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Intercessions for Epiphany Year A – 5 January 2014


The Collect

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

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Isaiah 60.1-6

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

Psalm 72.(1-9)10-15

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


Second Reading: Ephesians 3.1-12

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

Gospel Reading: Matthew 2.1-12

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

Ann Lewin writes:

‘…extraordinary gifts to bring a child [but] these are gifts which we have to offer, too. Each of us is pure gold in God’s sight, ‘precious, honoured and loved.’ as Isaiah said (43.4)…What God wants is ourselves, unfinished works of art as we are, so that he can love us into wholeness. We are called to be prayerful people, deepening our relationship with God and letting our prayerful concern for others warm the lives of people around us. Myrrh represents our willingness to enter into the suffering of humanity – sharing in Christ’s suffering – bringing healing and reconciliation to the brokenness of our world.’

Prayers of Intercession

Lord of all light and truth, mediated through Jesus Christ who became man and made his home among us, we glory in your presence and thank you for all we have received through your grace.

¶The Church of Christ

Grant us, Lord, to recognise more clearly whom we were seeking when you sought us, and whom we found when you found us, so that we discover anew the unfathomable riches of your grace. As we struggle with our failings, help us to become whole and fit for your service. May we so understand you that your Church may reflect your true nature in its relationships with your beloved children, all of whom you have told us are precious and honoured in your sight.

Lord, we offer ourselves to your service: take us and use us as you will; in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, give wisdom to  those who govern us, a sense of justice to those who wield power. May they frame laws that are life-giving, so that the poor and weak may breathe freely. May they defend the cause of the needy and disarm those who would wreak violence on their fellow human beings. Lord of wisdom and justice, hearing the cry of our prayer and knowing the reality of our politics, renew in all of us a thirst for justice. May we cherish the earth and the oceans, teach us the wisdom of restraint, and give us a deep desire for the common good.

Lord, we offer ourselves to your service: take us and use us as you will; in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, there are many in our world like the Magi, who are seekers after spiritual truth but have not yet found you. They are ready to follow a star wherever it may lead. May we find a way, through you, to lead them to a manger in a stable in Bethlehem, so that they may see your glory for themselves and come to worship you.

Lord, we offer ourselves to your service: take us and use us as you will; in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we pray for all those who are in sorrow, pain or distress, particularly at this time of the year when the very happiness of others can make pain and loneliness harder to bear. Be with them, Lord, in their sufferings and help us to bear one another’s burdens in your name. Teach us and show us how to be of practical help, as well as a source of moral support where that is what is needed, even just by our presence.

Lord, we offer ourselves to your service: take us and use us as you will; in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, give rest to your servants now with your saints: where sorrow and pain are no more; neither sighing, but life everlasting. Through your son, Jesus Christ: pain-bearer, life-giver and faithful friend.

Lord, we offer ourselves to your service: take us and use us as you will; in your mercy, hear our prayer

2 comments on this post:

minidvr said...

Thanks Laura

31 December 2013 08:26
Sue said...

Thanks for this. I’ve only used a couple of sentences directly, but it has inspired my intercessions for this morning.

05 January 2014 07:48

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