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.
Mark 8.34 – 9.1
Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’ And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’
Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father.
As humanity travels along its allotted path there seems to be a growing away from God, rather than a growing towards its creator and loving Father. It is becoming common-place to hear people speaking of ‘lost faith’ and a sense of abandonment. If we believe all that is reported in the media, and sometimes what is preached from our pulpits, we could not help but feel that there is no point in journeying on in faith. For some, this stepping away from God manifests itself in a spirit of shame … shame that hope had once been invested in a God who is no longer seen as caring. Whilst this is the story we often hear told in our modern world, it is based on a false premise; it is, to be frank, a lie!
Those who turn their back on the faith that has sustained this world for so long are those who are ashamed of Jesus and of his words. Those who turn their back on Jesus and his Heavenly Father have, indeed, become an adulterous and sinful generation because they have abandoned the moral compass that points us in the right direction.
Jesus strived throughout his earthly ministry to show us the way we should be following. Jesus showed us the power of true faith. Jesus led by example. Jesus demonstrated a depth of love that humanity had never seen before. But … all of this was rejected by so many, just as it continues to be rejected today.
For some, the message of the Church is one of redemption and glory for all, but that is yet another false premise. Jesus spoke of the Day of Judgement, the time when we will all be called to give an account of the way we have used or wasted our time on earth. This is not a free pass into heaven, this is a moment when the sheep and the goats, the faithful and the sinful will be separated. At that moment the goats and the sinful will be cast to one side; as they were ashamed of Christ and his words, so the Son of Man will also be ashamed. For many this is a difficult message to grasp. Surely, Jesus came to forgive!
Yes, Jesus came to bring forgiveness, but not as sweets are handed out at a children’s party. Humanity is called to take his message seriously and to engage with the difficult as well as the easy. The faithful are called to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow … As we continue our journey from the crib to the cross let us pray that we might remain firm in our faith and, when those troubled doubts arise, let us pray that we might turn to the one who came to hold and protect us, Jesus, the Messiah and Saviour of us all.
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.