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Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 24 January

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 24 January, including a reflection on the gospel reading, Mark 3.31-35 (Epiphany 3 / DEL Week 3: Tuesday)

Preparation

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

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
king of the nations,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
your name is proclaimed in all the world.
As the Sun of Righteousness dawns in our hearts
anoint our lips with the seal of your Spirit
that we may witness to your gospel
and sing your praise in all the earth.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Mark 3.31-35

The mother and brothers of Jesus came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’ 

Reflection

Jesus said: Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.

Throughout the history of humanity there has, at its core, been the strong pull of family allegiance. Those to whom we are most closely related are those to whom we feel most attached. Our parents and siblings are also, in most cases, those with whom we might say we have the most intimate of relationships. In today’s reading Jesus is offering to welcome us into the intimacy of that familial relationship with him.

In the Gospel narrative Jesus extends the invitation Follow me thirteen times. That simple invitation echoes down the centuries. We, like the billions and billions who have gone before us, are being offered the same opportunity, the same choice. Jesus is standing before us, extending his hand, and inviting us into an intimate relationship with God. That invitation may not come in a way that we either expect or immediately recognise, but it is still there. If we can bring ourselves to reach out and take the proffered hand, if we can do the will of God, then our lives will know a joy and peace that defies our powers of description.

Of course, accepting Jesus’ invitation into a lifelong relationship is not without discomfort and inconvenience. Discomfort because it will challenge the lifestyles we have carved out for ourselves and for our human families. Inconvenience because it will demand a level of self-sacrifice that will fly in the face of the human instinct to grab at anything and everything that makes us feel comfortable and secure in this world. To follow Jesus and to do the will of God is not an easy option!

Today we are being given a stark choice. We are being offered an intimate relationship with God that will take us into a place beyond our wildest imaginings. But … that relationship will come at a cost. Jesus is asking us whether we are prepared to pay that price.

Let us pray that we might recognise our calling to be faithful disciples and apostles of Christ. Let us pray that we might set self aside and take the hand that is being offered in love. Let us pray that we might set aside our pride and our greed and, thereby, come to know the comfort, consolation and profound peace that comes from acknowledging that we are brothers, sisters and mothers of Jesus Christ himself.

Prayers

From the rising of the sun to its setting, 
let us pray to the Lord.

That the people of God in all the world
may worship in spirit and in truth,
let us pray to the Lord.

That the Church may discover again 
that unity which is the Father’s will,
let us pray to the Lord.

That the nations of the earth
may seek after the ways that make for peace,
let us pray to the Lord.

That the whole creation, groaning in travail,
may be set free to enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God,
let us pray to the Lord.

That all who with Christ have entered the shadow of death
may rest in peace and rise in glory,
let us pray to the Lord.

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

Creator of the heavens,
who led the Magi by a star
to worship the Christ-child:
guide and sustain us,
that we may find our journey’s end
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Believing the promises of God,
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 the Son of God
perfect in us the image of his glory
and gladden our hearts 
with the good news of his kingdom;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.
Amen.