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Intercessions for Epiphany 3 – Year C – series 2 – 24 January 2016


1407 AD Latin Bible in Malmesbury Abbey showing St Peter as part of illuminated ‘P’ (Wikimedia)

The Collect

Almighty God, whose Son revealed in signs and miracles the wonder of your saving presence: renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power; 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: Nehemiah 8.1-3,5-6,8-10

All the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had given to Israel. Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God and all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’

Psalm: 19

Refrain: The commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.

The heavens are telling the glory of God ♦ and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

One day pours out its song to another ♦ and one night unfolds knowledge to another.

They have neither speech nor language ♦ and their voices are not heard,

Yet their sound has gone out into all lands ♦ and their words to the ends of the world.

In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, ♦ that comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber and rejoices as a champion to run his course.

It goes forth from the end of the heavens and runs to the very end again, ♦ and there is nothing hidden from its heat. R

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; ♦ the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the simple.

The statutes of the Lord are right and rejoice the heart; ♦ the commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever; ♦ the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, ♦ sweeter also than honey, dripping from the honeycomb.

By them also is your servant taught ♦ and in keeping them there is great reward. R

Who can tell how often they offend? ♦ O cleanse me from my secret faults!

Keep your servant also from presumptuous sins lest they get dominion over me; ♦ so shall I be undefiled, and innocent of great offence.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, ♦ O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Refrain: The commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12.12-31a

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.

Gospel Reading: Luke 4.14-21

Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

We return to Jane Williams:

The more you read the Bible, the more inescapable is the conclusion that community is basic to any human attempt to understand God. You can get only so far with personal, private knowledge of God. The test of it will come in the way you interact with others. The Corinthians are a very attractive lot, from what we glean about them in Paul’s letters. They are enthusiastic, gifted, clever, determined. But they are infantile in their inability to live together in love (Does that sound anything like a church near you?) This whole section is an impassioned plea for an attempt to think in a completely new way. Instead of thinking always about themselves and their individual needs and rights, instead of always battling to be the most important and gifted person in any gathering, the Corinthians have to learn to think of themselves as one entity, one body, whose health and whose very live depends upon co-operation and connection. And we cannot pretend that that is a lesson we have now learned. And so, finally, to Jesus’ description of his mission. Isn’t it interesting that this declaration of intent is not about teaching us a better spirituality, but about doing God’s justice, and creating God’s community? The Christian body that Paul is pleading for will be recognizable by the way it treats others. To be the body of Christ, we have to do as he did.

Prayers of Intercession

The Church of Christ

Lord, we pray to you for the unity of all Christians everywhere, according to your will. May your Spirit enable us to experience the suffering caused by division, and to hope beyond all hope that the Body of Christ may be healed. Lord of the living word, give us the faith to receive your message, the wisdom to understand it, and the courage to practise it.

Lord, renew us that we may in turn renew the face of the earth: in your mercy, hear our prayer

Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Lord, we pray for all those who speak up for tomorrow’s world: those who work for action on climate change, those who continue to plant trees to renew the soil, those who speak on behalf of endangered species and habitats. and those of us who try, fitfully, to play our part in saving this wonderful world which you have made and on which we are privileged to dwell.

Lord, renew us that we may in turn renew the face of the earth: in your mercy, hear our prayer

The local community

Lord, help us to remember that the world does not revolve around ourselves: when we see no horizon beyond ourselves, when we become our own horizon, our world shrinks to nothing. Endow us with the discernment to recognize the seeds of harshness in our lives and help us to look outwards, to share your love and tenderness with those with whom we live and share our lives, even those we find it hard to warm to. May we be ambassadors for Christ.

Lord, renew us that we may in turn renew the face of the earth: in your mercy, hear our prayer

Those who suffer

Lord, we bring before you all those who are suffering in body, mind or spirit. Grant them relief from their distress, and courage to bear what they must bear. Above all, enfold them in your loving arms so that they may be comforted and encouraged by your presence.

Lord, renew us that we may in turn renew the face of the earth: in your mercy, hear our prayer

The communion of saints

We pray for those who have recently departed this life. May they rest in your love and be renewed and restored by your almighty power. And comfort, we pray, those that mourn them.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers….

Prayer after Communion

Almighty Father,
whose Son our Saviour Jesus Christ is the light of the world:
may your people,
illumined by your word and sacraments,
shine with the radiance of his glory,
that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed
to the ends of the earth;
for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): 1 Corinthians 12.12-31a © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton Post Communion (3rd of Epiphany) © 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 Gospel Acclamation (Epiph. to Eve of Presentation) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)


2 comments on this post:

Dorothy Jones said...

A lesson for us all… hear time and time again !

21 January 2016 14:06
Lay Anglicana said...

Thank-you so much, Dorothy 🙂

21 January 2016 21:52

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