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Rediscovering The Psalms In Our Churches: David Lee


How long, O Lord, will we forget?

We all know the theory. That all scripture is inspired by God for teaching truth and for refuting error, so that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Those of us from evangelical or non-conformist traditions place a very high emphasis on the supremacy of scripture. While most of scripture is basically God speaking his message to us, the Psalms by contrast are the very model of our imperfect message to him: of Christian worship, praise and intercession.

But when we plan our routine weekly service patterns and when we debate our choices of hymnbooks and songbooks for our churches, is our uppermost thought how we can use scripture’s own such resource, the Psalms?

What fraction of our churches today make a conscious effort to sing from the Psalms in some form, any form, in all their variety, on a planned, weekly basis? The typical local church in recent decades seems almost entirely to have let slip their systematic use: an alarming contradiction penetrating right to the heart of the life, worship and mission of our churches, which ought to worry us profoundly.

Why are Psalms no longer regularly sung in today’s churches?

Why do Christians, who love singing hymns and songs, so astonishingly fail to use scripture’s own provision? On those occasions when we do use the Psalms, is not our choice heavily biased towards the “nice” ones, those of obvious and overt praise and worship, the “triumphalistic tendency”? What about those of anguish and despair, which so naturally reflect our human condition? Despite our ideals of theology, our experience is often of the perceived absence of God, a dichotomy which the Psalms directly and realistically acknowledge and address.

In the English language the texts of the Psalms, whatever the translation, are in irregular patterns. They do not marry well with any of the sorts of music we encounter day by day, whose patterns are almost always regular, whether baroque or hard rock, classical or country, symphony or soundtrack.

The Psalms have come down through the ages to us in words-only form. We have no original music. But this is to our advantage: it gives us the opportunity to create a vehicle of direct relevance to our own expressions of praise, despair, frustration and worship. Yet still we try to be “churchy” even with these most human scriptures, the Psalms, wanting organists and chant forms which are respectively unavailable and culturally alien. When the pious-music bathwater has drained away, we find the Psalm baby has gone.

How may the Psalms be recovered in our local churches?

If we are to own the Psalms, we need to root their use firmly in our own cultures. For our western society we therefore need to consider versions of the texts and styles of music that are congruent to our own literature, poetry and theatre and even to magazines, television, cinema and video.

If they are to be recovered as part of our regular, weekly pattern of gathered worship, we need to recognise and respond to their variety. This requires a large number of tunes. It would clearly be a Herculean and impractical task for a small congregation to learn an entire new setting each week, but it is vital that the typical congregation usually take some active part in the Psalm singing.

Most of our churches today are quite small; their musical resources are limited. A responsorial form of psalm singing gives the congregation a short, highly singable and quickly teachable tune as a refrain. The singers and instrumentalists handle the more intricate work of the verses, learned in their regular practices. This form effectively employs the complementary strengths of each party.

The settings given here are specifically intended for the modest resources of the small church, for the average church pianist, organist or guitarist and a singer leading the congregation. Of course much larger resources may be used if available. They are unashamedly biased towards music-group rather than organ and four-part choir. That said, most can be adapted to many styles to suit local resources.


Copyright © David Lee, 1998


David Lee (b. 1956) was brought up in Didsbury, Manchester, and sketched his first hymn-tune while at primary school. He has been active in church music since his early teens, accompanying the local Crusader (now “Urban Saints”) youth group, and playing the piano and organ at All Hallows Church, Cheadle, Cheshire. During summer months in 1975 and 1976, he was Abbey Musician at Iona Abbey, which provided a sharp contrast to, and widened outlook from, his earlier largely conservative-evangelical background.

While an undergraduate at Durham (1975-78) he was a founder of the music team at St. Nicholas Church under its vicar, George Carey. Following a postgraduate year at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (M.Sc., Computing Science) he returned to Durham to work in the University’s Computing Service, and rejoined St. Nicholas where he later became deputy leader of the music group…

…In 1995 the family settled at St. John’s Church, Nevilles Cross, Durham, where these strands and ideas of writing were actively encouraged and began weaving together. In particular these included recovering the psalms (which, worryingly, are almost entirely lost to corporate evangelical and charismatic worship) in ways sympathetic to music-groups and small churches, but still teachable with minimal liturgical intrusion, week by week.

In 1998, he was invited to present a paper Top-down or bottom-up: restoring the balance to the World Church Music Symposium in London, pleading for a recognition of the importance both of the “small church” and also of a range of music for all churches.

Following that, he was invited to join the Durham Diocesan Liturgical Committee music subgroup (and the local RSCM education group) where he is fostering a short course to give “small church” musicians a basic confidence-building grounding in music for worship.

David is a member of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and from 2007 is serving on its executive committee. He was also an early encourager of the Christian Songwriting Organisation email group.

Various periodicals (e.g. Deo magazine, Stainer & Bell’s Worship Live and MWF’s Sing a New Song) take some of his settings from time to time. Recent entries in the St. Paul’s Cathedral Millennium Hymn Competition and RSCM competitions have been highly placed. More formally, he has had tunes published in Stainer & Bell’s Sound Bytes and was among the major contributors to the Methodist Wesley Music for the Millennium project. In 2006, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod published his new tune Elvet Banks in their new hymnal. In 2011 the Methodist Church published four tunes of his tunes in the new Singing the Faith hymn book and in 2012 the combined Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) and Reformed Church in America (RCA) published seven tunes in their Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

“Hell Hath No Fury…” by David Rhodes



Every journalist knows that when it comes to a news story, you need to put the punchy stuff in the first sentence. To grab people’s attention.


One paper used to have a big poster on the wall of its newsroom that said: Who The Hell Reads The Second Paragraph?


If he hadn’t had other plans, the 14th century poet Dante would have been a good newsman. His epic poem The Commedia starts with a bang. Lost in a dark wood, the hero is suddenly confronted by a lion, a leopard and then by a hungry wolf.


This alarming scene is rapidly followed by a terrifying journey down into the bowels of Hell. Not surprisingly, the book was a bestseller. And still is.


The last part of Dante’s poem is about Heaven. But nobody reads that bit. It’s dull. After the burning fires of Hell and the shrieks of the damned, anything would seem dull.


Ask most Christians to describe Hell and they would be able to come up with some pretty stark imagery. Ask them to describe Heaven, and they would be struggling to get beyond harps and fluffy clouds.


The Church realised early on that the stick of Hell was much more effective than the carrot of Heaven when it came to encouraging people to live good lives. And encouraging them to go to church.


In fact Hell was an excellent way of making people conform to all sorts of things. It was a political tool, as well as a theological image. People in power loved it.


Occasional mentions in the Bible of the ‘wrath’ of God were all that was needed to give Hell the scriptural seal of approval. The Ten Commandments suddenly had an invisible ‘or else’ stuck on the end: in block capitals.


The trouble is that the idea of Hell doesn’t work if you listen to what Jesus seems to have been saying. The father of the prodigal son was expected to be furious with the boy when he came home in disgrace. Yet the Jesus story shows the love and forgiveness of the father as unconditional.


On one occasion, Jesus is asked how many times his followers are to forgive someone who offends against them. Not seven times, but seventy times seven, Jesus says with a smile. Just keep doing it.


What do we do about our enemies, they asked him. And in first century Palestine the poor and oppressed had lots of enemies. Love them, Jesus says. Seek their well-being.


So if we are supposed to love unconditionally and forgive seventy times seven, how is it that we are going to burn in the fires of everlasting Hell for a couple of sins we may have commit here on earth? Where then is God’s forgiveness?


It doesn’t stack up. You can’t have a loving God and Hell. God so loved the world that he sent us his son, we are told. It defies all reason that He was simultaneously stoking up the furnaces of Hell for the moment any of us stepped out of line.


But what about crime? Violent crime? What about punishment for that? And in truth we do have an instinct that says that people should be punished when they do serious wrong.


But how do we square that instinct for punishment (or is it revenge) with a loving God? What, for example, if an extremely wicked man died and found himself at the gates of Heaven. What would happen to him?


The book Finding Mr Goldman presents us with exactly that scenario.


Instead of being cast down into the burning lakes of Hell when he dies, Mr Goldman finds his life of greed and violence is laid bare before him. In the company of an untidy but likeable tramp who bears a striking resemblance to Jesus, Goldman sets out on an impossible quest to save his soul.


Day by day he encounters people whose lives he has destroyed. He has a growing realisation of the terrible things he has done. But, for some strange reason, the tramp does not seem unduly concerned about it.


Eventually Goldman is confronted by the shattering reality of Hell and realises that all is lost. It is only then, when all hope has gone, that he discovers the depth of God’s love.


Can Goldman be redeemed? Perhaps so. But in the last pages of the book, he meets someone else who has committed even greater evil. A holocaust of suffering and death as bad as anything the world has known. Can that man enter heaven?


‘No,’ says the man, ‘I could not bear the pain.’


‘The pain of your punishment?’ asks Goldman.


‘Of my forgiveness,’ says the man.


How the book ends is a mystery. But it ends in laughter. With a cat called Florence, a poet, a reunion, and a very fine horse. With a much noisier and more boisterous image of Heaven than we might imagine. And a very unexpected encounter with our Maker.


Perhaps Dante would have been better off with the Goldman version of events than his own?




© David Rhodes

Finding Mr Goldman (SPCK) is written by David Rhodes, a former newspaper journalist and parish priest. He also developed the innovative inner city Retreats on the Streets in Leeds. His work for social justice alongside homeless and vulnerable people led to a number of successful books including The Advent Adventure, Sparrow Story and Faith in Dark Places (all published by SPCK). David tweets @RhodesWriter and blogs at




This is in the nature of an experiment, the first time I have asked an author to review his or her own book. But, as a writer myself, I know what it is like to see reviewers and publishers blurbs do their best to give a fair account of what the book is meant to be all about, but I have often found myself wishing that I could write my own.
I did not pick this quite out of thin air – I already follow David Rhodes on twitter. And two writers I particularly admire had already given enthusiastic reviews:


‘A vivid parable of false riches and ultimate redemption. This sparklingly well-written fiction entertains unerringly at the front door while the truth slips in at the window.’

Adrian Plass


‘Fresh, witty, fabulously economical and with acute and wise observations. I just wanted to read on and on.’

Janet Morley

I have ordered my copy, and will add to this if I can when I have had a chance to read it. Meanwhile, you may like to read it?

Intercessions for Epiphany 4 – Year C – 31 January 2016


Shutterstock Image ID:359288114 Copyright: design36

Intercessions for the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas) can be found here

The Collect

God our creator, who in the beginning commanded the light to shine out of darkness: we pray that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ may dispel the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, shine into the hearts of all your people, and reveal the knowledge of your glory in the face 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: Ezekiel 43.27-44.4

The Lord said to Ezekiel: ‘When these days are over, then from the eighth day onward the priests shall offer upon the altar your burnt offerings and your offerings of well-being; and I will accept you, says the Lord God.’ Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east: and it was shut. The Lord said to me: This gate shall remain shut: it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince, because he is a prince, may sit in it to eat food before the Lord: he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate and shall go out by the same way. Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; and I looked, and lo! the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord: and I fell upon my face.

Psalm 48

Refrain: We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God.

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised, ♦ in the city of our God.

His holy mountain is fair and lifted high, ♦ the joy of all the earth.

On Mount Zion, the divine dwelling place, ♦ stands the city of the great king.

In her palaces God has shown himself ♦ to be a sure refuge. R

For behold, the kings of the earth assembled ♦ and swept forward together.

They saw, and were dumbfounded; ♦ dismayed, they fled in terror.

Trembling seized them there; they writhed like a woman in labour, ♦ as when the east wind shatters the ships of Tarshish.

As we had heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, the city of our God: ♦ God has established her for ever. R

We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God, ♦ in the midst of your temple.

As with your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; ♦ your right hand is full of justice.

Let Mount Zion rejoice and the daughters of Judah be glad, ♦ because of your judgements, O Lord.

Walk about Zion and go round about her; count all her towers; ♦ consider well her bulwarks; pass through her citadels,

That you may tell those who come after that such is our God for ever and ever. ♦ It is he that shall be our guide for evermore.

Refrain: We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God.

Father of lights,
raise us with Christ to your eternal city,
that, with kings and nations,
we may wait in the midst of your temple
and see your glory for ever and ever.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 13.1-13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Gospel Reading: Luke 2.22-40

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons”. Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Prayers of Intercession

The Church of Christ

Lord, as we draw a circle around those in the Church who think like us,* help us widen the circle to encompass through your love also those who think differently. Let us not become so engrossed in the finer points of doctrine that we forget your command to love you with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, with all our strength, and our neighbours as ourselves.

Knowing we shall see you face to face, Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Lord, forgive the imperfections of our human vision and help us to see your Truth more clearly, and then to act accordingly. Where the victims of war and famine stand at our gates, helplessly asking for our mercy, let not our hearts be hardened against them. Inspire our leaders with the knowledge of how they can help, and give them the courage to do so, in our name.

Knowing we shall see you face to face, Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

The local community

Lord, set us on fire with the power of your love, and burn from us all that dims your light. Kindle, we pray, an answering flame in the lives of those around us, that darkness may be driven back and glory stream into this world, transforming it with your love.

Knowing we shall see you face to face, Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Those who suffer

We pray for all those who are struggling in their lives. Bring them hope of an end to their sufferings, and a resolution of their difficulties. Show us the best way to help those who suffer, without being intrusive but without simply turning away from their pain either. Give us sensitivity and a sense of timing as we seek to reflect your love to them.

Knowing we shall see you face to face, Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

The communion of saints

We remember those who have departed this life….

We give thanks for the love that brings life out of death; grant to those on another shore the perfect sight of your everlasting glory.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers….

*Based on the poem by Edwin Markham (1852-1940):

He drew a circle that shut me out–
Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!

Prayer after Communion

Generous Lord,
in word and eucharist we have proclaimed the mystery of your love:
help us so to live out our days
that we may be signs of your wonders in the world;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.



Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Luke 2.22-40 © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton Collect (4th of Epiphany) © 1980, 1986 Mowbray, a Cassell Imprint: Prayers for the Alternative Services comp. David Silk 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)

Intercessions for Advent 2 – Year C – 6 December 2015 series 2



O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Baruch 5.1-9

Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God. Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting; for God will show your splendour everywhere under heaven. For God will give you evermore the name, ‘Righteous Peace, Godly Glory’.  Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look towards the east, and see your children gathered from west and east at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them. For they went out from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried in glory, as on a royal throne. For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God’s command. For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.


Malachi 3.1-4

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.


Psalm (Canticle): Luke 1.68-79 (Benedictus)

Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, ♦ who has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour, ♦ born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets God promised of old ♦ to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all that hate us,
To show mercy to our ancestors, ♦ and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham: ♦ to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear, ♦ holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, ♦ for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation ♦ by the forgiveness of all their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God ♦ the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, ♦ and to guide our feet into the way of peace.


Second Reading: Philippians 1.3-11

 I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s gracewith me, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.


Gospel Reading: Luke 3.1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” ’

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to the Lord for the word of salvation to be made known to all people.

 ¶The Church of Christ

Lord, as we prepare for the coming of the Christ child, help us to divest ourselves of the curlicues of our faith, the desire to gild the lily, already perfect in its simplicity. At the Nativity, we may take up the adornments once more, one by one, but help us for a season to leave to one side the weighing of theological argument and the complexities of doctrine which we love to ponder. Let us instead explore inwards as we once more confront the astounding core of our belief: that you were made man in Palestine, and live today in bread and wine.

Lord, who sent us the light of the world to enlighten our lives, in your mercy, hear our prayer


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

Lord, you know we are engaged in a struggle to prevent the world from tearing itself apart, particularly in the Middle East. Guide, we beseech you, those who now hope to use the weapons of war to forge a lasting peace among the nations. May your dawn from on high break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of Peace.

Lord, who sent us the light of the world to enlighten our lives, in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, we thank you for those around us who make us feel more alive. We thank you for those who offer us companionship and affection, and are a real blessing to us. May we hold them in your loving care and be a blessing to them in return.

Lord, who sent us the light of the world to enlighten our lives, in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, our healer, whose mercy is like a refining fire, use our sufferings, if you will, to refine our bodies and minds so that we may emerge purified and restored to health. And then, being first challenged and then comforted by you, may we in our turn then reach out to a troubled world.

Lord, who sent us the light of the world to enlighten our lives, in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

We pray for all those whom we have loved, and who have now departed this life. We pray for all those who sacrifice themselves in the service of others. May they all rest in peace and rise in glory to be with you in the Eternal Kingdom.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

Prayer after Communion

Father in heaven,
who sent your Son to redeem the world
and will send him again to be our judge:
give us grace so to imitate him
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that, when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him
with joyful love and firm faith;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Philippians 1.3-11 © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton Post Communion (2nd of Advent) © 1980, 1986 Mowbray, a Cassell Imprint: Prayers for the Alternative Services comp. David Silk Invitation to Confession (1st Sun. of Advent to Christmas Eve) © 1988 Continuum (Mowbray)  Adapted) 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 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2002 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for First Sunday of Advent – Year C – 29 November 2015 – series 2


The Collect

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; that on the last day,  when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him 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: Jeremiah 33.14-16

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

Psalm 25.1-9

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; O my God, in you I trust; * let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies triumph over me.
Let none who look to you be put to shame, * but let the treacherous be shamed and frustrated.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord, * and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, * for you are the God of my salvation; for you have I hoped all the day long.
Remember, Lord, your compassion and love, * for they are from everlasting.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions, * but think on me in your goodness, O Lord, according to your steadfast love.
Gracious and upright is the Lord; * therefore shall he teach sinners in the way.
He will guide the humble in doing right * and teach his way to the lowly.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth * to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3.9-13

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Gospel Reading: Luke 21.25-36

Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia.

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’ Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’

Prayers of Intercession

Visual Liturgy offers:

In joyful expectation of his coming to our aid, we pray to Jesus.

Come to your Church as Lord and judge. We pray for … Help us to live in the light of your coming and give us a longing for your kingdom.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to your world as King of the nations. We pray for … Before you rulers will stand in silence.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to the suffering as Saviour and comforter. We pray for … Break into our lives, where we struggle with sickness and distress, and set us free to serve you for ever.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to us as shepherd & guardian of our souls. We remember … Give us with all the faithful departed a share in your victory over evil & death.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come from heaven, Lord Jesus, with power and great glory. Lift us up to meet you, that with [N and] all your saints and angels we may live and reign with you in your new creation.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come, Lord Jesus, do not delay; give new courage to your people, who trust in your love. By your coming, raise us to share in the joy of your kingdom on earth as in heaven, where you live and reign with the Father and the Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

As we are starting a new year, and hence a new Jane Williams book, I am allowing myself a fairly full extract:

Advent Sunday 1Advent 2The point about Advent is to learn about God, so that we recognize him when he comes…. And the RSCM adds: ‘In the midst of all this distress, fear, and global confusion, Jesus’ exhortation to his followers to stand upright and raise their heads is striking. The warning rings true though: if our eyes are constantly earth-bound, not only will our hearts be dragged down, but our patterns of living will be too. Luke’s message is clear: keep your eyes on the Son of Man and you will have nothing to fear.’

As we look for the coming of the Kingdom, let us pray to the Lord.

¶The Church of Christ

O Lord God, the Wind of your Holy Spirit blows through the trees, shorn of their leaves, as it blows holes in our defences and lays bare our fear. Come, Lord, and fill us with life anew. Breathe on us till we are wholly yours, until this earthly part of us glows with your divine fire. And then send us out into the world, renewed by the birth of your Son, to proclaim your Kingdom!

Lord, we fix our eyes on you, only you: in your mercy, hear our prayer


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

Lord, we are creatures of this world as well as of the next. We are in the midst of wars and tumults; we have despoiled our green and life-giving planet; and we fear that these may be the end times. Yet the world demands we spend the solemn fast of Advent in preparing a great feast of food and gifts. Help us, in the midst of these distracting demands for our attention, to focus on the Christ child and the miracle that changed everything, the Incarnation.

Lord, we fix our eyes on you, only you: in your mercy, hear our prayer


¶The local community

Lord, fill our homes with your light and love. Help us to reach out to each other and share what we have, while being sensitive to their needs. Teach us how to share our joy at the wonder of what is to come, and teach us how to give so that it imposes no sense of obligation on the recipient.

Lord, we fix our eyes on you, only you: in your mercy, hear our prayer


¶Those who suffer

Lord, we pray for all who suffer pain, whether in mind, body or spirit. We pray for all those who fall ill at this season, and for the hospitals and others who care for them. We pray for all those who find Advent and Christmas a difficult time to be alone, perhaps remembering those who are no longer here to share it. We pray for all those on the move from the Middle East and Africa, who now sleep out in the cold.

Lord, we fix our eyes on you, only you: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for the departed, whose fellowship is now complete in you. As they leave behind this earthly plane, grant them everlasting salvation with you.


Merciful Father, accept these prayers….

Prayer after Communion

O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we await the coming of your Son our Lord; that, when he shall appear, he may not find us sleeping in sin but active in his service and joyful in his praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Invitation to Confession (1st Sun. of Advent to Christmas Eve) © 1988  Continuum (Mowbray) (Adapted) 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 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2002 Blessing (1st Sun. of Advent until Christmas Eve) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662),/sup>

Intercessions for Trinity +14 – Proper 18 – Year B – 6 September 2015 Series 2


Image ID: 65929720 Copyright: Air0ne via Shutterstock

The Collect

Almighty God, whose only Son has opened for us a new and living way into your presence: give us pure hearts and steadfast wills to worship you in spirit and in truth; 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.

First Reading: Proverbs 22.1-2,8-9,22-23

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favour is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all. Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of anger will fail. Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor. Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate; for the Lord pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them.

Psalm 125

Refrain: Glorious things are spoken of you, Zion, city of our God.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, * which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever.
As the hills stand about Jerusalem, * so the Lord stands round about his people, from this time forth for evermore.
The sceptre of wickedness shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the righteous, * lest the righteous turn their hands to evil.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, * and to those who are true of heart.
Those who turn aside to crooked ways the Lord shall take away with the evildoers; * but let there be peace upon Israel.

Refrain: Glorious things are spoken of you, Zion, city of our God.

God of power,
you are strong to save
and you never fail those who trust in you;
keep us under your protection
and spread abroad your reign of peace
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Second Reading: James 2.1-10(11-13)14-17

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?  For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please,’ while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there,’ or, ‘Sit at my feet,’ have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you? You do well if you really fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgement will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgement. What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.


Gospel Reading: Mark 7.24-37

Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go – the demon has left your daughter.’ So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’

The two miracles dealt with in short order by Mark in today’s reading are analysed best by Jeffrey John in ‘The Meaning of the Miracles‘ (pp 111-118 for the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, and its troubling references to dogs and Gentiles [search ‘dogs’]and 119-128 for Ephphatha and ‘be opened’). You can find Jane Williams here : search ‘Eeyore’.


Prayers of Intercession


Lord, open our lives to your goodness.
Open our eyes to your presence.
Open our ears to your call.
Open our hearts to your love
Open our lips to your praises
And open us to your glory. (David Adam)

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, look down on your Church in all its messy humanity. We thank you for the moments of transcendence which inspire us to continue along our pilgrim journey together as the Body of Christ. And we ask your forgiveness for the moments when we seem lost in a maze of disagreement about form and function. Hasten the day, we beseech you, of the New Jerusalem, when we shall all rejoice together to be branches of one vine and sheep of one fold.

Lord, open our lips to praise you and our lives to your service: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight. Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may…love the common good and care for this world in which we live. Lord, seize us with your power and light. Help us to protect all life to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your kingdom of justice and peace, love and beauty.*

Lord, open our lips to praise you and our lives to your service: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, open our hearts to those we live amongst so that we may be loving and giving, building our community together. And then make us a gift to others in your name. We thank you for the modern miracle that is happening as people whose lives have been destroyed by war seek shelter amongst us. While governments wring their hands, the people of Europe in their hundreds and thousands, Christians and Muslims, Hindus and Jews, are feeding and clothing those who have nothing left but their humanity. May their efforts be perpetually replenished like the loaves and fishes.

Lord, open our lips to praise you and our lives to your service: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, we know that your greatest gift to those who suffer in body, mind or spirit is simply your presence. Help those in pain to feel your closeness and to draw strength and comfort from it. Help them to undergo what must be undergone, and give them the gift of hope for the morrow, knowing that underneath are your everlasting arms.

Lord, open our lips to praise you and our lives to your service: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for all those who have departed this life, and for those who mourn their passing. May they rest in peace and rise in glory. And may we in due time join them in the feast of eternal life in your presence.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers …

* From the Prayer for the Care of Creation, part of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si. September 1st was the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Promulgated by the Church of England.

Prayer after Communion

Lord God, the source of truth and love,
keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,
united in prayer and the breaking of bread,
and one in joy and simplicity of heart,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.


These are the intercessions which I proposed for this Sunday in 2012:


 The Church

Grant to your whole Church grace to show true faith through works of love and mercy. Help us to strengthen the bonds of the Anglican Communion, with those that have sharing with those who have less, while bearing in mind that those who have more money are not necessarily those with greater grace. Take away all prejudice that causes unequal treatment, especially among the autistic and others that feel marginalised by the Church. (Chapman, slightly tweaked)

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Nation

God of the nations, all authority is yours. You touch the hearts of rich and poor alike. As the Paralympic Games end today, we ask you to keep in the minds of those in authority the courage and dignity of those who took part, and the stirring of the hearts of the spectators around the world. May the lessons learned live on as compassion is increased, and the good of all becomes our common aim.

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Community

Lord, teach us to be generous as you have been generous with us. Show us the truth of the saying: ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ . Help us to understand that others, perhaps unknown to us, depend on us for help. Remind us that our world, our parish, need “Good Samaritans” to heal the wounds of our community. In these times of economic hardship, we pray for the food banks that have sprung up – may they be perpetually replenished like the loaves and fishes. Lord, make us a gift to others in your name.

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Sick and the Suffering

Lord, who invited all who carry heavy burdens to come to you, refresh us with your presence and your power. Quiet our understandings and give ease to our hearts by bringing us close to things infinite and eternal. Open to us the mind of God so that through his light we may see light. And crown your choice of us to be your servants by making us springs of strength and joy to all whom we serve. (Evelyn Underhill, tweaked)

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Departed and the Dying

Lord, let us learn to be open to the night.

Let us pray with open hands, not with clenched fists. (Lord Dunsany)

Father of all mercies and giver of all comfort: Deal graciously, we pray, with those who mourn, that casting their care on you, they may know the consolation of your love.

We remember before you the whole company of saints, and pray for our loved ones departed. (David Adam)

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Intercessions for Trinity + 8 (Proper 12) Year B: 26 July 2015


The Collect

Almighty Lord and everlasting God, we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern both our hearts and bodies in the ways of your laws and the works of your  commandments; that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 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: 2 Samuel 11.1-15

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.  It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, ‘This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant.’  So David sent word to Joab, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house, and wash your feet.’ Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, ‘Uriah did not go down to his house,’ David said to Uriah, ‘You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?’ Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.’ Then David said to Uriah, ‘Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.’ So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.  In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, ‘Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.’

Psalm 14

Refrain: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ * Corrupt are they, and abominable in their wickedness; there is no one that does good.
The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the children of earth, * to see if there is anyone who is wise and seeks after God.
But every one has turned back; all alike have become corrupt: * there is none that does good; no, not one. R
Have they no knowledge, those evildoers, * who eat up my people as if they ate bread and do not call upon the Lord?
There shall they be in great fear; * for God is in the company of the righteous.
Though they would confound the counsel of the poor, * yet the Lord shall be their refuge.
O that Israel’s salvation would come out of Zion! * When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, then will Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

Refrain: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

God of heaven,
look with mercy on all who are consumed
by ignorance and greed,
and let the children of earth know
that you are God for ever.

Second Reading: Ephesians 3.14-21

I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Reading: John 6.1-21

Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Jesus, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’ When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.  When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.

The gospel reading today describes probably the best known of all the miracles. One reason for that is that there are accounts of the feeding of the 5,000 in each gospel (Mark 6.30-44, Matthew 14.13-21, Luke 9.12-17 and John 6.1-21). And two more descriptions of the feeding of the 4,000 (Mark 8.1-9 and Matthew 15.32-38). The best commentary I know is by Jeffrey John in ‘The Meaning in the Miracles’ (pp 60-70). You can see the text of Jane Williams here (pp 89-90, search ‘pressure’).

Gerard Kelly, in ‘Twitturgies‘ (week 29) has an interesting reflection on bread, for which he suggests you read Philippians 2.17. “Christians think of bread and wine in terms of receiving. The Eucharist is central to our faith: Christ’s body is broken and given to us. We are on the receiving end of love. But elsewhere we are described as the body of Christ. Henri Nouwen points out an often-hidden meaning of this name. Are we, as Christ’s body, broken and given to the world? Does our imitation of Christ stretch to this ultimate act of self-giving? Are we bread in the hands of God to be broken and shared with the hungry, wine to be poured out? Nouwen suggests that we are and that the act of being broken, being poured out, being shared is the true meaning of our faith. Paul describes his life as ‘poured out as an offering’. Will yours be?”

This is the first of several weeks in the lectionary on the subject of the bread of life. So we need to pace ourselves. The particular feature of this gospel reading is perhaps the boy, whose lunch is shared with this vast throng. Does he represent all those who have promised to follow Christ, ‘bread in the hands of God to be broken and shared with the hungry’ as Nouwen writes?

Or, linking with the passage from Ephesians, does the boy represent each one of us, unique to God amongst the throng? Here is Jane Williams:


Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

O Lord our God, we have promised to serve you to the end, knowing that the food that we eat, all that we have, comes from you.  Today we vow to follow that child who gave all that he had to eat that day, so that with five rolls and two fish a vast multitude might be fed. Today we offer ourselves to you, just as we are, to be taken, blessed, broken and given in your name. May it be so.

Lord, work in us so that we may be changed: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

Lord, we pray for those in authority who have been overcome by the web of greed and corruption. May their hearts look beyond themselves once more and be softened by compunction and grief. God of true wealth, draw us all through the narrow gate of loss.

Lord, work in us so that we may be changed: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, we ask that through you we may be of service to our neighbour. But give us also the humility to realise that we, too, need to accept your grace through those we live amongst. We stand united, looking in the same direction towards Christ, and we help one another along the road to salvation. Some may do the carrying, others may be carried, but we follow the same path and give glory to you by our journeying. *

Lord, work in us so that we may be changed: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

Lord, there are times when we feel we are at the limits of our coping.  We know that the Christ who hangs on the cross with us shares our pain. Being pushed to the limit takes us to the edge of eternity, makes us tremble on the brink of your infinite mystery, where we live by faith — our faith in you, and even more astonishing, your faith in us.**

Lord, work in us so that we may be changed: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for all those that have died, that the love of Christ  will gather them into the fellowship of the saints…

May they rejoice in your heavenly feast, where he presides for ever.

Lord, work in us so that we may be changed: in your mercy, hear our prayer.

* Based on Dame Catherine Wybourne’s post Pilgrimage to St Winefride’s Well.

** Ibid, ‘Pushed to the Limit’

Prayer after Communion

Strengthen for service, Lord,
the hands that have taken holy things;
may the ears which have heard your word
be deaf to clamour and dispute;
may the tongues which have sung your praise
be free from deceit;
may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love
shine with the light of hope;
and may the bodies which have been fed with your body
be refreshed with the fullness of your life;
glory to you for ever.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): 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 (8th after Trinity) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for Trinity +6 (Proper 10) Year B – 12 July 2015


by Benjamin Haas via Shutterstock

The Collect

Merciful God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as pass our understanding: pour into our hearts such love toward you that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: 2 Samuel 6.1-5,12b-19

David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. David and all the people with him set out and went from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned on the cherubim. They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart with the ark of God; and Ahio went in front of the ark. David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes.

Psalm 24

Refrain: The Lord of hosts: he is the King of glory.

The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it, * the compass of the world and all who dwell therein.
For he has founded it upon the seas * and set it firm upon the rivers of the deep. R
‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, * or who can rise up in his holy place?’
‘Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, * who have not lifted up their soul to an idol, nor sworn an oath to a lie;
‘They shall receive a blessing from the Lord, * a just reward from the God of their salvation.’
Such is the company of those who seek him, * of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob. R
Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; *and the King of glory shall come in.
‘Who is the King of glory?’ * ‘The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord who is mighty in battle.’
Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; *and the King of glory shall come in.
‘Who is this King of glory?’ * ‘The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.’

Refrain: The Lord of hosts: he is the King of glory.

O Lord of hosts,
purify our hearts
that the King of glory may come in,
your Son, Jesus our redeemer.

Second Reading: Ephesians 1.3-14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people to the praise of his glory.

Gospel Reading: Mark 6.14-29

King Herod heard of the healings and other miracles, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’  For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptizer on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Jane Williams’ commentary for today (pp 88-89) is good (search ‘cosmic’)

‘Christianity is not, at its heart, about living a good and decent life. It is about living the life we were created for, in tune with the God who made us. That is why Christians are right to agonize over the way our lives bear witness to the God we seek and serve…We are designed to be part of the ceaseless flow of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Christians, then, live as people who know God’s plan for the world. We know that God has made us to be part of his glorious life and love. ..To praise and glorify God, and to live in the truthful knowledge of the overriding purposes of God, will not necessarily make our lives easy.”

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, set on fire the hearts of all those that worship you! We come before you in beautiful surroundings, some of great antiquity, which speak to us of hundreds of years of continuous praise and give us a sense of permanence,  always there, always changeless. But we know in our heart of hearts that the ‘abiding city’ **  is not here but in the life to come. In the here and now, you ask us to blaze with your love so that the whole world may catch fire with your joy.

For you are the king of glory, O Lord: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

For the night skies opening outwards, star upon star, expanse after expanse, thanks be to you, O Lord. For the mystery of your presence in and beyond all that can be seen, thanks be to you. * For the music of the spheres, for the cosmic dance in which you invite us to join with King David, thanks be to you. For your grace, which shows us your glory even in the foothills of faith, thanks be to you.

For you are the king of glory, O Lord: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, we thank you for all those who speak out on behalf of the communities to which they belong. Bless all those we live amongst and grant that we may truly behave like members one of another, supporting the weak and helping the afflicted while rejoicing in the shared reflection of that joy we know from our fellowship with you.

For you are the king of glory, O Lord: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord of life, we ask for the gift of courage: bind us in the fellowship of those who take the cup of necessary suffering, and drink from it. Hear the prayer of those who cry out in pain and those who cry out in fear; those who cry out in grief and those who cry out in despair; those who cry out to you to forgive because they can not; and those whose cries are inward and unheard. Pour upon their wounds the healing balm of your mercy.

For you are the king of glory, O Lord: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, inspire us with the courage and fidelity of John the Baptist. We pray for all those who at this time are facing persecution and death because of their Christian faith. Bring all those who have died to the joy of your heavenly kingdom, and comfort those who mourn their passing.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

The illustration at the head of this piece perhaps needs some explanation. I was looking for something which would remind us of the glory of God (the theme of most of the readings), with our only possible response being worship and adoration. But I also wanted to hint at the danger such adoration may lead us into – as C S Lewis famously said, Aslan ‘is not a tame lion, you know’.

*based on Celtic Benediction, J. Philip Newell

** For here have we no abiding city, but we seek one to come. Hebrews 13:14

Prayer after Communion

God of our pilgrimage,
you have led us to the living water:
refresh and sustain us
as we go forward on our journey,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Post Communion (6th 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 (6th after Trinity, Short) © The Archbishops’ Council 2005

Intercessions for Trinity + 4 (Proper 8 ) Year B: 28 June 2015


Raising of Jairus’s daughter, Cathedral of Monreale, Palermo 12th c


The Collect

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that with you as our ruler and guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not our hold on things eternal; grant this, heavenly Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s 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: 2 Samuel 1.1,17-27

After the death of Saul, when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. David intoned this lamentation over Saul and his son Jonathan. (He ordered that The Song of the Bow be taught to the people of Judah; it is written in the Book of Jashar.) He said: Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places! How the mighty have fallen! Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon; or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. You mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain upon you, nor bounteous fields! For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, nor the sword of Saul return empty. Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you with crimson, in luxury, who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan lies slain upon your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

Psalm 130

Out of the depths have I cried to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice; * let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to mark what is done amiss, * O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you, * so that you shall be feared.
I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; * in his word is my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord, more than the night watch for the morning, * more than the night watch for the morning.
O Israel, wait for the Lord, *for with the Lord there is mercy;
With him is plenteous redemption *and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 8.7-15

You excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you – so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something – now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has – not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written, ‘The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.’

Gospel Reading: Mark 5.21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?”’ He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’ While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum,’ which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

The RSCM has “We don’t want to be a nuisance to anyone, least of all to God. So we don’t bring him all our wants and desires, fears and woes. Yet here is Jesus on an urgent mercy mission, being interrupted by a woman with a need which she hardly likes to bother him with, touching just the hem of his garment. And our God stops to give her his full attention. It’s not an interruption for him.

You can read Jane Williams here, by searching for ‘Jairus’ (pp84-5). She carries on the RSCM’s point: ” Don’t be afraid, Jesus says.  God’s love is not that small. There is enough for the woman and for [Jairus’s] daughter. There is enough for all.”

This is just as well, because our psalmist this week is writing ‘de profundis’, from the depths of despair. But he has confidence in God’s mercy and forgiveness, and waits in the darkness with hope for the new dawn.

Prayers of Intercession

We pray in the name of Christ, by whom we are raised to new life.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, look in your mercy on your Church. Our hope lies in your word and we draw strength from you and from each other as we gather to worship you. Heal your Church, both the wounds of the past and those we inflict on each other in the present. Heal the dissensions which divide us from one another, and bring us into unity of love in you, so that we may reach out to a troubled world in your name.

Lord, make us whole that we may do your will: in your mercy, hear our prayer.


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

Lord, in a world whose web of life is intricate and beautiful, save us from carelessness and blindness. In a world whose creatures are so varied and so vulnerable, save us from wanton plundering. In a world whose oceans should cleanse the earth, save us from absent-minded pollution. In a world whose forests protect the very air that we breathe, save us from the urge to destroy them in the name of profit. In a world whose fruits are rich and plentiful, save us from waste and greed. *

Lord, make us whole that we may do your will: in your mercy, hear our prayer.


¶The local community

Lord, you have given to us in abundance: may we share that abundance with those whom we live amongst. Help us to overcome all that divides us, and to build up all that makes for the common good. When new ventures are struggling to survive, we ask you to breathe on them your life-giving oxygen, and water them with your living water so that they may be brought to thrive.

Lord, make us whole that we may do your will: in your mercy, hear our prayer.


¶Those who suffer

Lord, we bring before you all those who are empty, exhausted or in anguish. All those who feel themselves alone, marooned in a bleak wasteland, and unable to see a brighter horizon. Like  watchmen waiting for the morning, they hope for the dawn. Pour on them, we pray, your healing grace, so they may feel the reality of your compassion and love and  begin once more to hope in the possibilities of the new day.

Lord, make us whole that we may do your will: in your mercy, hear our prayer.


¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for the souls of all that have recently died. Comfort all those whom they loved, and were loved by in return. And may the departed arise to life eternal in you.


Merciful Father, accept these prayers…


Prayer after Communion

Eternal God,
comfort of the afflicted and healer of the broken,
you have fed us at the table of life and hope:
teach us the ways of gentleness and peace,
that all the world may acknowledge
the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


* Based on prayer 877 by Angela Ashwin in her Book of a Thousand Prayers

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Post Communion (4th after Trinity) © 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 Collect (4th after Trinity) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for Trinity + 3 (Proper 7) Year B: 21 June 2015


Calming the storm, Hitda-Codex, 11th century via Commons Wikimedia

The Collect

Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father: give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service, that we and all creation may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God; 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 17.(1a,4-11,19-23)32-49

The Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Socoh in Judah.  A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armour of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield-bearer went ahead of him. Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to the camp. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.” Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. David said to Saul, “Let no-one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armour on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield-bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly towards the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

Psalm 9.9-20

Then will the Lord be a refuge for the oppressed, * a refuge in the time of trouble.
And those who know your name will put their trust in you, * for you, Lord, have never failed those who seek you.
Sing praises to the Lord who dwells in Zion; * declare among the peoples the things he has done.
The avenger of blood has remembered them; * he did not forget the cry of the oppressed.
Have mercy upon me, O Lord; * consider the trouble I suffer from those who hate me, you that lift me up from the gates of death;
That I may tell all your praises in the gates of the city of Zion * and rejoice in your salvation.
The nations shall sink into the pit of their making * and in the snare which they set will their own foot be taken.
The Lord makes himself known by his acts of justice; * the wicked are snared in the works of their own hands.
They shall return to the land of darkness, * all the nations that forget God.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten * and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.
Arise, O Lord, and let not mortals have the upper hand; * let the nations be judged before your face.
Put them in fear, O Lord, * that the nations may know themselves to be but mortal.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 6.1-13

As we work together with Christ, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see – we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return – I speak as to children – open wide your hearts also.

Gospel Reading: Mark 4.35-41

When evening had come, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

The Revd John Proctor writes in The Ministry Handbook: ‘We too may be entering times when Christianity will be widely despised, even pitied. What commends the gospel will not be the social prominence of those who follow and represent Christ, but the resilience, integrity, and inner worth of our lives – our inner peace amid the storm –  …Tradition has thought of the boat as Christ’s Church, battered and fearful amid turbulent times, yet always secure and protected in the company of Jesus. More personally, the disciples would remember that night…Jesus controlled the situation and restored it: suddenly they were encompassed by majestic calm. Even the realm of life we know best, he understands.”

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, you know that our Church is storm-tossed like the disciples’ boat on the Sea of Galilee. We seek above all to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to all that have ears to hear, but the winds and the waves blow us constantly off target. Calm the fears of your people and help us, we pray, to ride out the storms as we work together to remain afloat. And, in the moments of intervening calm, may we know your peace.

Lord, give heed to our pleas when we cry unto you for help: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, you have promised to be a refuge for your people in time of trouble. Look with compassion, we pray, on all the peoples of the world who are so cruelly or incompetently governed that they can only flee, abandoning all that they have. The hope of the weary grows dim as they struggle beneath a pitiless sky to find a place of safety. Work in us the costly ways of peace, that in justice and with gentleness your will may be done throughout all the earth.

Lord, give heed to our pleas when we cry unto you for help: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, help us in our daily tasks to play our part,  remaining steadfast with our eyes fixed on the goal. Walking by faith and putting one foot in front of  the other, lend us both courage and hope to rise above those things which frighten us, so that we may continue to carry out our daily tasks and care for those in our immediate surroundings, with new resolve every morning.

Lord, give heed to our pleas when we cry unto you for help: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, give us the grace to walk by faith, and through every storm of life to keep our gaze fixed on you. Watch over us, so that in the small hours of the morning when our hope is at its lowest ebb, you will remember our frailty and strengthen our sinews so that we may withstand the daunting waves of the open seas. Help us to keep watch with you and maintain our course in the direction you would have us sail, until dawn returns and the world resumes its familiar and comforting contours.

Lord, give heed to our pleas when we cry unto you for help: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we bring before you those who have departed this life in recent days….Bring us all at last to the quiet haven of our hearts’ desire where, in the company of all the saints,  you live and reign for ever and ever.


Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

Prayer after Communion

O God, whose beauty is beyond our imagining
and whose power we cannot comprehend:
show us your glory as far as we can grasp it,
and shield us from knowing more than we can bear
until we may look upon you without fear;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.


Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): 1 Samuel 17.(1a,4-11,19-23)32-49 © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA Post Communion (3rd after Trinity) © 1992 Janet Morley: All Desires Known (SPCK) Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000

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