Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 1 April (Passiontide)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 1 April (Passiontide), including a reflection on John 11.45-57


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

Let your ways be known on earth,
your saving power among the nations.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
your only Son was lifted up
that he might draw the whole world to himself.
May we walk this day in the way of the cross
and always be ready to share its weight,
declaring your love for all the world.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

John 11.45-57

Many of the Jews who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, ‘What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.’ But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.’ He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to put him to death. 

Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness; and he remained there with the disciples. 

Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and were asking one another as they stood in the temple, ‘What do you think? Surely he will not come to the festival, will he?’ Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him. 


Caiaphas said: It is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.

When we look back at the history of human warfare, those conflicts that see human beings destroying each other because of some idealistic difference or urge to possess more than anyone else, we often see moments where difficult decisions have to be made. In the play Oh! What a Lovely War, moments in the First World War are acted out as though in some form of popular entertainment. Because of the format in which this play was constructed it is often misunderstood as being nothing more than a satirical send-up of a serious subject. But, what often gets missed is that many of the words that are spoken by the actors are genuine quotations. Every word that speaks of the death of thousands and thousands of people were actually said as the conflict unfolded over four tortuous years. On a daily basis decisions had to be made about how many men would have to be sacrificed in order that some small advance or strategic advantage might be gained. Just like Caiaphas in today’s reading, the general staff of the First World War, and every other human conflict, weighed up the value they could attach to a man’s life.

In the midst of conflict difficult decisions have to be made, but we should never forget that such decisions fly in the face of our Christian calling. It is in direct opposition to the teaching of Jesus Christ for us to feel that we have the right to place a value on any human life, and then to cast that life to one side as though it does not matter. 

In the coming week we will be seeing the betrayal, trial and execution of Jesus, the one whom Caiaphas identified as being expendable for the sake of the Jewish nation. Of course, we know that the death of Jesus will be of the greatest possible advantage to the whole of humanity. The death and resurrection of Jesus will, if we allow it, open up a new relationship between ourselves and God.

We may not think about sacrificing the life of another person to put ourselves in a more advantageous position, but we are often cruel in the way we treat others if we see a way to push ourselves to the front of any metaphorical queue. As we journey through the coming days, let us pray that we might honour Christ’s call to love and serve. Let us pray that we might love both our neighbours and our enemies. Let us pray that as we come to stand at the foot of the cross we might thank God that his Son allowed himself to suffer for us, that his sacrifice had nothing to do with the political machinations of Caiaphas and his ilk.


With faith and love and in union with Christ,
let us offer our prayer before the throne of grace.

Have mercy on your people,
for whom your Son laid down his life:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Bring healing and wholeness to people and nations,
and have pity on those torn apart by division:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Strengthen all who are persecuted for your name’s sake,
and deliver them from evil:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Look in mercy upon all who suffer,
and hear those who cry out in pain and desolation:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Bring comfort to the dying,
and gladden their hearts with the vision of your glory:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Give rest to the departed
and bring them, with your saints, to glory everlasting:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

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

Gracious Father,
you gave up your Son
out of love for the world:
lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,
that we may know eternal peace
through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Standing at the foot of the cross,
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.

Christ crucified draw us to himself,
to find in him a sure ground for faith,
a firm support for hope,
and the assurance of sins forgiven;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.