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Intercessions for Holy Cross Day 14 September 2014

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The Collect

Almighty God, who in the passion of your blessed Son made an instrument of painful death to be for us the means of life and peace: grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ that we may gladly suffer for his sake; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: 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 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:  Philippians 2.6-11

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: John 3.13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus: ‘No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And 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.’


 

Unfortunately, the link to the online ‘look here’ version of A Handbook for Preachers on the Common Worship Lectionary seems to have disappeared, and it is too long to reproduce in full here. If you have your own copy, I recommend you to read pages 424-425, which expound on the readings. On the first reading, from the Book of Numbers, they say:

This strange story is taken up in John 3 as a sort of blueprint, an early sketch of the cross of Christ. The obvious point of comparison is that both the bronze serpent and the crucified Christ were raised up on a stake…Perhaps there is a deeper likeness… the antidote against the snakes’ venom is actually a copy of the source of the trouble. The serpent was an unclean creature for the Jews, and in the creation story it represents the evil and deceit at large in the world. So Moses’ bronze serpent is a picture of eveil, identified with the cause of the very suffering it heals. This corresponds to the biblical description of Jesus, as sent ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin’. Degraded by the humiliation and misery of the cross…he draws the poison of sin and death. Lifted up to die, he lifts his people to into eternal life.

Prayers of Intercession

 Visual Liturgy offers the following by Bishop Michael Perham.

Let us pray to the Father through his Son,
who suffered on the cross for the world’s redemption.
Fill with your Spirit Christ’s broken body, the Church …
Give to Christian people everywhere a deep longing
to take up the cross and to understand its mysterious glory.
By the Saviour’s cross and passion,
Lord, save us and help us.

Bless those who lead the Church’s worship …
In the preaching of the word
and the celebration of the sacraments,
draw your people close to you.
By the Saviour’s cross and passion,
Lord, save us and help us.

Give your grace to those who preach your word to the nations …
Help us to witness to the faith we have received
by our words and in our deeds,
and daily conform us more and more to Christ,
that we may glory in his cross.
By the Saviour’s cross and passion,
Lord, save us and help us.

Look in your mercy upon the world you loved so much
that you sent your Son to suffer and to die …
Strengthen those who work to share
the reconciliation won at such a cost upon the cross.
By the Saviour’s cross and passion,
Lord, save us and help us.

Bring healing by the wounds of Christ
to all who are weighed down by pain and injustice …
Help the lonely and the betrayed, the suffering and the dying,
to find strength in the companionship of Jesus,
and in his passion to know their salvation.
By the Saviour’s cross and passion,
Lord, save us and help us.

Welcome into paradise all who have left this world in
your friendship …
According to your promises,
bring them with all your saints
to share in the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection.
By the Saviour’s cross and passion,
Lord, save us and help us.


Alleluia, alleluia.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

 

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, you raised up your Son on and through the Cross. Help us to understand the Cross also as a metaphor for your Church: from the four corners of the earth, it draws us all to meet you at the centre. Though each part of it may be different, yet it forms a unified whole. And you have shown us how the gallows on which your son died can become for us the tree of life. Lord, for our sake you took the form of a slave: may we too pour out our love with extravagance, that our lives may be fragrant with you.

Lord, give us the strength to take up our own crosses to follow you: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

Lord, in winter your trees provide bare tracery against a flawless sky; then promise of Spring, bursting into leaf; fullness of flower at summer’s height; flowers, fruit and then fulfilment in the autumn fire. Symbol of life and death and resurrection, endlessly repeated, growing to completion. Standing deep-rooted, moving with the wind, offering shelter and strength to all who come, embodying ageless wisdom. Here let us rest and let the silence give us timeless space to grow and to be. 1

Lord, give us the strength to take up our own crosses to follow you: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

O God of the cross, let not our hearts be hardened against the concerns of others. Keep us passionate through our wrestling with your ways so that we are able to pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship or support any friend in order to share the mystery of your great love, known to us through the face of your son.

Lord, give us the strength to take up our own crosses to follow you: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord, your son was called ‘a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’. You raised him up,  on and through the Cross, that many might find healing and wholeness through him.  We pray for the understanding and confidence to place our suffering unreservedly in your hands and the faith to believe that love and light can be shed on the darkness in our world when it is transfigured by your skilled and loving touch.

Lord, give us the strength to take up our own crosses to follow you: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord, you raised up your Son on and through the Cross that we your people might be lifted into eternal life with you . We commend to you all those whom we love and who are now with you in communion with all your saints. May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

Lord, give us the strength to take up our own crosses to follow you: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

1 Inspired by ‘Trees’ by Ann Lewin, from ‘Watching for the Kingfisher
Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA. Intercessions (Holy Cross Day) © Michael Perham Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2002

6 comments on this post:

minidvr said...
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Thanks Laura

layanglicana said...
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Thank-you E – I hope you are are on the same page this week, not the Trinity trail? :>)

12 September 2014 20:24
10 September 2014 18:35
eileen scott said...
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helpful and inspiring

layanglicana said...
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Thank-you so much, Eileen :>)

12 September 2014 20:24
12 September 2014 13:58
Beryl Lovett said...
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Thank you. This has been so helpful as I’m sick this weekend and need to leave a script for the intercessions on the vestry table!

Laura Sykes said...
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On the plus side, that is a relief – on the minus side, the intercessions are quite idiosyncratic – I hope your replacement likes them! :>)

14 September 2014 08:43
14 September 2014 07:26

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