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Holy Communion for Wednesday 24 June 2020

Listen to or read a service of Holy Communion for Wednesday 24 June 2020, the Festival of the Birth of John the Baptist, and make your own Spiritual Communion.

Listen to or read a service of Holy Communion for Wednesday 24 June 2020, the Festival of the Birth of John the Baptist, and make your own Spiritual Communion.

The biblical story of John, the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, begins even before his birth. His leaping in his mother’s womb is seen as a great alleluia in anticipation of the birth of his redeemer, and the good news of Jesus Christ is related in all four gospels as beginning with John as Christ’s forerunner. He seemed to have a predestined role akin to that of the Old Testament prophets, particularly in encouraging the people of God to live lives worthy of their calling and in imminent anticipation of the coming of the Anointed One. In the tradition of the early Fathers, John was seen as endowed with grace before his birth, and consequently the Church has always kept the celebration of this day with greater solemnity than that of his death.

Gathering

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

John the Baptist proclaimed,
‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’

Let us turn to the Lord in penitence and faith
and humbly confess our sin.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

Collect

Almighty God,
by whose providence your servant John the Baptist
was wonderfully born,
and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Saviour
by the preaching of repentance:
lead us to repent according to his preaching
and, after his example,
constantly to speak the truth,
boldly to rebuke vice,
and patiently to suffer for the truth’s sake;
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

Reading

A reading from the prophecy of Isaiah

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her
that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice says, ‘Cry out!’
And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand for ever.

Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
‘Here is your God!’

See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.

Isaiah 40.1-11

This is the word of the Lord.

Verses from Psalm 85

Show us your mercy, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.

I will listen to what the Lord God will say,
for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful,
that they turn not again to folly.

Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

Mercy and truth are met together,
righteousness and peace have kissed each other;
Truth shall spring up from the earth
and righteousness look down from heaven.

The Lord will indeed give all that is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness shall go before him
and direct his steps in the way.

Psalm 85.7-13

Gospel Reading

Alleluia, alleluia.
You, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.
Alleluia.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.
Glory to you, O Lord.

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, ‘No; he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘None of your relatives has this name.’ Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.

Luke 1.57-66, 80

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Reflection on Luke 1.57-66, 80

Prayers of Intercession

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Lord God, who promised Zechariah a son filled with the spirit and power of Elijah, to prepare a people fit for the Lord: we pray for reconciliation between all people.

Lord God, when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the baby leapt in her womb: may she who believed your promise be blessed among women, and may we proclaim with joy the good news of your Christ.

Lord God, at John’s birth Zechariah proclaimed he would be the prophet of the Most High: we pray for all who preach the Good News.

Lord God, when your Son came to the Jordan and was baptized by John he saw the heavens open and the Spirit descending as a dove: may we who are baptized into your Church faithfully proclaim in the world the words of your beloved Son.

Lord God, John proclaimed your Son as the Lamb of God and John’s disciples followed Jesus: help us to follow him also, and by our words and deeds to bring our families and friends closer to you.

Lord God, who sent John to witness to the light, to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness and to prepare the way of the Lord: comfort your people and bring your healing to the sick and needy, to the broken-hearted and the oppressed, to prisoners and captives.

Lord God, John preached the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and suffered imprisonment and death for proclaiming your Law: we remember all who have died in your service, joining our prayers with John the Baptist and all the saints; grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

God our Father, in your tender compassion
the dawn from on high has broken upon us.
Shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
and guide our feet into the way of peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Sacrament

The Peace

The Lord God of Israel has come to his people to set them free
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

Prayer at the Preparation of the Table

God of our salvation,
as we praise you for your servant John the Baptist,
accept all we bring to you this day,
and free us to worship you without fear,
in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord is here.
His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is indeed right and good,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

Among those born of women
you marked out John the Baptist with your special favour
as the one who prepared the way before your Son.
His birth brought great rejoicing;
even in the womb he leapt for joy, so near was our salvation.

Alone of all the prophets,
John hailed the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.
He baptized Jesus, the author of baptism,
in waters made holy by the one baptized.
By shedding his blood
he gave his last and greatest witness to your Son.
And so with angels and archangels
and all the heavenly host
we proclaim your glory
and join in their unending hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

We praise and bless you, loving Father,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord;
and as we obey his command,
send your Holy Spirit,
that broken bread and wine outpoured
may be for us the body and blood of your dear Son.

On the night before he died he had supper with his friends
and, taking bread, he praised you.
He broke the bread, gave it to them and said:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

When supper was ended he took the cup of wine.
Again he praised you, gave it to them and said:
Drink this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

So, Father, we remember all that Jesus did,
in him we plead with confidence
his sacrifice made once for all upon the cross.

Bringing before you the bread of life and cup of salvation,
we proclaim his death and resurrection
until he comes in glory.

Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

Lord of all life, help us to work together for that day
when your kingdom comes
and justice and mercy will be seen in all the earth.

Look with favour on your people, gather us in your loving arms
and bring us with all the saints to feast at your table in heaven.

Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory are yours,
O loving Father, for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

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. Amen.

Breaking of the Bread

Every time we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim the Lord’s death until his comes.

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
grant us peace.

Giving of Communion

God’s holy gifts for God’s holy people.
Jesus Christ is holy, Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

The priest receives communion. The people are invited to participate in an Act of Spiritual Communion.

Post Communion Prayer

Merciful Lord, whose prophet John the Baptist
proclaimed your Son as the Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world:
grant that we who in this sacrament
have known your forgiveness and your life-giving love
may ever tell of your mercy and your peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Father of all, we give you thanks and praise,
that when we were still far off
you met us in your Son and brought us home.
Dying and living, he declared your love,
gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory.
May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life;
we who drink his cup bring life to others;
we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.
Keep us firm in the hope that you have set before us,
so we and all your children shall be free,
and the whole earth live to praise your name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Blessing

Through the tender compassion of our God
may the dawn from on high break upon you
and guide your feet into the way of peace.
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.