Thursday, 14 May 2020
Listen to or read a short service of prayer celebrating the Festival of Matthias the Apostle.
After the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot, the apostles brought their number back to twelve by choosing Matthias to replace him. He was chosen by lot from amongst the disciples. The author of the Acts of the Apostles sees apostleship differently from Paul’s interpretation of the role and seems to reflect the understanding of the gospel of Luke. The number had to be restored so that they might ‘sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel’. It was conditional that they had to have been with Jesus during his earthly ministry and witnesses to the resurrection. The point of being chosen by lot, rather than by some democratic method, indicated the election or choosing by God, rather than by mortals.
O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
If I climb up to heaven, you are there;
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
who in the place of the traitor Judas
chose your faithful servant Matthias
to be of the number of the Twelve:
preserve your Church from false apostles
and, by the ministry of faithful pastors and teachers,
keep us steadfast in your truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?
Who may rest upon your holy hill?
Whoever leads an uncorrupt life
and does the thing that is right;
Who speaks the truth from the heart
and bears no deceit on the tongue;
Who does no evil to a friend
and pours no scorn on a neighbour;
In whose sight the wicked are not esteemed,
but who honours those who fear the Lord.
Whoever has sworn to a neighbour
and never goes back on that word;
Who does not lend money in hope of gain,
nor takes a bribe against the innocent;
Whoever does these things shall never fall.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever. Amen.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.’John 15:9-17 (NRSV)
This is the word of the Lord.
Let us pray to God who called Matthias to be a witness to the faith.
As we have been called, some early and some late in our lives, to be members of your holy Church, keep us firm to the end in the hope of our calling. Grant that men and women shall continue to offer themselves for service and that the sacred ministry shall be faithfully maintained.
Look with mercy on the nations of the world. May their people not be left without guidance when leaders fail and governments fall. Give wisdom to those who gain power, and teach them to work in harmony with others for the common good.
Give us grace to accept and welcome those who come into our community. May the stranger find welcome, may our work and our recreation be enriched by the gifts of those whom we have not known.
Have mercy on all who have been damaged by the betrayal of one they have trusted. Strengthen them to rebuild their lives, to form new relationships and to find again the purpose that they thought was lost.
We remember all who, having answered your call to love and serve you here, have gone to their rest. Make us worthy to follow their example and to continue the good work which they began.
May our prayers be accepted in the name of Jesus Christ, whose purpose never fails.
we thank you for the gift of your holy word.
May it be a lantern to our feet,
a light to our paths,
and a strength to our lives.
Take us and use us to love and serve
in the power of the Holy Spirit
and in the name of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory
for ever and ever.
May the risen Christ give us his peace.