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Conversing with Elizaphanian: Metamorphosis and Stasis

Is there a stable place to rest at the end of the progressive path?

This is the question posed by Elizaphanian (The Revd Sam Norton) on January 25th, and which I have been mulling over ever since. I suggest you read the whole post, but among other things he says the following:

 Western society has embarked upon a radical restructuring of its cultural life in three inter-related issues, to do with homosexuality, marriage and divorce, and the economic role of women. The classical understanding of the church, that sexuality is only to be expressed within a heterosexual marriage, has been widely abandoned…The church has been caught up in this cultural change and is now at risk of opprobrium and worse if it does not, in David Cameron’s ill-chosen words, ‘get with the programme’…The RC stance…has proven workable for thousands of years…Does the progressive, secular, post-Protestant form of Christianity have a destination?…Having said all that, I remain quite open to the idea that the Spirit is genuinely behind all these developments…and I certainly can’t see our society reversing many of them. Yet, as I also see our society as heading down the tubes with great rapidity, I don’t see that latter point as bearing much theological weight. I genuinely don’t know the answer to this, but it is what I am thinking about.

The short answer to the question.

My short answer to this question is ‘No’.

The slightly longer answer

First, it must be said that the question is perfectly understandable, and is widely being asked. The inference is that if the progressive path cannot offer a stable place to rest, it is unreasonable to expect the general public to follow the path.

The question is not a new one, and nor is my answer. Heraclitus, for one, got there first: All is flux, nothing stays still or, in other words, Nothing endures but change.

Differing roles of God and the Church

Since the dawn of time, one of the reasons people have believed in the gods is that life seems full of capricious change. One or more supreme beings seem to offer the only possibility of stability. We pray: ‘ protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we, who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness‘.

Over the years, the Church has seemed to represent the deity in offering a haven of stability. It is easy to see how God and the Church have become confused in the psyche of churchgoers, but the Church is a human institution and is not in a position to offer ‘eternal changelessness’. To do so would be like trying to ride a bicycle without moving – you would soon fall off.

There is no advice in the Bible about how to manage the Church after 2,000 years of history (unless you know otherwise?). St Paul’s epistles are full of advice to churches which are newly set-up and, although much of it still applies to us, the task that we face in the 21st century is, I suggest, that of enabling the mighty, rushing wind of the Holy Spirit to blow through the dusty corners  of the Church, and not to try and keep it out by means of draught excluders.

Does the Holy Spirit offer a stable place to rest?

Possibly. From time to time.  But ‘he is not a tame lion, you know‘. And my hunch is that, after a very long period in which the Church has tried to plug the leaking dike and hold back the sea, in a period of stasis, the time has now come for metamorphosis.’Not for ever by still waters, would we idly rest and stay. But would smite the living fountains from the rocks along our way.‘ Psalm 104:10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains.Psalm 105:41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert. Psalm 107:35 He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs;Psalm 114:8 who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.

I also think that in this life there is no room for ‘changelessness’: this is something we are promised in the hereafter. But for now there is work to be done.

Do we know where the progressive path will lead us?

No, we don’t entirely. We know where we would like it to take us as soon as possible – the raising of women to the episcopate, the inclusion of LGBT people, and the empowerment of the laity. In shorthand, a Church of all the talents.

But there will be unforeseen and unintended consequences. Unforeseen and unintended by us, that is. I wonder what God wants?

The illustration is Heraclitus (c.1630) by Johannes Moreelse (c. 1603–1634) via Wikimedia

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


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

The Collect

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

¶ The Liturgy of the Word


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

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

Psalm 139.1-5,12-18

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

Second Reading: Revelation 5.1-10

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

Gospel Reading: John 1.43-51

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


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

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


Prayers of Intercession

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

¶The Church of Christ

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

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


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

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

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


¶The local community

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

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


¶Those who suffer

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

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


¶The communion of saints

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


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

Intercessions for Second Sunday Before Advent Year B 2012: Change

The Lectionary

The Collect:
Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son was revealed to destroy the works of the devil and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life: grant that we, having this hope, may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that when he shall appear in power and great glory we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom…

Daniel 12.1-3
In the third year of King Cyrus a word was revealed to Daniel. At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.’

Psalm 16
Refrain: The Lord is at my right hand; I shall not fall.
Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge; *I have said to the Lord, ‘You are my lord,all my good depends on you.’
All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, *upon those who are noble in heart.
Though the idols are legion that many run after, *their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, neither make mention of their names upon my lips.
The Lord himself is my portion and my cup; *in your hands alone is my fortune.
My share has fallen in a fair land; *indeed, I have a goodly heritage.R
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel, *and in the night watches he instructs my heart.
I have set the Lord always before me; *he is at my right hand; I shall not fall.
Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; *my flesh also shall rest secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Death, *nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life; in your presence is the fullness of joy *and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.


Hebrews 10.11-14(15-18)19-25
Every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, ‘he sat down at the right hand of God’, and since then has been waiting ‘until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.’ For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord:I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds’, he also adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’ Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


Mark 13.1-8
As Jesus came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.’ When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?’ Then Jesus began to say to them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.’


Initial Thoughts

The theme this week seems to challenge us – is the glass half-full or half-empty? My first reaction was that the readings were all about being challenged by momentous changes, and seeking God’s help to meet the challenge. This is the half-full view. David Adam, on the other hand, seems to have a half-empty take on the lectionary. With the response ‘In him we will not be afraid’, he prefaces the prayers with ‘God of all power and might, give us grace to trust you in the darkness as well as in the light’. Of course I am influenced, as one is supposed to be, by events in the real world which David Adam was unaware of when he wrote Traces of Glory: the appointment of a new Archbishop of Canterbury and the vote on women bishops this coming Tuesday are momentous – but one hopes not cataclysmic – events.

We have already had intercessions on change in the sense of metamorphosis, for the first Sunday after Trinity. But the wind of change that is under consideration today is something altogether harder to resist.


The Prayers

[ Malachi 3.6; Psalm 46.2:]

The Lord does not change, Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.

¶The Church of Christ

As the new Archbishop of Canterbury prepares for his enthronement, and as the Church votes again on whether to accept women as bishops, O God of unchangeable power and eternal light, we ask you to look favourably on your whole Church. May the world feel and see that things which were cast down are being raised up and things which had grown old are being made new and that all things are returning to perfection through him from whom they took their origin, Jesus Christ.

O unchanging Lord, guide us as we undergo great changes: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord of  lords, and king of kings,  we pray for statesmen, leaders and rulers. May they be quiet in spirit, clear in judgement, and able to understand the issues that face them. Grant them patience, grant them courage, grant them foresight, and grant them great faith. In their anxieties, Lord, be their security. In their opportunities, be their inspiration. And by their plans and their actions, may your kingdom come, your will be done.

O unchanging Lord, guide us as we undergo great changes: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, we pray for the places where we work, and we give thanks for our homes and those whom we love.  Make us mindful that all our lives depend on the work of others, and we pray that we may live thankfully and in unity as members of one human family. And as fellow members of the Body of Christ, help us to share in the joys and sorrows of our neighbours as if they were our own.

O unchanging Lord, guide us as we undergo great changes: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶ Those who suffer

Give strength, Lord, to all caught up in disasters, all who are suffering from famine or flood, storms or earthquakes. Give courage, Lord, to all who are ill, and all who are afraid for their future. Knowing that you are our strength and salvation, we commend to your loving care all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit. In your goodness and mercy, grant them health of body, soundness of mind and peace of heart.

O unchanging Lord, guide us as we undergo great changes: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶ The communion of saints

Lord, we pray to you for those whom we love, but see no longer. Grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them; and in your loving wisdom and almighty power, work in them the holy purpose of your perfect will.

O unchanging Lord, guide us as we undergo great changes: in your mercy, hear our prayer

(1)Collect from The Gelasian Sacramentary  “Transfiguration is in our grasp by the grace and power of God. At a very liminal time for Christianity when it was not clear what would follow Late Antiquity, an altar book was assembled which drew on a range of sources. It became known as the Gelasian Sacramentary and one of its collects expresses our hope”

The other prayers are taken from (sometimes adapted from) The Lion Prayer Collection. The prayer for those in authority is by Lilian Cox (p.224).

Empire Avenue: Navigating The Moral Maze

Does Your Moral Compass Need a Work-out?

How many times a day do you find yourself making moral decisions? I am guessing that, for most of us, the answer is not very many. Empire Avenue , on the other hand, challenges us to break several commandents: the ones about not taking the Lord’s name in vain (no shrieks of ‘OMG!’); remembering the sabbath day (most of us cheerfully play on a Sunday); not coveting thy neighbour’s ox, his ass (or his Empire Avenue score); not bearing false witness (how many of us routinely give Ks to people who don’t influence us at all?); and- perhaps most seriously- not stealing. (Not you, not me, but some people do simply take the money from missions without doing what is asked of them).

As you play the game, you will be posed a series of moral questions, not once but repeatedly:

  • What are you prepared – and what are you not prepared – to do for money?
  • Would you buy shares in someone just because they offered high dividends – in other words do you treat people as means to an end or an end in themselves?
  • Will you be generous with your time and energy to help someone you know online?
  • Are you your brother’s (or sister’s) keeper?

When you have played for a while, on a consistent basis, you will either have strengthened your will power to do good and resist evil, or you will truly know yourself as someone who all too readily gives in to temptation. Are you up for the challenge?


What is Empire Avenue?

Empire Avenue is a  means of measuring one’s involvement in social media (twitter, facebook etc). It is also a game in which users buy and sell shares in people, using an imaginary currency. The first part of this blogpost, explaining about Empire Avenue for those who are not already signed up,  was on Digidisciple on 5 June. The key is in ‘Expand, engage, evaluate’: you will not continue to expand unless you constantly evaluate what you are doing and engage with other people. Each progression involves increasing your interaction with others. At its most basic level, saying ‘thank-you’ and ‘well done’ to others, commenting on their blogs and doing their ‘missions’ will increase your overall score.

Only the most basic rules are given. It is rather like learning how to play chess simply by being told the moves of the various pieces. Did you read Richard Bach’s ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull‘? He found there was no readily available set of rules, but that each apparent impasse contained its own way through.  Empire Avenue is a game that nudges you to ‘fly’, that is to say make a leap of logic, imagination or faith which will take you to the next level. Here are some hints from our seagull mentor:

“Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight – how to get from shore to food and back again…For most gulls it was not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight… Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”


Metaphor for Life Itself

Empire Avenue reminds me, more than anything, of Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. A motley group of people, who find themselves travelling together along the road of life, fall into conversation, form friendships and band together in small groups to talk and laugh and make music together.  It is impossible to imagine assembling a more diverse range of people: young and old, tall and short, fat and thin; of all races and creeds; and living in every habitable part of the world.


EAv was set up less than two years ago. I imagine that its founders did not predict the way it would become a force for good in the world. It’s the old story about the total being greater than the sum of its parts. Although there are forums on Empire Avenue itself, most of the conversation about the way this hugely diverse network operates and can be used for good takes place on Facebook.

Just in the last month, I have become involved in dicussions about how to spread awareness of environmental problems, a bid to save whales, a planned and co-ordinated system of random acts of kindness, the dangerous side-effects of Diethylstilbestrol, and female genital mutilation and forced marriage. These are all concerns of people I know on Empire Avenue, and since they concern them, they concern me. It is personal involvement. Truly this is the global village at work in a way Marshall McLuhan could scarcely imagine.



The photograph below depicts the rehearsal of  Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’; downloaded from wikimedia under licence.

Intercessions for Trinity + 1 (Year B) 2012 : The Epistle Rides to the Rescue!

Stuck for inspiration from the lectionary this Sunday, as was I? Try looking at the second reading for the principal service, St Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians, 4-13 – 5.1.

…So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

The Prayers

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.

We take inspiration from St Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, one of the readings set for today.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, in the midst of so much change in the Church, as we seek a new Archbishop of  Canterbury and the renewal of the episcopate through the introduction of women bishops, we ask you to renew also the soul of the Church.

May your Holy Spirit guide us as we seek to incorporate new insights, while not losing sight of eternal truths.  Inspire us to work together in unity as the Body of Christ for the coming of your Kingdom.

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

We pray once again for the troubled area of the Middle East. As our hopes for constructive change there seem to be threatened, we ask you now to be with the people in the midst of their present sufferings, and to give them hope for their future.

As we move into the 61st year of the Queen’s reign, we thank you, Lord, for the ability our monarchy has shown to renew itself and adapt to changes in society, while still upholding traditional values. As the pace of these changes seems to increase with every passing day, help us to draw strength from your eternal changelessness.

Give wisdom to all in authority; and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace; that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶The local community


We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶ Those who suffer

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit.
We pray especially for [..]
Give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation. We pray with St Paul that they:
do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

¶ The communion of saints

We thank you, Lord, that what looks like death to the caterpillar looks like new birth to the butterfly. As St Paul says, if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. We commend into your hands all those who have been through this metamorphosis.

We remember in particular………………………………..

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;Praise him, all creatures here below;Praise him above, ye heavenly host;Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

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