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Intercessions for Trinity +9 Year B (Proper 13) : 2 August 2015


Adoration of the Magi, c.1240, from J Paul Getty Museum

The Collect

Almighty God, who sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of your Church: open our hearts to the riches of your grace, that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in love and joy and peace; 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: 2 Samuel 11.26-12.13a

When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord. The Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, ‘There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meagre fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveller to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.’ Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.’ Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’ David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Nathan said to David, ‘Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.’

Psalm 51.1-13

Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness; * according to the abundance of your compassion blot out my offences.
Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness * and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my faults * and my sin is ever before me.
Against you only have I sinned * and done what is evil in your sight,
So that you are justified in your sentence * and righteous in your judgement.
I have been wicked even from my birth, * a sinner when my mother conceived me.
Behold, you desire truth deep within me * and shall make me understand wisdom in the depths of my heart.
Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; * wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear of joy and gladness, * that the bones you have broken may rejoice.
Turn your face from my sins * and blot out all my misdeeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God, * and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence * and take not your holy spirit from me.
Give me again the joy of your salvation * and sustain me with your gracious spirit;

Second Reading: Ephesians 4.1-16

I, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’ (When it says, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Gospel Reading: John 6.24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were at the place where Jesus had given the bread, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’

Jeffrey John writes, in The Meaning of the Miracles:

The primary symbolic meaning of the bread is the Word of God, the message of salvation, which was to include Gentiles as well as Jews. The rabbis had already interpreted the manna in the Exodus story as a symbol of God’s word, which he sends down to ‘feed’ human beings. It was an interpretation that was already suggested by the account of the story in Deuteronomy (8.3), where Moses warns the people that God had fed them with manna in the desert ‘in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but be every word that comes out of the mouth of God. ‘ In his gospel, John follows the feeding of the 5,000 with a long discourse of Jesus on himself as the Bread of Life, adapting this already standard Jewish interpretation of the manna as God’s word to his own theology of Jesus as the Logos incarnate…Jesus identifies the bread explicitly with his own flesh and blood – making the eucharistic interpretation inescapable. This, and the fact that from at least the early 2nd century bread and fish symbols appear in Christian art as symbols of the Eucharist, suggest the miracle was understood in this sense probably from the first…As the Passover manna came to be understood by the Jews as a symbol of the Word of God in the Law, or as God’s own Wisdom indwelling in us, so in the Eurcharist we receive Christ the eternal Word of God, both in Scripture and in the sacrament. (pp 62-69)

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, our father, you feed our souls with the living bread from heaven; and, in doing so, you increase our hope and strengthen our love for you and our fellow members of the body of Christ. Teach us, we pray, to hunger for Christ, the true and living bread. May we live by every word that comes from you through him and, as we receive him into our lives, day by day may we become ever closer to you.

Lord, open our hearts to the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, as our leaders face new and increasingly complex problems at every turn, grant to a troubled world, we pray, the stability and firmness of purpose that only you can bring. Inspire all those whose decisions affect the lives of others, that all may serve according to the gifts that you have given them. And may all put serving the people  above serving themselves.

Lord, open our hearts to the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, we pray for those who share our journey with us, knowing that it is not the distance that we travel but our manner of doing so which counts. We thank you for the gift of human companionship. May our homes be open to guests, and our hearts  to one another so that all our travelling is lighter and together we reach the goal.

Lord, open our hearts to the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord of compassion, take us to yourself, we who hurt so much in the depths of our being, caught up in the pain of life, and so often inflicting yet more on others. Embrace us, we pray, with the hands that show the marks of the crucifixion. Then may our broken bones join again, as we dance with our Saviour, who embodies your redeeming power. *

Lord, open our hearts to the riches of your grace: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, hear us as we pray for those who have recently died… Grant us to share with them in the bread of heaven, which eternally renews itself to feed all those who come to your table.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

Prayer after Communion

Holy Father,
who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
in that new world where you reveal the fullness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language
to share in the eternal banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord.

* based on Jim Cotter’s meditation on Psalm 51.

Note on illustration:
“From a 13th century psalter. Rather than representing the Virgin and Child in the modest surroundings described in the Gospels, the artist emphasized the majesty of these figures. The Virgin is regally enthroned, crowned, and richly attired, while Jesus already has the features of a grown man”, says the Getty, presumably, in adding this to Wikimedia. To me, I read it as a depiction of us (the Magi) offering to Christ, while Christ feeds us with the bread of life and blesses us. Teasingly, it poses the question: is the Magi presenting the chalice to the Christ child, or is Christ offering him the wine of the Eucharist in the chalice? Like the Rublev icon, it asks us to join in this ‘dance’, this perpetual exchange between God and mankind.


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

2 comments on this post:

Dorothy Jones said...

Thanks again for your inspiration. x?

Lay Anglicana said...

Many thanks, Dorothy. Loving the halo – is that you or me? 🙂

29 July 2015 21:52
29 July 2015 20:18

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