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


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

The Collect

Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new: transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word


First Reading: 1 Samuel 3.1-10 (11-20)

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

Psalm 139.1-5,12-18

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

Second Reading: Revelation 5.1-10

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

Gospel Reading: John 1.43-51

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


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

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


Prayers of Intercession

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

¶The Church of Christ

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

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


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

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

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


¶The local community

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

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


¶Those who suffer

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

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


¶The communion of saints

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


Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Collect (2nd of Epiphany) © 1972 Church of the Province of Southern Africa: Modern Collects Post Communion (2nd of Epiphany) © 1985 General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada: The Book of Alternative Services Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 Gospel Acclamation (Epiph. to Eve of Presentation) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

3 comments on this post:

Don Elliott said...

Thank you for the prayers!

17 January 2015 15:49
monica said...

Hi, I am new to this ste, but was looking for info on intercessions ,at which I feel hopelessly inadequate, and always say the wrong things. Thank you very much for the prayer for today. Our sermon was on hearing Gods still small voice, and I started the intercessions by calling to silence and stillness. I adapted your prayer to our situation using the same headings and format. I was a nervous wreck!!, but had tremendous feedback after the service. So Thank You for putting me on the right track

18 January 2015 09:15
Roger said...

These are very inspiring thoughts and prayers. Thanks very much!

15 January 2017 08:38

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