O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin
to the light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Psalm 72.1-4, 18-19
Give the king your judgements, O God,
and your righteousness to the son of a king.
Then shall he judge your people righteously
and your poor with justice.
May the mountains bring forth peace,
and the little hills righteousness for the people.
May he defend the poor among the people,
deliver the children of the needy and crush the oppressor.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wonderful things.
And blessed be his glorious name for ever.
May all the earth be filled with his glory.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever. Amen.
Reading: Luke 10.21-24
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’
The opening words of today’s reading are very powerful. They contain so much about the hope and trust we are called to have in God our Father in heaven. Firstly we hear of Jesus rejoicing in the Holy Spirit. How often do we rejoice in the Holy Spirit, that great gift of God, one third of the Holy Trinity, the force that inspires and empowers us to live out our lives as faithful followers of Christ? Human beings become so absorbed in their own practices and routines that they often forget that there is a wonderful power moving in this world, a power that is, in fact, God himself.
Jesus is reminding us of the wonder of the Holy Spirit in his next words … his words of thanks to God. As we journey through the pilgrimage of earthly life we often overlook the many things for which we should be thankful to God. We become obsessed with the ‘detail’, by which we mean the things that inconvenience us. Very early on in our lives we seem to switch off our ability to view the world around us with a sense of wonder. We like the rural setting in which we live; we may say that we ‘love’ the countryside and our close proximity to nature. But what do we mean by that? Do we mean that we appreciate the wonders of creation as a beautiful backdrop to our daily lives; or do we mean that we are grateful that we do not have to live out our days in a crowded and bustling city; or do we mean that we occasionally notice the odd beautiful tree or flower as we struggle through the busyness of our daily lives? How often do we join with Jesus in thanking God, the creator of the world in which we live? How often do we pause to appreciate the marvellous creation God has provided for us?
Then comes the reason for Jesus’ praise and thanks to God: because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. We are all guilty of making things far too complicated. We are all professional conspiracy theorists. We struggle with accepting the world as God created it. In the beginning of Genesis we read the story of creation. That story is followed by an account of humanity’s fall from divine favour. That fall is rooted in our hunger to be as wise as God. After so very, very many years we are still making the same mistake. We want to think that we know better than God. We want to be recognized as being wise and intelligent.
The challenge in today’s reading is not easy, but meeting it could change our lives for ever. Jesus wants us to recognize that there is a loving, creator God who is our Father in heaven. Jesus wants us to understand, as young children understand, that our loving Father in heaven cares for us, protects us and nurtures us without any need for us to outdo him. The challenge is: can we accept such generous love, or will we continue to reject that love by thinking we know better?
Prayers of Intercession
Let us pray through the Son to the Father, Lord of heaven and earth.
Keep the Church strong in the law of Christ, resisting the temptation to accept false values. May your people in their generation be truly the children of wisdom.
Have pity on a world full of discontent, restless and finding no lasting satisfaction. Guide into the right way all who desire the good but give way to evil.
Help us to discern and follow the right way in all our relationships. May the knowledge of your truth be known to this community. Give wisdom to those who hold responsibility in it and make them agents of your law of love.
Have mercy on those whose lives are weary and whose burdens are heavy. May they come to know the freedom of trust in Jesus Christ.
We remember those who have been delivered from their mortal bodies. Now that the struggle with sin is over, receive them into your presence.
Secure in the rest that Christ has given, we pray in his name.
Prayer for the week
God of all hope and joy,
open our hearts in welcome,
that your Son Jesus Christ,
at his coming,
may find in us a dwelling prepared for him
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
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.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.
O God beyond all praising,
we worship you today
and sing the love amazing
that songs cannot repay;
for we can only wonder
at every gift you send,
at blessings without number
and mercies without end:
we lift our hearts before you
and wait upon your word,
we honour and adore you,
our great and mighty Lord.
Michael Perry (1942–1996)