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Intercessions for Second Sunday Before Advent Year B: Change

The Lectionary

The Collect:
Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son was revealed to destroy the works of the devil and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life: grant that we, having this hope, may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that when he shall appear in power and great glory we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom…

Daniel 12.1-3
In the third year of King Cyrus a word was revealed to Daniel. At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.’

Psalm 16
Refrain: The Lord is at my right hand; I shall not fall.
Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge; *I have said to the Lord, ‘You are my lord,all my good depends on you.’
All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, *upon those who are noble in heart.
Though the idols are legion that many run after, *their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, neither make mention of their names upon my lips.
The Lord himself is my portion and my cup; *in your hands alone is my fortune.
My share has fallen in a fair land; *indeed, I have a goodly heritage.R
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel, *and in the night watches he instructs my heart.
I have set the Lord always before me; *he is at my right hand; I shall not fall.
Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; *my flesh also shall rest secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Death, *nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life; in your presence is the fullness of joy *and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

 

Hebrews 10.11-14(15-18)19-25
Every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, ‘he sat down at the right hand of God’, and since then has been waiting ‘until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.’ For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord:I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds’, he also adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’ Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

Mark 13.1-8
As Jesus came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.’ When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?’ Then Jesus began to say to them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.’

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Initial Thoughts

The theme this week seems to challenge us – is the glass half-full or half-empty? My first reaction was that the readings were all about being challenged by momentous changes, and seeking God’s help to meet the challenge. This is the half-full view. David Adam, on the other hand, seems to have a half-empty take on the lectionary. With the response ‘In him we will not be afraid’, he prefaces the prayers with ‘God of all power and might, give us grace to trust you in the darkness as well as in the light’. Of course I am influenced, as one is supposed to be, by events in the real world which David Adam was unaware of when he wrote Traces of Glory: the appointment of a new Archbishop of Canterbury and the vote on women bishops this coming Tuesday are momentous – but one hopes not cataclysmic – events.

We have already had intercessions on change in the sense of metamorphosis, for the first Sunday after Trinity. But the wind of change that is under consideration today is something altogether harder to resist.
 
 
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The Prayers

[ Malachi 3.6; Psalm 46.2:]

The Lord does not change, Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.
 
 

¶The Church of Christ

As the new Archbishop of Canterbury prepares for his enthronement, and as the Church votes again on whether to accept women as bishops, O God of unchangeable power and eternal light, we ask you to look favourably on your whole Church. May the world feel and see that things which were cast down are being raised up and things which had grown old are being made new and that all things are returning to perfection through him from whom they took their origin, Jesus Christ.
 

O unchanging Lord, guide us as we undergo great changes: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 
 
 

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

Lord of  lords, and king of kings,  we pray for statesmen, leaders and rulers. May they be quiet in spirit, clear in judgement, and able to understand the issues that face them. Grant them patience, grant them courage, grant them foresight, and grant them great faith. In their anxieties, Lord, be their security. In their opportunities, be their inspiration. And by their plans and their actions, may your kingdom come, your will be done.
 

O unchanging Lord, guide us as we undergo great changes: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 
 
 

¶The local community

Lord, we pray for the places where we work, and we give thanks for our homes and those whom we love.  Make us mindful that all our lives depend on the work of others, and we pray that we may live thankfully and in unity as members of one human family. And as fellow members of the Body of Christ, help us to share in the joys and sorrows of our neighbours as if they were our own.
 

O unchanging Lord, guide us as we undergo great changes: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 
 
 

¶ Those who suffer

Give strength, Lord, to all caught up in disasters, all who are suffering from famine or flood, storms or earthquakes. Give courage, Lord, to all who are ill, and all who are afraid for their future. Knowing that you are our strength and salvation, we commend to your loving care all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit. In your goodness and mercy, grant them health of body, soundness of mind and peace of heart.
 

O unchanging Lord, guide us as we undergo great changes: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 
 
 

¶ The communion of saints

Lord, we pray to you for those whom we love, but see no longer. Grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them; and in your loving wisdom and almighty power, work in them the holy purpose of your perfect will.
 

O unchanging Lord, guide us as we undergo great changes: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 
 
 
 
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(1)Collect from The Gelasian Sacramentary  ”Transfiguration is in our grasp by the grace and power of God. At a very liminal time for Christianity when it was not clear what would follow Late Antiquity, an altar book was assembled which drew on a range of sources. It became known as the Gelasian Sacramentary and one of its collects expresses our hope”

The other prayers are taken from (sometimes adapted from) The Lion Prayer Collection. The prayer for those in authority is by Lilian Cox (p.224).

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