Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 7 February

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 7 February (Ordinary Time before Lent), including a reflection on the gospel reading Mark 7.1-13 (DEL Week 5: Tuesday)


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 7.1-13

When the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.” You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’ 

Then he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, “Honour your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban” (that is, an offering to God) – then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.’ 


The Pharisees and the scribes asked Jesus: Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders.

In recent times the Church has been called to reflect upon its own mortality. As secularism has gained a foothold in our society, the previously unassailable role of the Church has been questioned. The Church has become an sitting target for those who rank empirical evidence above faith. It cannot be denied that congregations in many parts of the country have diminished, just as it cannot be denied that some of the decisions taken by the leaders of the Church have been used as evidence against them when the Church has tried to reassert its traditional role as the ‘beating heart of our communities’. But, so often, the criticisms that are levelled at the Church, as an institution, have reflected the attitudes of the Pharisees and the scribes in today’s reading. 

It is a common trait amongst human beings to spend a lot of their time looking over their shoulders, reflecting upon a ‘golden age’ when everything was just ‘as it should be’. The reality is that that ‘golden age’ is always based in myth and legend. That ‘golden age’ may have suited the one whose nostalgia is being preached at any particular time, but it is still the stuff of myth and legend … it simply is not truth! 

When we dig down into the details of those legendary good times, we will inevitably find a realm of compliance and obedience; a time when children were ‘seen and not heard’; a time when there was an accepted hierarchy within each community; a time when everyone was decent, legal, honest and truthful. How can anyone believe that such a ‘golden age’ ever existed? Such ‘golden ages’ were based on compliance with and acceptance of man-made rules and regulations that established and maintained a status-quo. Such ‘golden ages’ had nothing to do with living the life of true faith through open acts of generous love and service, as commanded by Jesus Christ.

Today we are being urged to hold firm in the faith. We are being encouraged to join with those who are reflecting upon the life of the Church in the twenty-first century. We are being called to question those rules and procedures that may appear ‘holy’, but have nothing to do with living as Christ in this world. Let us pray that we might turn our backs on the myths and legends of the past and make the Church a real presence in the world today, and in the days to come.


In peace, let us pray to Jesus our Lord,
who ever lives to make intercession for us.

Saviour of the world,
be present in all places of suffering, violence and pain,
and bring hope even in the darkest night.
Inspire us to continue your work of reconciliation today.

Lord of the Church,
empower by your Spirit all Christian people,
and the work of your Church in every land.
Give us grace to proclaim the gospel joyfully in word and deed.

Shepherd and Guardian of our souls,
guide and enable all who lead and serve this community
and those on whom we depend for our daily needs.
Grant that we may seek the peace and welfare of this place.

Great Physician,
stretch out your hand to bring comfort, wholeness and peace
to all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.
Fill us with compassion, that we may be channels of
your healing love.

Conqueror of death,
remember for good those whom we love but see no longer.
Help us to live this day in the sure and certain hope of
your eternal victory.

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.

Eternal God,
whose Son went among the crowds
and brought healing with his touch:
help us to show his love,
in your Church as we gather together,
and by our lives as they are transformed
into the image of 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.