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O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Blessed are you, creator of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As your dawn renews the face of the earth
bringing light and life to all creation,
may we rejoice in this day you have made;
as we wake refreshed from the depths of sleep,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.
The disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, ‘Watch out – beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’ They said to one another, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ They said to him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ And they said to him, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’
Jesus said: Watch out – beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.
Yeast is one of those wonderful substances that bring about seemingly miraculous changes to other ingredients in order that we might enjoy our breads, our cakes, and our beers. Of course, through modern scientific investigation, we have developed an understanding of how yeast actually works and, through that growing knowledge, we have been able to maximise the effects of the different types of yeast in our brewing, our baking and in other forms of cooking. In the context of Jesus’ words today, however, we need to set aside our desire to become a master baker or brewer and consider just one aspect of the use of yeast – it makes things grow.
Today’s reading opens with a very everyday dilemma: the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus’ response to this moment of ‘crisis’ had nothing to do with feeding the disciples or the vast crowd that had gathered around him. He had just fed four thousand people from seven loaves and a few small fish so perhaps the disciples might be forgiven for focusing their attention on the yeast which is used in cookery. But, Jesus was speaking of the yeast which feeds, nurtures and helps our relationship with God to grow.
When we begin our human lives we enter into an unending cycle of education and experience. As we learn and experience things we develop into the people we are destined to become in this world. As we travel that path of education and experience we will become closely affiliated to some teachers more than others. Some will open doors for us, whilst the words and demonstrations of others will leave us feeling cold and on the outside of life. Those with whom we will engage on the closest level are likely to be those who help us fulfil our innate gifts and talents, the gifts and talents that were bestowed upon us by God. The issue being highlighted today is that we need to be careful which teachers we follow.
Too often we are led astray by the glamorous and the extrovert. We dream of fame and fortune rather than of being faithful disciples and apostles of Christ. We seek the adulation of those amongst whom we live, rather than loving and serving them as we were commanded by Jesus himself. Today we are being called to pray that we might not stray from the straight path, the path that leads directly to God. We are being called to pray that we might not seek to outgrow the image of God that was planted within us at our conception. Today we are being called to turn our backs on those whose teaching is a distraction and a route map to eternal damnation.
Let us by prayer and intercession with thanksgiving
make our requests to God.
we pray for peace, justice and reconciliation throughout the world.
We pray for the honouring of human rights,
and for the relief of the oppressed.
We give thanks for all that is gracious in the lives of men,
women and children.
We pray for the renewal of the Church in faith, love and service.
We pray for our bishops and for the life of all communities of faith.
We give thanks for the gift of your word,
the grace of the sacraments
and the fellowship of your people.
We pray for this local community
and for all people in their daily life and work.
We pray for the young and the elderly,
for families, and all who are alone.
We give thanks for human skill and creativity
and all that reveals your loveliness.
We pray for those who are in need;
for the sick, sorrowful and bereaved.
We pray for all who bring comfort, care and healing.
We give thanks for human love and friendship
and for all that enriches our daily lives.
Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.
give us reverence for all creation
and respect for every person,
that we may mirror your likeness
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
The Lord bless us and watch over us,
the Lord make his face shine upon us
and be gracious to us,
the Lord look kindly on us
and give us peace;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.