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Intercessions for Trinity +13 (Year B) (Proper 17) 30 August 2015


‘Making a choice’ Image ID: 285870038 Copyright: goir via Shutterstock

The Collect

Almighty God, who called your Church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: help us to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through him who was lifted up on the cross, 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: Song of Solomon 2.8-13

The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.’

Psalm 45.1-2,6-9

My heart is astir with gracious words; * as I make my song for the king, my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are the fairest of men; * full of grace are your lips, for God has blest you for ever.
Your throne is God’s throne, for ever; * the sceptre of your kingdom is the sceptre of righteousness.
You love righteousness and hate iniquity; * therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes and cassia; * from ivory palaces the music of strings makes you glad.
Kings’ daughters are among your honourable women; * at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.


Second Reading: James 1.17-27

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfilment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act – they will be blessed in their doing. If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Gospel Reading: Mark 7.1-8,14-15,21-23

When the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.”’ Then he called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.’ or it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’

The Ministry Handbook has ‘Ideas of ceremonial washing began with the highest of motives, relating to dedication to holy living. The problem, as Jesus pointed out, was that they could become a hypocritical illusion to mask sinfulness, or even a substitution for God’s law, the very thing they were supposed to reinforce. would be a serious mistake, however, to interpret Jesus’ words as merely an attack on tradition…we all rely heavily on tradition, whether or not we acknowledge this explicitly. The challenge is to keep tradition in perspective, so that it does not hinder a living relationship with God, but rather reinforces it.’

Jane Williams’ exegesis  is worth reading in its entirety, and I only have space for an extract: (Search here for ‘imply’, pp 102-3).

Capture2And, finally, if you would like to see the prayers I suggested for this Sunday in 2012, you can find them here “The readings for today are varied, but the thread running through them seems to be about the observance of God’s law. Do we just obey the letter of the law or do we obey the will of God behind them?”

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to the Lord, who knows all the secrets of our hearts.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, we are sustained by the traditions of the Church, the knowledge that Christians have worshipped you for two thousand years inspired by the Bible. This knowledge is a source of strength, and a very present help in time of trouble. But you are also the living water from the well of heaven, the bread of life that must be renewed daily.

Lord, show us how to worship you in all your facets: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, inspire the rulers of our nations to use their power to protect the weak, not to ride roughshod over them; to serve the people in the cause of truth, justice and mercy. For the trappings of power may be glorious and golden, but they do but mask our common humanity. Let it never be forgotten that it is you, our God, king of kings, who is ruler of all.  *

Lord, show us how to worship you in all your facets: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, we thank you for the gift of friendship. Help us not to forget that we have two ears and only one tongue; that it is more blessed to listen than to be listened to. Help us show forbearance of one another’s foibles, knowing that we have foibles of our own. Let us be slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Lord, show us how to worship you in all your facets: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, you see the pain of the whole world, whether it be public or secret. We ask you to keep your people from reaching the depths of despondency and despair: let them feel the reality of hope for the morrow. May all those in pain know the reality of your presence, and that underneath are your everlasting arms.

Lord, show us how to worship you in all your facets: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we give thanks for the peace of the departed, whose journey is over and who now rest in your care. Give comfort and strength to those who mourn their passing. And may we all be reunited in the glory of your heaven.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

*Inspired by Jim Cotter’s meditation on Psalm 46

Prayer after Communion

God our creator,
you feed your children with the true manna,
the living bread from heaven:
let this holy food sustain us through our earthly pilgrimage
until we come to that place
where hunger and thirst are no more;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Post Communion (13th after Trinity) © 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


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