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Intercessions for First Sunday of Lent (Year B): 22 February 2015


The Rainbow, oil on canvas by Robert Delaunay, 1913, Honolulu Museum of Art


The Collect

Almighty God,  whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; 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: Genesis 9.8-17

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’

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 Peter 3.18-22

Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you – not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

Gospel Reading: Mark 1.9-15

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’

Jane Williams says: “Lent challenges us to remove some of our safety nets…but…is not just an exercise in breast-beating and self-testing. Its basic questions are ‘What are you for?’, ‘What do you depend on?’, ‘Where do you get your self-definition?’….All life is utterly dependent upon God. If God did not choose to preserve it, it would not be.  ..Jesus…too is about to accept his part, and to relinquish control, so as to acknowledge dependence upon God alone. But his is the acceptance that is to bring God and humanity together again, as at the beginning. Our Lenten discipline cannot bring us back to Adam’s tsate, or even Noah’s, but it can help us to accept, with gratitude, our creation and re-creation in Christ.”

You can see the whole piece here, by searching for ‘cushion’.

Prayers of Intercession

Lord, show us your ways and teach us your paths. Lead us in your truth and guide us, for you are the God of our salvation.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, although we have thousands of churches throughout this land, at times they seem  so cramped that they barely allow room for you. Help us to knock down the partitions and raise the roofs so that you may come in. May our collective prayers expand the walls and open up the roofs with skylights to let in your heavenly light and radiance, so that those within may be transformed by your love.

Lord, in the austerity of Lent sharpen our awareness of your love: in your mercy, hear our prayer.


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

Lord, who gives life to all life,  washing us clean, wiping out our mistakes and healing our wounds, teach us to seek you in the world of the everyday. Rather than a pot of gold to be found at the foot of the rainbow, help us to look for you in the complicated and messy world of our daily life. It is in the here and now that you show us the Way, the Truth and the Life. May we see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day.

Lord, in the austerity of Lent sharpen our awareness of your love: in your mercy, hear our prayer.


¶The local community

Lord, your Son entered a time of solitude in the desert and we, too, are sometimes alone and miss the comfort of human company. Our hearts are in pain and constricted, the arteries of affection are hardened. Open us to your Holy Spirit and lift our hearts high, with your breath filling our lungs. Lord of compassion, fill us with the spirit of forgiveness and grace, that we may believe in our hearts’ core that we are accepted just as we are. *

Lord, in the austerity of Lent sharpen our awareness of your love: in your mercy, hear our prayer.


¶Those who suffer

Lord, as we enter the desert of Lent, help us to clear the clutter from our crowded lives and find a space to be still. In listening to our own heartbeats, may we find you. In the bleakness, with none of the cushioned comforts of our daily routines, may we be brought face to face with ourselves as we actually are, with none of the masks that form our daily covering, none of our little security blankets. In that space, Lord, we ask you to grow your wholeness in us. Give us a new vision, and make our desert blossom like a rose. **

Lord, in the austerity of Lent sharpen our awareness of your love: in your mercy, hear our prayer.


¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for all those who have departed this life into your presence. In the light of heaven, may they join the praise of those who have worshipped you through all the ages.

Lord, in the austerity of Lent sharpen our awareness of your love: in your mercy, hear our prayer.


* Based on Jim Cotter’s prayers around Psalm 25

** Based on Ann Lewin’s poem, Lent.

In general, the prayers today are inspired by ‘For lovers of God everywhere: poems of the Christian Mystics’ by Roger Housden.

Prayer after Communion

Lord God,
you have renewed us with the living bread from heaven;
by it you nourish our faith,
increase our hope,
and strengthen our love:
teach us always to hunger for him who is the true and living bread,
and enable us to live by every word
that proceeds from out of your mouth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


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 Invitation to Confession (Lent) © The Archbishops’ Council 2002 Collect (1st of Lent) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

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