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Intercessions for Trinity + 12 (Year B) (Proper 16 ): 23 August 2015


The Lord’s Supper Image ID: 2599134 Copyright: fredredhat

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than either we desire or deserve: pour down upon us the  abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of 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 Kings 8.(1,6,10-11)22-30,41-43

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.  Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. He said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand. Therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, “There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.” Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! Have regard to your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; that your eyes may be open night and day towards this house, the place of which you said, “My name shall be there,” that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray towards this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling-place; heed and forgive.  Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name – for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm – when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.’

Psalm 84

Refrain: Blessed are they who dwell in your house.

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! * My soul has a desire and longing to enter the courts of the Lord; my heart & my flesh rejoice in the living God.
The sparrow has found her a house and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young: * at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King & my God.
Blessed are they who dwell in your house: *they will always be praising you. R
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, * in whose heart are the highways to Zion,
Who going through the barren valley find there a spring * and the early rains will clothe it with blessing.
They will go from strength to strength * and appear before God in Zion. R
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; * listen, O God of Jacob.
Behold our defender, O God, * and look upon the face of your anointed.
For one day in your courts * is better than a thousand. R
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God * than dwell in the tents of ungodliness.
For the Lord God is both sun and shield; he will give grace and glory; * no good thing shall the Lord withhold from those who walk with integrity.
O Lord God of hosts, * blessed are those who put their trust in you.

Refrain: Blessed are they who dwell in your house.

Lord God,
sustain us in this vale of tears
with the vision of your grace and glory,
that, strengthened by the bread of life,
we may come to your eternal dwelling place;
in the power of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Second Reading: Ephesians 6.10-20

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

Gospel Reading: John 6.56-69

Jesus said to the crowd: ‘Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’ Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’


The Ven Michael Gilbertson writes in ‘The Ministry Handbook’:

Jesus’ teaching in chapter 6 is extremely challenging (v.60). Many of those who had been following him are scandalized by his claims about himself, and perhaps by the idea of eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Far from backing off, Jesus then heightens the challenge by suggesting that he might subsequently ascend ‘to where he was before’ (v62). For John, Jesus’ glorious return to his Father is inextricably, and paradoxically, linked with his being ‘lifted up’ on the cross. But is the idea of a humiliated, crucified Messiah a blasphemous scandal or the supreme focus of faith? The way the suggestion in verse 62 is left unanswered is deliberate: each person in the crowd and every subsequent reader of the Gospel must fill in their own response to the challenge of Jesus. John shows us two ways of responding to that challenge. Many disciples find Jesus’ teaching unpalatable and drift away (v66). Another will subsequently betray him (v64). In contrast, Peter makes a moving and committed confession of faith in Jesus (vv 68-69). John always describes this choice in stark terms: do we accept Jesus and his offer of external life, or do we reject him? There is no halfway house.

Jane Williams explains this challenging passage through the eyes of Peter (you can find here it on pp 99-100 : search for ‘fool’ ).

And Jeffrey John quotes Augustine of Hippo:

‘I am the living bread which comes down from heaven’…the manna also came down from heaven, but the manna was only a shadow, this is the reality…believers know they are the body of Christ, provided they do not neglect to be the body of Christ. One must be the body of Christ if one is to live by the Spirit of Christ….When you eat this food and drink this wine, they will be transformed into your substance. Equally you will be transformed into the body of Christ, if you live in obedience and faithfulness…You, therefore, begin to receive what you already begin to be’. The Meaning in the Miracles, pp 69-70

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to the Father, who sent his Son to be the saviour of the world.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, as we kneel before you, we do so as a people who understand and emphasise different aspects of what it means to follow you. Some of these ways of understanding you may seem strange, even mistaken, to the rest of us. But we are all your people, and we know you love us all. Help us therefore, day by day, to accept and love each other for your sake,  and to try with all our might to worship you in unity.

Lord, through you all good things are possible: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, as we undergo a great migration of peoples, who find it impossible to live in the land of their birth, help us to be mindful that none of us is an island, complete in itself: we are all a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod of earth is washed away by the sea, Europe is the less – any man’s death diminishes us, because we are involved in mankind. We therefore need never send to know for whom the bell tolls; you have taught us it tolls for each and every one of us.

Lord, through you all good things are possible: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, as we draw strength and inspiration from the daily bread you offer us, help us to build the kingdom of heaven here on earth, with the people who surround us in the here and now, the testing ground for our faith. As we build a human chain to encircle the earth, may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day.

Lord, through you all good things are possible: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we bring before you all those suffering pain, whether of the mind, body or spirit. Help us to bear one another’s burdens, and be a human comfort to each other. Be with them, and be with us all when the wheels of being slow. Teach us patience, and forbearance, and give us hope for the morrow.

Lord, through you all good things are possible: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we give thanks for the lives of the departed….

Comfort those who mourn. And, in the midst of the journey, we glimpse our own end, whose fulfilment is beyond our imagining. **

Merciful Father, accept these prayers …



We have now reached the end of the journey through the lectionary which I began in 2012. If you would like to compare today’s suggestions with those of three years ago, when I picked the theme of ‘putting on the armour of God’, you can do so here. I am writing a post on the lessons I have learnt so far from the exercise, a personal view of intercessionary prayer. I am proposing to continue on my journey, at least for the moment, but where the intercessions for the first series seem adequate, I would hope to add more, for example, for the red-letter days which fall in the middle of the week.

* cf Hosea 2.23

** Based on Jim Cotter’s meditation on Psalm 84.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Post Communion (12th after Trinity) © 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 Collect (12th after Trinity) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

1 comment on this post:

Alison Hardy said...

Just to say how much I am appreciating your insights. I have used the intercessions several times now – sometimes with little amendment and sometimes as starters for my own efforts. I shall look forward to continuing to journey with you. Midweek enhancements are a super idea.

Thank you

22 August 2015 12:22

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