy martyrs, for all who have suffered for others and for truth. For those who have sacrificed for us and are now at rest. Through your cross and passion, may we share with them in your glory.

 Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

Today’s prayers are based on a four-fold benedictine blessing – Sr. Ruth Marlene Fox, OSB – 1985 shared by Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented. Also Janet Morley’s ‘All Desires Known.’

 

Prayer after Communion

Lord Jesus Christ,
you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant,
and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation:
give us the mind to follow you
and to proclaim you as Lord and King,
to the glory of God the Father.

 

Christian Arrives at the Cross and Sepulchre

Thus far did I come loaden with my sin;
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in
Till I came hither: What a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss?
Must here the Burden fall from off my back?
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack?
Blessed Cross! Blessed Sepulchre! Blessed rather be
The man that there was put to shame for me.

John Bunyan 1622-1688

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Post Communion (Palm Sunday) © 1984 General Synod of the Church of Ireland Invitation to Confession (5th Sun Lent until Weds of Holy Week) © 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 Gospel Acclamation (5th Sun. of Lent until Weds of Holy Week) © The Archbishops’ Council 2002 Collect (Palm Sunday) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for Fifth Sunday of Lent Year B: 22 March 2015

WLA_ima_Landscape_at_St_Remy

What can a person do when he thinks of all the things he cannot understand, but look at the fields of wheat. . . . We, who live by bread, are we not ourselves very much like wheat . . . to be reaped when we are ripe. . . . -Vincent van Gogh, 1889

The Collect

Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; 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 31.31-34

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt – a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

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: Hebrews 5.5-10

Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’; as he says also in another place, ‘You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’ In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Gospel Reading: John 12.20-33

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.
Christ humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him
and given him the name that is above every name.
All: Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour. ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say – “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.


 

The RSCM (2009) has: “Life comes through death. There is no escaping its totality, no hanging onto anything we value. It is costly: a complete letting-go. Yet we are not left in darkness. Just as there can be no fruit-bearing plant without the burial of the seed, we cannot know eternal life without the experience of death. It is this that marks his hour, says Jesus: glory and judgement in his death on the cross. In this moment all will be drawn to him. ”

Jane Williams unpacks the theology in a little more detail – you can read it here, by searching ‘zap’.

Prayers of Intercession

 

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, you come to meet us long before we search for you. May your Church, where you have promised to be present if two or three are gathered together,  be a gateway to encountering you. Sometimes this may be through the glories of the music and the spoken word, sometimes it may be in the silences in between. And may we, in turn, show forth your love to those we encounter.

Lord, teach us to be receptive to your presence: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

Lord, inhabit our darkness and brood over our abyss. Speak to our chaos that we may breathe with your life and share your creation. Inspire us with your strength that we may draw from it the courage to stand up for justice and peace in your world. And help us to bring in your kingdom of truth and liberty here on earth.

Lord, teach us to be receptive to your presence: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, where winter has reigned, let spring break out. Where hearts are gripped in ice, may your sun rise with healing wings. Lord, embrace the orphan in each of us. Welcome the widow that we are. As strangers, shelter us. Let us learn to be your neighbour and be loved. Link us to life through you.

Lord, teach us to be receptive to your presence: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord, take us to yourself, we who hurt so much in the depths of our being. We are caught up in the pain of life, and yet so often inflict pain in our turn on others. Embrace us with the hands that show the mark of the nails, your love swallowing up all our sin and pride. So we pray that our broken bones may heal as we join in the Cosmic Dance of the Lord of Life, who embodies your power to redeem and make all things whole.

Lord, teach us to be receptive to your presence: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord, you come to meet us in your cross and resurrection. We remember all those whom we knew and have now joined the great cycle of life and death… Draw them to yourself, that they may be lifted up into eternal life.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

Prayer after Communion

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do also for you: give us the will to be the servant of others as you were the servant of all, and gave up your life and died for us, but are alive and reign, now and for ever.


 

Copyright acknowledgement Collect (5th of Lent) © 1980 CBFCE; Archbishops’ Council 1999 / Church of the Province of Southern Africa Invitation to Confession (5th Sun Lent until Weds of Holy Week) © 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 Gospel Acclamation (5th Sun. of Lent until Weds of Holy Week) © The Archbishops’ Council 2002

To Their Credit – How Churches Are Helping The UK’s Poorest: by Nicole Holgate

Chtlogo_small_colour_400x400

 First, A Brief History of the Church Housing Trust

Prebendary Wilson Carlile founded the Church Army in 1882 and Church Army Housing in 1924, thereby starting a great tradition which continues to this day through the combined forces of Church Housing Trust and Riverside ECHG (formerly English Churches Housing Group).

The Church Army soon became the largest lay society in the Church of England and Wilson Carlile himself was centrally involved in its social work for the homeless, often spending nights on the Thames Embankment in winter in order to care for those sleeping rough. Because of this work, many found the courage to try life in a hostel from where they could move on to better lives.

Church Army Housing transferred its hostels to Church Housing Association in 1977 and in 1984 Church Housing Trust was founded to raise charitable funds to support the hostels and the trust became a registered charity in 1991. In the same year Church Housing Association merged with Baptist Housing Association and United Reformed Church Housing Association to become English Churches Housing Group, and Church Housing Trust remained an independent charity raising funds for their work with the homeless. More recently ECHG became part of the Riverside Group and continues to be one of the leading providers of supported housing for homeless people.

Mission Statement

Church Housing Trust takes positive action to provide better facilities, opportunities and futures for homeless people whilst promoting a wider national understanding of the difficulties faced by those in housing need. It raises funds nationally for the establishment, equipping, organising, furnishing and maintenance of housing, hostel and other accommodation. Church Housing Trust reaches the elderly, students, single people, families and the physically and mentally ill who are unable by reason of poverty, sickness, age or youth to make adequate provision for themselves.


Nicole Holgate:”To Their Credit – How Churches Are Helping The UK’s Poorest”

The Church’s commitment to helping the most vulnerable members of society has never been more evident than over the past few years, as the need for food banks, the use of payday loans, and the increase of homelessness and rough sleeping have seen council and government-funded services stretched to their limits.

 

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has become a fierce advocate for the creation of a fairer financial system, encouraging churches and individual Christians to add their voices or actions. This came after the news that one million UK households took out payday and doorstep loans with APRs of up to 6,000% every month because they had no access to bank loans.

 

Archbishop Welby’s criticism of Wonga and other payday lenders helped fuel a campaign to rein in the sector. Now that the Financial Conduct Authority has imposed limits on payday loans, the archbishop has turned his attention to mainstream banks and their role in society. Most recently, accusing the financial services industry of ignoring poor communities, he called on banks to put people before profit.

 

He added that banks should make sure all sections of society have access to bank accounts and free cash machines which, following the clampdown on payday lending, would give lower-income families much-needed access to financial services .  Between 1989 and 2012, 7,500 banks and building society branches were closed , two-thirds of these in deprived areas.

 

The Church of England now runs the  website ‘To your credit’, which advises individuals and churches how to get the most out of their banking, including the management of debts and ongoing bill costs. The Church Urban Fund has also launched a series of ‘poverty briefings’ to ensure that each diocese has the information available to form a tailored action plan to help those in the most financial trouble.

 

Last summer, inspired by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments on responsible lending, songwriter and music producer Charles Bailey approached the Church of England with the idea for a rap. The song, called ‘We need a union on the streets’ , tells the stories of young people who get into debt because of payday loans with high interest rates and aims to highlight credit unions as a better way to borrow.

While benefit cuts and stalled wages continue to have an adverse effect on those on the bottom rung of society, the Church has come forward as a spokesman on their behalf.  This puts the Church in the firing line of Members of Parliament and the media, who have all been quick to react, not always positively, and this seems likely to increase rather than decrease in the near future. However, some good ground has also been made, even if it may take a while before the wider community finally gets the point.

 

Nicole Holgate, Communications Officer

 

Church Housing Trust

@churchhousing

Facebook.com/churchhousingtrust

Pinterest.com/churchhousingtr

Intercessions for Fourth Sunday of Lent Year B: 15 March 2015

ULG-Ms363-fol86r

The Bronze Serpent: Ms. 363, Université de Liège http://jessehurlbut.net/wp/mssart/?p=3708

The Collect

Merciful Lord, absolve your people from their offences, that through your bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the chains of those sins which by our frailty we have committed; grant this, heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour, 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: Numbers 21.4-9

The Israelites set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.’ Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.’ So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

Psalm 107.1-3,17-22

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is gracious, *for his steadfast love endures for ever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say this, *those he redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands from the east and from the west, * from the north and from the south.
Some were foolish and took a rebellious way, * and were plagued because of their wrongdoing.
Their soul abhorred all manner of food * and drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, * and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent forth his word and healed them, * and saved them from destruction.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his goodness *  and the wonders he does for his children.
Let them offer him sacrifices of thanksgiving *  and tell of his acts with shouts of joy.

Second Reading: Ephesians 2.1-10

You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Gospel Reading: John 3.14-21

Jesus said to Nicodemus: ‘Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’

In ‘The Ministry of the Word’, the Revd Alan Garrow says:

“John portrays a world that is already lost. It lives according to its own ‘lights’, which give no light at all. The situation is parallel to that in [the Old Testament reading], where God acted and provided a focus (the bronze snake on a staff) as a sign of his saving involvement with them. John reuses the image of God entering a situation of chaos to provide a means of escape. He presents Jesus as the snake that is lifted up as a sign to the people of God’s faithful love for them,…John combines this image with that of light coming into darkness. Jesus is like a raised torch that brings order to chaos, hope to despair. As with the bronze serpent, there are two ways of responding to God’s actions in Jesus. We can turn away for shame or we can turn and be forgiven. Unless we are perfect, we will always be embarrassed by the light, but if we allow it to reveal who we really are, then God’s healing work of forgiveness can take place.”

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to God that in his light, we also may see light.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, from the moment of our creation you formed us for your glory. Forgive the discontent and dissension which has arisen in your Church, dividing us one from the other. Let your light so shine before us that all eyes are  lifted to see the salvation of the Cross.  Increase our faith, we pray: Give us hearts to long for you, grace to discern you and courage to proclaim you.*

Lord, shine your light into every corner of our world: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

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

Lord, even as the relentless winds of the universe raged through the silence of the ages, your heart was stirring to bring us to life. You are with us through all our bewilderments, redeeming our wastes and our sorrows. We go astray in the wilderness, lost in the trackless desert, and the mists come down in the mountains. You set our feet on a path we had not seen, and you lead us to a place we can make our own. You break the chains that keep us imprisoned and lead us gently into the sun.

Lord, shine your light into every corner of our world: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The local community

Lord, grant us the vision to reach out beyond ourselves and share our lives with others. Stretch our capabilities, our awareness of where we can help. Help us to know that when we give to others we do so from a well deep within ourselves that can never run dry. Truly, what we gave we still have. What we spent without measure, we still have. Only what we kept for ourselves have we lost.

Lord, shine your light into every corner of our world: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, you have chosen to hear our cry and share our poverty. Help us to understand that in this life all of us will suffer pain, and feel the sharpness of the serpent’s tooth. This is as necessary for us as it was for your Son and we cannot hide from these moments. But how we respond to pain and grief, that we can control. Help us to look up in faith that you are always with us, as you have promised us. Light a fire in our hearts and melt our despair, so that with all your creatures we may live in hope.*

Lord, shine your light into every corner of our world: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The communion of saints

Lord, in love and through your grace you lead us to your kingdom. We pray for our loved ones departed, and all who have the joy of being closer still to you.

 Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

Prayer after Communion

Lord God,
whose blessed Son our Saviour
gave his back to the smiters
and did not hide his face from shame:
give us grace to endure the sufferings of this present time
with sure confidence in the glory that shall be revealed;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of christ, USA Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 Collect (4th of Lent) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

 

Intercessions for Third Sunday of Lent Year B: 8 March 2015

Rembrandt_Christ_Driving_the_Money_Changers_from_the_Temple

Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple by Rembrandt via Wikimedia under CCL

The Collect

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life 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: Exodus 20.1-17

Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work – you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

 

Psalm 19

Refrain: The commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.

The heavens are telling the glory of God * and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
One day pours out its song to another * and one night unfolds knowledge to another.
They have neither speech nor language * and their voices are not heard,
Yet their sound has gone out into all lands * and their words to the ends of the world.
In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, * that comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber and rejoices as a champion to run his course.
It goes forth from the end of the heavens and runs to the very end again, * and there is nothing hidden from its heat. R
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; * the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the simple.
The statutes of the Lord are right and rejoice the heart; * the commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever; * the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, * sweeter also than honey, dripping from the honeycomb.
By them also is your servant taught * and in keeping them there is great reward. R
Who can tell how often they offend? * O cleanse me from my secret faults!
Keep your servant also from presumptuous sins lest they get dominion over me; * so shall I be undefiled, and innocent of great offence.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, * O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Refrain: The commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.

 

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1.18-25

The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Gospel Reading: John 2.13-22

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ They then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.


The RSCM (2009) has: “Into the sacred space, Jesus brings disruption. Without the purchase of animals, the sacrifices set out by God in the Law could not be carried out. Without the money-changers providing Temple currency for Roman coinage, animals could not be purchased. The action Jesus takes is not so much a cleansing as a demonstration that this ‘old order’ is to be destroyed. John, with resurrection hindsight, explains: the new covenant is forged in the death and resurrection of Jesus. He will be the focal point for the worship of God.”

Jane Williams has not given me a ‘soundbite’ today but is well worth reading, which you can do by searching ‘irreconcilable’ here.

 

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, your presence is known in the structures we build, and also in their collapse. Though your people need places to gather, it is not the buildings or works of art alone that form your legacy.  Fill us with the desire to search for your truth, that we may transform the world, becoming fools for your sake. Establish in us a community of hope, not to contain your mystery but to be led beyond security into your sacred space.

Lord, teach us to live simply that others might simply live: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

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

Creator God, yearning and striving to bring harmony out of chaos, so fill every fibre of our being with your wisdom, and so  blow as a mighty rushing wind among the landscapes of our world, that the earth may reflect the wonder of the universe, in the glory of the transfigured Christ, who shared with you in the cost of creation.

Lord, teach us to live simply that others might simply live: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The local community

Lord, we thank you for the gift of friendship. For our companions on the journey with light enough to show us the fruit where brambles grow; and warmth enough to feed the grain of daily need, we thank you.  For those who, in times of adversity, welcome us in and clang shut the door on the wolves outside; and for those who in times of happiness share a double joy, where each is glad for both, we thank you. Lord, help us to treasure such relationships and, through them, grow ever closer to you.

Lord, teach us to live simply that others might simply live: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, who binds up the broken-hearted, who proclaims freedom to the captive and promises justice to all who mourn its absence or loss, look with compassion on those who suffer.Bless them with beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness in place of grief, and instead of the miasma of despair, enfold them in a garment of unending praise.

Lord, teach us to live simply that others might simply live: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for those who have enjoyed the sun here on earth for a while, who have lived light in the spring, who have loved, who have thought, and are now done…. May flights of angels sing them to their rest in your eternal home.

 

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

Prayer after Communion

Merciful Lord,
grant your people grace to withstand the temptations
of the world, the flesh and the devil,
and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Christ, the sun of righteousness,
rise in our hearts this day,
enfold us in the brightness of your love
and bear us at the last to heaven’s horizon;
for your love’s sake.


 

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 Invitation to Confession (Lent) © The Archbishops’ Council 2002 Post Communion (3rd of Lent) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for Second Sunday of Lent (Year B): 1 March 2015

shutterstock_209512195

The Collect

Almighty God, you show to those who are in error the light of your truth, that they may return to the way of righteousness: grant to all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion, that they may reject those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Genesis 17.1-7,15-16

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’

Psalm 22.23-28

Praise the Lord, you that fear him; * O seed of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, O seed of Israel.
For he has not despised nor abhorred the suffering of the poor; neither has he hidden his face from them; * but when they cried to him he heard them.
From you comes my praise in the great congregation; * I will perform my vows in the presence of those that fear you.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied; * those who seek the Lord shall praise him; their hearts shall live for ever.
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, * and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s * and he rules over the nations.

 

Second Reading: Romans 4.13-25

The promise that Abraham would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’). Abraham believed in the presence of the God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations,’ according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him,’ were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in God who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Gospel Reading: Mark 8.31-38

Jesus began to teach his disciples that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’


 

The RSCM offers: ‘It’s no good claiming to be a follower of Jesus if you are not prepared to have your world blown apart and put back together again. Peter learned this the hard way. He did know who Jesus was, ahead of the others, but he made the mistake of thinking he also knew what that meant. In the course of understanding his mistake, he suffered public humiliation at the hands of Jesus, and later denial and despair. But Jesus did not leave him there. It’s the putting back together that’s important, and the gift of life that comes with it.’

 

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, you ask us to follow you: may we follow you as bread. Knead us and rest us. Raise us, bake us and break us. Set us at the centre and disperse us. Let us be absorbed by others and multiplied in their hearts. Let us be collected as manna or as leftovers. Let us be in twelve baskets when your work is done. For you are the bread of life: we trust you to feed us each with just a fragment apiece, and to fill us with the smallest crumb. *

Lord, when we wander astray, guide us with the light of your truth: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, may the nations of the earth recognise their common humanity, and cease from all hostilities. May the people of the book, the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, learn to share so much in our faiths which unites us and make the holy city of Jerusalem a shrine which we can all share. Restore, we pray, among our leaders, the wisdom to govern in a spirit of service to the common good, free from the all-consuming desire for material gain.

Lord, when we wander astray, guide us with the light of your truth: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, foster in us that questioning interest we feel when we see a new face or hear a new name, when we give attention to someone unknown. And may that interest become respect, and respect flower as reverence in the face of whatever triumphs and wounds, hurts and mistakes, make this stranger unknown and yet knowable, unlikely yet likeable. Lord, many found you to be strange and yet the most vulnerable found healing and peace in your presence. Make friends of us, that we might be ready friends to strangers as strange as ourselves. **

Lord, when we wander astray, guide us with the light of your truth: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, you told us to take up our cross and follow you: we are humbled by your example as you were broken on our behalf. The pain of the cross takes many forms, and we pray for those who are finding it hard to bear. May we neither fall into the error of clinging to our pain when it is futile, nor refusing to embrace the cost when you require it of us. May we be strengthened and comforted by your promise that in losing ourselves for your sake, we may be brought to new life in you.

Lord, when we wander astray, guide us with the light of your truth: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for the departed of all the ages, who have heard your promise and followed your calling. As we are their descendants on earth, grant that we may share with them the life of heaven.

Lord, when we wander astray, guide us with the light of your truth: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

Prayer after Communion

Almighty God,
you see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves:
keep us both outwardly in our bodies,
and inwardly in our souls;
that we may be defended from all adversities
which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


*This is based on Stephen Cherry’s Barefoot Prayers and his meditation for Friday in the first week of Lent.

**And this is ‘Hospitality’, from the Revd Stephen Cherry’s book (Saturday of the first week).

 

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 2002 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

‘The Cross: Meditations And Images’ by Serena Fass

The Cross 001Reflections on the Cross through Images

Foreword by Abbot Timothy Wright OSB

“The Cross, however designed, represents the most horrific way any human being could die. It symbolises the worst that humans do to each other. It shows the most degrading way of treating the human body and is the most cruel method of extinguishing a human life. It allows no comfort to those who stand and watch their loved ones die. Crucifixion degrades judge, executioner, victim and observer. It still continues.

Beyond this degradation, Christians have been empowered to see something greater, and new, emerging from the crucified corpse of the God who became Man, in Jesus Christ. Like so many millions of others, before and since, he was a victim. Nothing in his behaviour was criminal enough to deserve such a capital sentence. The authorities of his time thought differently. To them he was a threat to their power, for Jesus healed people, he did not exploit them. Even on holy days when ‘work’ was not permitted, he brought healing, repairing broken bodies, giving life to the dead, even controlling nature – disempowering wind, expanding a few loaves to feed multitudes, walking on water to save his struggling friends.

Such work can only be a threat to those who hunger for the power to exploit.

That power is destructive, of the victim and the agent, of community and humanity.

Power used for selfish ends always destroys someone else. The power that Jesus brought to the world was a power to affirm, to heal, to expand. Nowhere was this power more convincingly shown than in the manner of his death. He alone held the key to unlock the door, closed tight till then for the whole of human history…the empty tomb, followed by Jesus’ real appearance to Mary Magdalene, changed it all. No wonder the disciples who met the Risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus were so astonished. It is precisely that astonishment we recall when we look at the Cross. Death no longer has any power, not just for a few, but for anyone who sees the Cross as the gift of life, a gift to be shared with the ‘other’, not possessed for myself. That is what makes the Cross unique and precious. Without  it the future is increased pain, suffering and despair. With it we look forward with hope and trust to eternal joy in the presence of God.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him. This is the message of the Cross…”


 

Lay Anglicana Review

I must begin by declaring an interest, in the sense that Serena and I have known each other for more years than I can remember, mostly through our shared love of India. Our lives seem intertwined, rather like ‘A Dance To The Music of Time‘ and we recently met again serendipitously at morning service in our Hampshire church.

Serena is a brilliant photographer, and the illustrations alone make a wonderful collection of images of the Cross. Perhaps a quarter of the pictures are of crucifixes, indisputably Christ on the cross. They are from every age and every tradition: ‘from Jerusalem, first through the Middle East and Turkey, then to the Orthodox world [including] the Greeks and the Russians, the Copts and the early independent churches of the Armenians and the Georgians’.  Then…the Catholic Mediterranean, [northern Europe] and the empires of the Portuguese, the Spanish and the British.’

You will find it hard not to look first at the images. But you will miss much if you don’t go on to explore the accompanying meditations, which are also a delight: what could be a better accompaniment to Lent and the road to Calvary?

Depending on which tradition you come from, you may find the crucifix a compelling image or hard to ‘gaze and gaze upon‘.  I admit that I find it hard to ponder the meaning of the Crucifixion when confronted with the horror of the death itself. And the artist’s interpretation I also find intrusive. For me, it is more helpful to have a plain cross to contemplate as it provides a focus as well as allowing the imagination free rein. Serena is ahead of me on this, in that perhaps half of the images are of simple crosses, although in contexts which are again in  incontrovertible reference to the Crucifixion as a summary of our faith.

The remainder are occurrences of the cross as a simple geometric shape. The originator may or may not have intended any Christian reference. They are embroidered, or painted, or sculpted, or the calyx of a passion flower, or, most wondrously, in the markings of a donkey’s coat. Interspersed with the other images throughout the book, they are like the madeleines of Proust,  evoking involuntary memories and:

A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
         Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
         Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
         Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul’s blood,
         The land of spices; something understood.

Reviews and Publisher’s Comments

Serena Fass has compiled a collection of many important and beautiful representations of the Cross. Spanning different strands of the Christian faith from the earliest Christians in Pompeii to the present day, and criss-crossing the globe from Norway to Zimbabwe and Peru to Australia. Works are illustrated in a variety of media including architecture, painting, sculpture, ivories, textiles, metalwork, jewellery, as well as examples of the cross manifest in nature. Serena has tried to convey the wide variety of cultural representations that illustrate Jesus’s great commission to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation”  (Mark 16:15)
“These images, gathered in one place, are an unique experience for the believer and nonbeliever alike. They are extraordinary artistic representations of great beauty from all over the world. Serena Fass’s passion to follow her path is palpable as you turn the pages.”
– David Verey, Chairman of the Art Fund

“…a beautiful book.”
           Mark Amory, The Spectator

Serena Fass has compiled what can only be described as a breath-taking archive… A beautifully designed and well thought out book.”
          Margaret Daniels, The Methodist Recorder

“…a handsome book.”
           Brendon Walsh, The Tablet
416pp • 195x292mm

Picture List price: £25.00

A donation from the proceeds of this book is being made to the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal
Serena Fass is well-served by her publisher, Gilgamesh, specialists on the world of the Middle East from which sprang Christianity and the Cross. If you order directly from them, quoting this review, they will sell it at a £5 discount.

Intercessions for First Sunday of Lent (Year B): 22 February 2015

1146px-The_Rainbow_oil_on_canvas_painting_by_Robert_Delaunay,_1913

The Rainbow, oil on canvas by Robert Delaunay, 1913, Honolulu Museum of Art

 

The Collect

Almighty God,  whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; 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 9.8-17

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’

Psalm 25.1-9

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; O my God, in you I trust; * let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies triumph over me.
Let none who look to you be put to shame, * but let the treacherous be shamed and frustrated.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord, * and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, * for you are the God of my salvation; for you have I hoped all the day long.
Remember, Lord, your compassion and love, * for they are from everlasting.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions, * but think on me in your goodness, O Lord, according to your steadfast love.
Gracious and upright is the Lord; * therefore shall he teach sinners in the way.
He will guide the humble in doing right * and teach his way to the lowly.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth * to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Second Reading: 1 Peter 3.18-22

Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you – not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

Gospel Reading: Mark 1.9-15

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.’ And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’

Jane Williams says: “Lent challenges us to remove some of our safety nets…but…is not just an exercise in breast-beating and self-testing. Its basic questions are ‘What are you for?’, ‘What do you depend on?’, ‘Where do you get your self-definition?’….All life is utterly dependent upon God. If God did not choose to preserve it, it would not be.  ..Jesus…too is about to accept his part, and to relinquish control, so as to acknowledge dependence upon God alone. But his is the acceptance that is to bring God and humanity together again, as at the beginning. Our Lenten discipline cannot bring us back to Adam’s tsate, or even Noah’s, but it can help us to accept, with gratitude, our creation and re-creation in Christ.”

You can see the whole piece here, by searching for ‘cushion’.

Prayers of Intercession

Lord, show us your ways and teach us your paths. Lead us in your truth and guide us, for you are the God of our salvation.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, although we have thousands of churches throughout this land, at times they seem  so cramped that they barely allow room for you. Help us to knock down the partitions and raise the roofs so that you may come in. May our collective prayers expand the walls and open up the roofs with skylights to let in your heavenly light and radiance, so that those within may be transformed by your love.

Lord, in the austerity of Lent sharpen our awareness of your love: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

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

Lord, who gives life to all life,  washing us clean, wiping out our mistakes and healing our wounds, teach us to seek you in the world of the everyday. Rather than a pot of gold to be found at the foot of the rainbow, help us to look for you in the complicated and messy world of our daily life. It is in the here and now that you show us the Way, the Truth and the Life. May we see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day.

Lord, in the austerity of Lent sharpen our awareness of your love: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶The local community

Lord, your Son entered a time of solitude in the desert and we, too, are sometimes alone and miss the comfort of human company. Our hearts are in pain and constricted, the arteries of affection are hardened. Open us to your Holy Spirit and lift our hearts high, with your breath filling our lungs. Lord of compassion, fill us with the spirit of forgiveness and grace, that we may believe in our hearts’ core that we are accepted just as we are. *

Lord, in the austerity of Lent sharpen our awareness of your love: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, as we enter the desert of Lent, help us to clear the clutter from our crowded lives and find a space to be still. In listening to our own heartbeats, may we find you. In the bleakness, with none of the cushioned comforts of our daily routines, may we be brought face to face with ourselves as we actually are, with none of the masks that form our daily covering, none of our little security blankets. In that space, Lord, we ask you to grow your wholeness in us. Give us a new vision, and make our desert blossom like a rose. **

Lord, in the austerity of Lent sharpen our awareness of your love: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for all those who have departed this life into your presence. In the light of heaven, may they join the praise of those who have worshipped you through all the ages.

Lord, in the austerity of Lent sharpen our awareness of your love: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 


* Based on Jim Cotter’s prayers around Psalm 25

** Based on Ann Lewin’s poem, Lent.

In general, the prayers today are inspired by ‘For lovers of God everywhere: poems of the Christian Mystics’ by Roger Housden.

Prayer after Communion

Lord God,
you have renewed us with the living bread from heaven;
by it you nourish our faith,
increase our hope,
and strengthen our love:
teach us always to hunger for him who is the true and living bread,
and enable us to live by every word
that proceeds from out of your mouth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


 

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 Invitation to Confession (Lent) © The Archbishops’ Council 2002 Collect (1st of Lent) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

‘Online Mission And Ministry’ by the Revd Pam Smith

pam 001
“In 2004 two online churches started in the UK, the Church of Fools and i-church. They were considered so unusual that they both attracted headlines all over the world and hundreds of potential members had to be turned away. While that level of novelty has worn off, people still do a double take when I tell them that I am the priest in charge of an online church. After the double take come the inevitable questions…this book is my attempt to answer all those questions in the depth they deserve” (extract from Introduction)

“Motivation and Longevity (Matthew 13.3-8) (p.113)

As Christians, we seek to be both culturally relevant, so we are heard by the people around us, and counter-cultural in challenging the assumptions and habits that take people further from God or prevent them from hearing the gospel.

The digital world is built for speed. It is possible to have an idea for an online campaign or initiative and set it up within weeks, if not days. If your project is unusual, or you have someone with a high profile involved, it is possible to gain a large amount of publicity very quickly. The downside of this is that things can disappear as quickly as they appear.

One approach to digital ministry is to go for high-speed, high-impact campaigns that have a short lifespan, arousing interest in the Christian message, hoping that people will be motivated to connect with a church that will take them on the next part of their Christian journey.

The counter-cultural strategy is to stay with our online ministry for the long haul, waiting for the seeds we are sowing to germinate and nurturing people in their Christian journey. This is a challenging and possibly a personally costly option. It may be possible to set up an online mega-church of millions of people but it is more likely that a long-term online Christian community will be small and quiet rather than large and exciting, and may not be understood by the wider Church…the commonest question I am asked about online church is ‘What do you do?’ and it is hard to explain that we don’t ‘do’ church – we are church to each other, despite the lack of sacraments or a building, because we are committed to each other’s journeys in the faith and in Christ’s love.

I have been conscious while I have been writing this book that it may sound rather daunting, with large amounts of space given to dealing with the more difficult aspects of online life. The downside of online mission and ministry is no greater than the downside of anything we undertake for God, but there is also a great sense of excitement and enjoyment in exploring a new form of ministry with others who are equally enthusiastic. Because the digital world moves so fast, one of the most striking statements we can make about the  gospel and God’s love is to be there for people and to remain there, praying, welcoming, teaching, comforting and being the good news for whoever needs us.

In the words of the visionary Mother Julian of Norwich, ‘He did not say ‘You shall not be tempest-tossed, you shall not be work-weary, you shall not be discomforted.’ But he did say, ‘You shall not be overcome.’

In the ever-changing digital world, what will not change is the person and nature of Jesus, his ministry of healing, his teaching of God’s love and his death and resurrection. While we have those, we have nothing to fear. ”


 

A review by Joyce Hackney

This new book by Rev Pam Smith, the Church of England’s web pastor, is one of the most helpful books I’ve read for a long time. The subtitle ‘A theological and practical guide’ lives up to its name as far as I’m concerned.

 

In clear, plain, non-patronising language,  Pam Smith explains the use of the internet for Christians. She does not assume any reader knows anything, but takes us through the technology and theology in a way that a beginner – or expert – can understand. The reader is led through the history of the internet to the present day.

 

Whether readers already make Christian contact via the internet, or wish to, or have misgivings about starting, this is an ideal guide. There is advice for everybody, including clergy and others who are led to ministry. She describes the similarities between online and real-world interaction without forgetting to mention the need for caution. We are informed of the advantages and drawbacks of using the internet as a field for Christian work. At all times her information and advice is backed up with Biblical references.

 

I’m sure many of us here in Lay Anglicana will recognise what she’s saying. I was drawn-in more or less as soon as I began to read. Good job I wasn’t on a bus or train while I was saying, ‘ Yes. I did that’ and ‘that’s true’ or ‘I remember discovering that.’

Joyce Hackney


 Some additional thoughts by Laura Sykes

I met the Revd Pam Smith about four years ago, when I first ventured onto Twitter. As she had finished something she was doing and had a spare half hour or so, she tweeted ‘Entertain me.’ Ernie Feasey (@minidvr) and I took her at her word and we began a very silly, but very entertaining exchange about liturgical dance, Joyce Grenfell and her song which begins ‘Stately as a galleon…’. I felt I had found a friend, someone to laugh with in this strange, rather frightening world to a woman in late middle age (all right, old age) venturing into social media for the first time. It didn’t occur to me at the time that what she was offering me was pastoral ministry, but it was exactly that, as I came to realise. We continued to engage on twitter and Facebook despite the fact that, although we agree about almost everything in the Church, in ordinary politics we are at different ends of the spectrum. When we met face to face a few years later, we didn’t need to introduce ourselves and it was like catching up with an old friend.

The Church of England has a document called ‘Ministry in the Church of England’ which includes the following by ++Rowan Williams in the preface:

‘At the very heart of this calling [to ministry] is God’s invitation just to be there, in the middle of the Church, holding it in prayer, seeking God’s will for the Church’s future, trying to put yourself completely at the disposal of God for that future. It isn’t a role that lends itself very easily to self-congratulation, a nice clear sense that you’ve done the job, because there’s always more to discover of God and God’s purpose for the future. You have to become a certain kind of person, not just do a certain number of things. And that can be hard, since we all like to know we’ve done all right, that we’ve ticked the right boxes. But it can also be liberating, because this is a role in which God is helping you become yourself more deeply and fully, through your relationships with the whole community of God’s people’

You will look in vain for any element of self-congratulation in Pam’s book. But that is not the only part of the above description which could have been tailor-made to fit her. Pam, thank-you for all the help which you have been to me (mostly without your knowing it). Thank-you for all that you do, online and offline, to be at the centre of the Church and to offer inspiration to those around you.


Pam2‘Online Mission and Ministry’ is officially published by SPCK on 19 February. This is what they say about the book:

Clergy and churches are increasingly being encouraged to use the internet and social media to promote their ministries. But they may worry about some of the difficult pastoral and theological issues that can arise online.

‘Virtual vicar’ the Revd Pam Smith guides both new and experienced practitioners through setting up online ministries, and considers some of the questions that may arise, such as:

Are relationships online as valid as those offline?
Is it possible to participate in a ‘virtual’ communion service?
How do you deal with ‘trolls’ in a Christian way?
What is appropriate for a clergyperson to say on social media?

 

Online Mission and Ministry
A theological and practical guide
Author
Pam Smith
ISBN
9780281071517
Publisher
SPCK Publishing
Additional information
144 pages. Paperback. (216 x 138 mm)
Our Price
£9.99

 

Intercessions for Sunday next before Lent Year B: 15 February 2015

Iordan_Feodor_-_Transfiguration_of_Jesus

“Transfiguration of Jesus” by Feodor Ivanovich Iordan 1835 via Wikimedia Commons

The Collect

Almighty Father, whose Son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross: give us grace to perceive his glory, that we may be strengthened to suffer with him and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; 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 Kings 2.1-12

When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’

Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’

Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ He responded, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

Psalm 50.1-6

The Lord, the most mighty God, has spoken * and called the world from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth; * our God comes and will not keep silence.
Consuming fire goes out before him * and a mighty tempest stirs about him.
He calls the heaven above, * and the earth, that he may judge his people:
‘Gather to me my faithful, * who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.’
Let the heavens declare his righteousness, * for God himself is judge.

 

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 4.3-6

Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Gospel Reading: Mark 9.2-9

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.  As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.


For an explanation of why today’s lectionary is about the transfiguration (but the Feast of the Transfiguration remains in August) see the intercessions for 2013.

The RSCM has: ‘What the three disciples saw was simply what had always been true: that as beloved Son of God, Jesus exists in God’s glory. The presence of Moses and Elijah confirmed him as Messiah, and emphasized what the companions of Jesus had been groping towards in their understanding – that the ‘day of the Lord’ spoken of by the prophets was here. As on Sinai, the cloud indicated both the presence of God and the veiling of human minds from the full impact of his glory.’

Jane Williams writes: ‘Both before and after the Transfiguration, Jesus talks about suffering and death. How are the disciples to put together what they have just seen and what Jesus is telling them? How are they to be faithful to the vision and command of God, which seem to point in differing directions? The vision tells them how important Jesus is, and the command tells them to listen to him while he stresses how he must suffer and die.’

Prayers of Intercession

 

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, give us grace and strength this day to build up your church in love for the world, in the making of disciples and to equip the saints for the work of ministry. Plant your hope deep within us. Open our eyes to a fresh vision of your kingdom and give us wisdom for the common task. And draw us, and all your Church, deeper into Christ, our foundation and cornerstone, that we may work together as one body in the power of the Spirit and for the sake of your glory. *

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, every cloud has a sacred lining and the sparkle of the spirit nestles in the every day. Like gold, you glisten where the earth is broken. You are as close as the air we move through, and the soil in which we are rooted. Give us eyes to see you and a heart and words for praise.**

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

¶The local community

Lord, open our eyes and ears to the world that surrounds us. You have given us so much to enjoy and to share with others, but so often we are absorbed in ourselves and our own needs and wants. Tear down the walls of separation and rebuild the roads of trust. Set us on fire, we pray, and burn from us all that dims your light. Kindle an answering flame in the lives of those around us that darkness may be driven back and glory stream into this world, transforming it with love.

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

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we are all emerging out of the dark, out of the fog, out of discordant human cries.  When the fog descends, be with us. Though we lose our horizons, may we keep your hand, unseen shepherd, and know you near. When the road uphill seems about to explode our lungs, and the road downhill stretches our faith to the utmost, we know you are travelling with us. Blind as we are, Father, lead us into light, into freedom and into you.

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

¶The communion of saints

Lord, grant us to trust in your unfailing promise of salvation. We give thanks for all who have passed beyond death and been transformed in your glorious kingdom, especially those whom we love. May we, like them, come to the fullness of your presence

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

 

Prayer after Communion

Holy God, we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ: may we who are partakers at his table reflect his life in word and deed, that all the world may know his power to change and save. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.


 

*This prayer comes from the General Synod paper GS 1979, Resourcing Ministerial Education in the Church of England; it was used at each meeting of the Task Goup and they commend its use to the wider Church.

**Based on Gerard Kelly’s twitturgies ‘Clouds’ and ‘Glory’.

 

 

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Post Communion (Sunday next before Lent) © 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

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