Christmas Prayers and Reflections: 4 January (John 1.35-42)

Preparation

O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, sovereign God,
creator of heaven and earth,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As your living Word, eternal in heaven,
assumed the frailty of our mortal flesh,
may the light of your love be born in us
to fill our hearts with joy as we sing:
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Reading: John 1.35-42 

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).

John 1.35-42 NRSV

Reflection 

Having just reflected upon the moment when John declared: Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, we now move into a moment where that great proclamation of faith bears fruit. In a recent conversation, someone said to me: But you never know what good your words and actions might be doing. This is, of course, very true. We never know what good, or harm, we might be bringing into the lives of others, which makes it all the more crucial that we pray and consider carefully how we interact with those we meet day by day. However, in today’s reading we do witness the impact John’s message of faith had on others. 

Two of John’s disciples heard his words about Jesus. They heard and then they turned and followed. One of those disciples of John, Andrew, then took the message to his brother, Peter. Then an amazing thing happened. They went to where Jesus was staying, and they remained with him that day. This small detail is often overlooked as we focus on the calling of the first disciples, but can you imagine what it must have been like to spend the whole day in the company of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the one of whom John said: this is the Son of God?

We have no way of knowing how that day went, what was discussed, how the one they called Rabbi shared his knowledge with those eager pupils. But, we do know that by the end of that day Jesus had already laid the foundation of what was to come as he renamed Simon as Cephas (Peter), the name which means ‘rock’. Later in the gospels we will learn of the fallibilities and weaknesses of Peter, we will learn just how human he is. We will also learn that he is destined to become the rock upon which Christ’s Church will be built.

Today we hear of Jesus’ ministry and mission beginning as he chooses the first of that company of disciples and apostles who take the Good News into the world. Today we hear of ordinary people being chosen by Jesus to act as his ambassadors. It is fair to assume that they did not see anything particularly special in themselves, but they were ready for Jesus to test them as he responded to his call in faith.

Let us pray that we might be ready to trust Jesus as he calls us into his service. Let us pray that we might trust in his judgement about our gifts and talents, and not rely upon the false boundaries and glass ceilings we impose upon ourselves. Let us pray that we might stand firm in our faith, rocks that others can depend upon as we share the Good News with all.

Prayers

To us a child is born, to us a son is given;
let us pray for the people he came to save.

Wonderful Counsellor,
you order all things with your wisdom:
help the Church to reveal the mystery of your love
and fill her with the Spirit of truth:
Lord, in your mercy 
hear our prayer.

Mighty God,
the government is on your shoulders:
guide the leaders of the nations
and bring in your kingdom of justice and righteousness: 
Lord, in your mercy 
hear our prayer.

Everlasting Father,
you call us to live together in unity:
protect by your mercy all your children,
bless our families and renew our communities: 
Lord, in your mercy 
hear our prayer.

Prince of Peace,
you bring reconciliation through the cross:
by your healing power give to all who suffer
your gift of wholeness and peace: 
Lord, in your mercy 
hear our prayer.

Let us commend the world, to which Christ came,
to the mercy and protection of God.

Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:
accept our heartfelt praise
as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.
Amen.

Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
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.

Christ, who by his incarnation gathered into one
things earthly and heavenly,
fill us with peace and goodwill
and make us partakers of the divine nature;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.
Amen.