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Intercessions for 3rd Sunday before Lent (Proper 2) Year A: 16 February 2014

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The Collect

Almighty God, who alone can bring order to the unruly wills and passions of sinful humanity: give your people grace so to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, among the many changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; 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: Deuteronomy 30.15-20

Moses said: “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. “But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Psalm 119.1-8: 1 Aleph

Blessed are those whose way is pure, *who walk in the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies * and seek him with their whole heart,
Those who do no wickedness, * but walk in his ways.
You, O Lord, have charged * that we should diligently keep your commandments.R
O that my ways were made so direct * that I might keep your statutes.
Then should I not be put to shame, * because I have regard for all your commandments.
I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, * when I have learned your righteous judgements.
I will keep your statutes; * O forsake me not utterly. R

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3.1-9

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labour. For we are God’s fellow-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

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Gospel Reading: Matthew 5.21-37

Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.   “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.  “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”


The theme for today seems pretty clear: we must obey the law of God if we are to be saved, and we must endeavour to be sincere, honest and tell the truth. Fair enough, you might think. Here I must admit that when I was leading worship, the most difficult sentence at Matins for me was ‘whose service is perfect freedom’. I might accept this intellectually but something in me evidently rebelled as I was always aware that my voice at this point took on a strangulated note. (Luckily, I think I was the only one who noticed). If you are a free-spirited Anglican, this is a tough message. In the intervening years, I have come to think of this law as more like the law of gravity than the penal code. In other words, if you would attain:

the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace

you need to work within the framework that has been laid down for us.  Jane Williams’ version of this idea?

So perhaps the reading from Deuteronomy is actually the key to all three readings today. The commandments are given to Israel as a source of life, a source of knowledge of God, the life-giver. They teach God’s people how to live in God’s world. Deuteronomy assumes that after a while these laws will become second nature, so that we will be able to look only at their core and basis, which is our love for God and his for us

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, we ask you to send your holy spirit to guide your Church at this turbulent time in the life of the Anglican Communion and our national Churches. Teach us to walk in the right way, working together for your will as we piece together the jigsaw of life in your kingdom. When we make decisions, lead us into the heart of the matter; and when we face conflicting views of your will for us as the Body of Christ, grant us the space and time to listen for the still, small voice of your truth.

Lord, help us to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

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

Lord, lead this planet in the paths that take us to a peaceful solution of all conflicts, particularly those that are entrenched and seem almost incapable of resolution. Inspire the hearts of all concerned that they may turn to you and receive your warmth and light even on the coldest and darkest of nights. Then, trusting in your word and your loving support, may they begin the long and difficult ascent back to a  just and peaceful world. Help us all to choose life!

Lord, help us to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, help us not to despise or oppose what we do not understand. Guard us from the danger of anger against our neighbours by reminding us at all times that, if they have offended us, we are also likely to have offended them. Give us the grace and courage to make our peace with those we live amongst, forgiving as we in turn pray to be forgiven.

Lord, help us to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Most loving Lord, we pray for all who lie in the shadow of the cross. Give faith to the searching. Give healing to every broken life. Give release to those consumed by bitterness. Give light to those who sit in darkness. Give peace to the tormented.  Give relief to those in pain or despair. And , we beseech you, give hope to the dying.

Lord, help us to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we commend into your hands those whom we have loved. You gave them breath, and loved them through their lives. Receive them now in your infinite tenderness and give them peace in your heavenly kingdom.

Lord, help us to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ: in your mercy, hear our prayer

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton. Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 Collect (3rd before Lent) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for Third Sunday of Lent Year B: 8 March 2015

Rembrandt_Christ_Driving_the_Money_Changers_from_the_Temple

Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple by Rembrandt via Wikimedia under CCL

The Collect

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life 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: Exodus 20.1-17

Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work – you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

 

Psalm 19

Refrain: The commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.

The heavens are telling the glory of God * and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
One day pours out its song to another * and one night unfolds knowledge to another.
They have neither speech nor language * and their voices are not heard,
Yet their sound has gone out into all lands * and their words to the ends of the world.
In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, * that comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber and rejoices as a champion to run his course.
It goes forth from the end of the heavens and runs to the very end again, * and there is nothing hidden from its heat. R
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; * the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the simple.
The statutes of the Lord are right and rejoice the heart; * the commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever; * the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, * sweeter also than honey, dripping from the honeycomb.
By them also is your servant taught * and in keeping them there is great reward. R
Who can tell how often they offend? * O cleanse me from my secret faults!
Keep your servant also from presumptuous sins lest they get dominion over me; * so shall I be undefiled, and innocent of great offence.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, * O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Refrain: The commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.

 

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1.18-25

The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Gospel Reading: John 2.13-22

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ They then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.


The RSCM (2009) has: “Into the sacred space, Jesus brings disruption. Without the purchase of animals, the sacrifices set out by God in the Law could not be carried out. Without the money-changers providing Temple currency for Roman coinage, animals could not be purchased. The action Jesus takes is not so much a cleansing as a demonstration that this ‘old order’ is to be destroyed. John, with resurrection hindsight, explains: the new covenant is forged in the death and resurrection of Jesus. He will be the focal point for the worship of God.”

Jane Williams has not given me a ‘soundbite’ today but is well worth reading, which you can do by searching ‘irreconcilable’ here.

 

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, your presence is known in the structures we build, and also in their collapse. Though your people need places to gather, it is not the buildings or works of art alone that form your legacy.  Fill us with the desire to search for your truth, that we may transform the world, becoming fools for your sake. Establish in us a community of hope, not to contain your mystery but to be led beyond security into your sacred space.

Lord, teach us to live simply that others might simply live: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

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

Creator God, yearning and striving to bring harmony out of chaos, so fill every fibre of our being with your wisdom, and so  blow as a mighty rushing wind among the landscapes of our world, that the earth may reflect the wonder of the universe, in the glory of the transfigured Christ, who shared with you in the cost of creation.

Lord, teach us to live simply that others might simply live: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The local community

Lord, we thank you for the gift of friendship. For our companions on the journey with light enough to show us the fruit where brambles grow; and warmth enough to feed the grain of daily need, we thank you.  For those who, in times of adversity, welcome us in and clang shut the door on the wolves outside; and for those who in times of happiness share a double joy, where each is glad for both, we thank you. Lord, help us to treasure such relationships and, through them, grow ever closer to you.

Lord, teach us to live simply that others might simply live: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, who binds up the broken-hearted, who proclaims freedom to the captive and promises justice to all who mourn its absence or loss, look with compassion on those who suffer.Bless them with beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness in place of grief, and instead of the miasma of despair, enfold them in a garment of unending praise.

Lord, teach us to live simply that others might simply live: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we pray for those who have enjoyed the sun here on earth for a while, who have lived light in the spring, who have loved, who have thought, and are now done…. May flights of angels sing them to their rest in your eternal home.

 

Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

Prayer after Communion

Merciful Lord,
grant your people grace to withstand the temptations
of the world, the flesh and the devil,
and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Christ, the sun of righteousness,
rise in our hearts this day,
enfold us in the brightness of your love
and bear us at the last to heaven’s horizon;
for your love’s sake.


 

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 Post Communion (3rd of Lent) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Intercessions for 3rd Sunday before Advent Year A – 9 November 2014

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The Collect

Almighty Father, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of all: govern the hearts and minds of those in authority, and bring the families of the nations, divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin, to be subject to his just and gentle rule; 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: Wisdom of Solomon 6.12-16

Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her,  and is found by those who seek her.  She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.  One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate.  To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding,  and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care, because she goes about seeking those worthy of her,  and she graciously appears to them in their paths,  and meets them in every thought.

Psalm:  Wisdom of Solomon 6.17-20

The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction, and concern for instruction is love of her, and love of her is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality, and immortality brings one near to God; so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom.

Second Reading:  1 Thessalonians 4.13-18

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 25.1-13

Jesus spoke this parable to the disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise replied, “No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.’

Prayers of Intercession

{Prayers offered by Visual Liturgy}

We pray for the coming of God’s kingdom.

You sent your Son to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, freedom to captives and salvation to your people: anoint us with your Spirit; rouse us to work in his name.
Father, by your Spirit bring in your kingdom.

Send us to bring help to the poor and freedom to the oppressed.
Father, by your Spirit bring in your kingdom.

Send us to tell the world the good news of your healing love.
Father, by your Spirit bring in your kingdom.

Send us to those who mourn, to bring joy and gladness instead of grief.
Father, by your Spirit bring in your kingdom.

Send us to proclaim that the time is here for you to save your people.
Father, by your Spirit bring in your kingdom.

Lord of the Church, hear our prayer, and make us one in mind and heart to serve you in Christ our Lord. Amen.


 

For those living in England, these intercessions are unlikely to be used at a public service as today is celebrated as Remembrance Sunday and of course Tuesday 11 November 2014 is the centenary of the armistice.

The RSCM manages to link the two events:

Of those who have died in war, no doubt some were ready to die and some were not. Those who signed up to fight knew what this might entail, but not when the moment would come. Civilians might have recognised a risk, but little suspected that it would befall them. Jesus teaches his followers to be ready for his coming at a time they will not know. Like soldiers signing up for service, he exhorts them to be ready at all times.

But for those who might like to pray privately based on the pre-Advent lectionary, and for those who do not live in a place where the armistice is commemorated today, I offer the following:

Loving God, as the rising sun chases away the night, so you have scattered the power of death in the rising of Jesus Christ, and you bring us all blessings in him.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, we are reminded that before we can prepare to welcome the Christ-child, we need to draw on all that is past in the history of our Church, gather it into the spaciousness of hearts that are converted to your love and service, and use that as the source of energy that drives us towards the future. * We give ourselves to you, that we may work for your praise and glory.

 Lord, help us constantly to renew your Church and our faith so that it may speak to a new generation: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, you are our defence and shield, a very present help in our trouble. We are surrounded in this world by conflicts beyond our understanding which threaten our very existence. Help those who wield weapons to attack those they live amongst to find it in their hearts to beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks and to seek peaceful means of achieving their political aims.

 Lord, help us constantly to renew your Church and our faith so that it may speak to a new generation: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, we pray for our friends and all that we share. Come to our community and heal our divisions. Reveal your love, we pray, as you  increase our faith in you and each other. Strengthen our fellowship through your presence, and guide our actions by the power of your Spirit.

  Lord, help us constantly to renew your Church and our faith so that it may speak to a new generation: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord of ultimate power and unfailing love, comfort all those who mourn today. Be to them a rock of deliverance and a strong tower. Give them hope in their sorrow, even in the midnight of their distress. Give them assurance of new and greater life, and give them new purpose and resolve to continue in the great work you have given us.

 Lord, help us constantly to renew your Church and our faith so that it may speak to a new generation: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Merciful God, gracious and benevolent, through your Son you invite all the world to a meal of mercy. Grant that we may always be ready for your call and bring us with all your saints into your life of justice and joy

 Lord, help us constantly to renew your Church and our faith so that it may speak to a new generation: in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above): Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA Post Communion (3rd before Advent) © CBFCE 1980; Archbishops’ Council 1999 / Church of the Province of Southern Africa Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2002

*Based on a passage from Henri Nouwen’s  ‘All is Grace’, Weavings, December 1992 quoted in Jane Williams’ book on the lectionary for year A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intercessions for Third Sunday of Lent Year A – 23 March 2014

'Come Thirsty' by Mark Wiggin courtesy of Veritasse

The Collect

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life 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.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Exodus 17.1-7

From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarrelled with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?’ But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried out to the Lord, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.’ Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarrelled and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’

Psalm 95

Refrain: Come, let us worship and bow down.

O come, let us sing to the Lord; *let us heartily rejoice in the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving *and be glad in him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God *and a great king above all gods. R
In his hand are the depths of the earth *and the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, *and his hands have moulded the dry land.
Come, let us worship and bow down *and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God; *we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. R
O that today you would listen to his voice: *‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, on that day at Massah in the wilderness,
‘When your forebears tested me, and put me to the proof, *though they had seen my works.
‘Forty years long I detested that generation and said, *“This people are wayward in their hearts; they do not know my ways.”
‘So I swore in my wrath, *“They shall not enter into my rest.”’

Refrain: Come, let us worship and bow down.

 

Second Reading: Romans 5.1-11

Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Gospel Reading: John 4.5-42

Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’ Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him.  Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’ Many Samaritans from that city believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.’

Prayers of Intercession

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, at times your Church seems like the woman at the well whose faith is based on the coming of the Messiah at a safe distance in the future. Create in us, we pray, such a thirst for you as can only be quenched by the reality of your presence in the here and now, offering us the water of life. Give us the power, we pray, to drink deeply from this eternal source so that we may in turn be diffusers of your light and truth in the world.

Lord, give us to drink from the spring of the water of life: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

Lord, to the beauty and bounty of your creation and grace, we have responded with desecration and greed. We have presumed upon the constant renewal of your gifts. Give us penitent hearts and the will to cherish the earth, that we may know you again as our redeeming Creator, bringing good from our wastes and sorrows. For indeed you are God and we are your people, crafted by the skill of your hands. *

Lord, give us to drink from the spring of the water of life: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The local community

Lord, we pray for all those community institutions which are going through a period of testing and dryness, or feel drained of energy and resources. While we are grateful for the structures that have existed to foster community spirit over many years, help us to guard against stagnation and ossification in our life together. As we approach spring, and the sap is rising, pour a little of the water from your heavenly well on our communal lives and activities, that they may be renewed and strengthened in your name.

Lord, give us to drink from the spring of the water of life: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶Those who suffer

Lord, look with compassion on those who know too well the pains of bodily thirst. Strike through the hardness of our hearts, that we may work for relief in areas of drought and famine. Be with those who need the strength of your grace, grant patience to those troubled in their anxieties, and in the peace of knowledge of forgiveness lift their hearts in joy and thanksgiving.

Lord, give us to drink from the spring of the water of life: in your mercy, hear our prayer

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we remember before you those who will no longer know physical thirst but but can drink the water of life for all eternity from the well of heaven. The water that you have given them has become  a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Lord, give us also to drink from the spring of the water of life: in your mercy, hear our prayer

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 Post Communion (3rd of Lent) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

* From the commentary on psalm 95 by Jim Cotter and Paul Payton in Out of Silence.


I am indebted to Veritasse, who is the source of this and many other wonderful images.

Come thirsty by Mark Wiggin

The verse on the back of the greetings card reads, “Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.”   John 4:13

“This picture has been developed through a long, prayerful and creative process. It captures something of John 4:4-14, the Trinity, and Revelation 22:17 .” Mark Wiggin.

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