O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
defend your Church from all false teaching
and give to your people knowledge of your truth,
that we may enjoy eternal life
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Psalm 90.1-2, 12-17
Lord, you have been our refuge
from one generation to another.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or the earth and the world were formed,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
So teach us to number our days
that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Turn again, O Lord; how long will you delay?
Have compassion on your servants.
Satisfy us with your loving-kindness in the morning,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Give us gladness for the days you have afflicted us,
and for the years in which we have seen adversity.
Show your servants your works,
and let your glory be over their children.
May the gracious favour of the Lord our God be upon us;
prosper our handiwork; O prosper the work of our hands.
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.
Reading: Luke 9.43b-45
While everyone was amazed at all that Jesus was doing, he said to his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.’ But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
This is the word of the Lord.
Today’s reading brings us face-to-face with a reality that caused great confusion and consternation among the disciples. We have heard of the journey into faithful discipleship, and now Jesus is speaking of betrayal and death. Now we see the depth of commitment being asked of faithful disciples.
For us, two thousand years after the resurrection, it is comparatively easy to see that all turns out well. For those first disciples Jesus’ words were incomprehensible. Not only did they not understand, but they were afraid to ask for an explanation. How often have we found ourselves in that place? We have been told something that confuses us, perhaps even frightens us, but we cannot bring ourselves to seek either explanation or reassurance?
This week’s readings began with Matthew’s call and swift and faithful response. Then we heard of Jesus claiming close kinship with those who believe and trust in him. From there we saw how the mission of Christ should be spread far and wide, and we were challenged to consider the uncertainty and scepticism we might encounter on our Christian journey. Yesterday Peter declared the divinity of Jesus and today Jesus emphasizes that he is also sharing fully in the human condition.
Over six days we have been invited to reflect on the whole Christian journey. Jesus has shared its totality with us and, surely, Jesus has made it clear that we should never be afraid to take our concerns, our doubts and our fears to God.
We know that Jesus’ earthly life will come to a brutal end, but we also know the joy and the power of the resurrection. Can we really be left in any doubt that Jesus is calling us into the closest of relationships with him? Can we still not grasp that he understands our moments of uncertainty? Can we, for one second, doubt that he is the Messiah of God?
Let us pray for the strength and the courage to journey through this life as faithful, self-effacing disciples in the sure knowledge that we will, one day, come into the divine presence of our Saviour, Jesus the Messiah.
Prayers of Intercession
Let us pray to the Father whose Son suffered betrayal and death for the salvation of the world.
Cleanse the Church from temptation to worldly ambition and false triumphalism. In childlike simplicity, may your people follow you without fear, in loving one another.
Bring peace to the troubled places of the world, where war destroys both human life and the beauty of your creation. Make peaceful the minds of those who contend for power, that they may know the freedom of your service.
Bless the children of our families and those in our community. Let their innocence teach us to avoid all that may destroy the harmony of living.
Have mercy on the victims of war and violence; those who have lost their loved ones and been driven from their homes. Grant them a place of refuge to rebuild their lives.
We pray for those who have died in war or through human violence. Grant mercy to those who died unprepared and impenitent, by the love of Christ who served others even to death. Grant them the peace that they were denied in their last hour.
As servants of Christ, we humbly offer our prayers in his name.
Prayer for the week
you have taught us to pray to you as ‘Our Father’:
help us to see the world through your eyes,
and to love our neighbours with your love.
Show us how we can share with them
the knowledge and joy of our faith,
that they may be brought closer to you,
and enjoy the perfect freedom of your kingdom.
We make our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ,
our Lord and our God.
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.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.
Suffering servant, scorned, ill-treated,
death is through the cross defeated,
Yours the glory and the crown,
the high renown, the eternal name.
Michael Saward (b. 1932)