O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep:
teach us to hear your voice
and to follow your command,
that all your people may be gathered into one flock,
to the glory of God the Father.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvellous things.
His own right hand and his holy arm
have won for him the victory.
The Lord has made known his salvation;
his deliverance has he openly shown
in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness
towards the house of Israel,
and all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Sound praises to the Lord, all the earth;
break into singing and make music.
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.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.
‘Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.’
Many people take great pride in the way they believe they are able to dig beneath the surface and get to ‘really know’ someone. They like to think that they are able to predict their every thought and action. As such people journey through life they hone their reputation as those who ‘know’ and ‘understand’ how other people ‘tick’. As they nurture their inquisitiveness, they also develop the ways in which they use their strange ‘powers’ to control others. Such people become manipulative as they wield an evil influence over others. In today’s reading Jesus gives us pause for thought in such matters.
Jesus said: If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him. This is a truly life-changing statement. We are being promised that through our coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ, we are entering into just as profound a relationship with God himself.
Philip’s response to this is very like that of those I described above. Philip wanted more. It is almost as though knowing Jesus is not enough. Rather than accepting that a relationship with the Son is sufficient to bring us into the closest of relationships with our Heavenly Father, Philip wants to dig deeper. Philip suggests that he can only be satisfied if he sees the one whom Jesus calls Father for himself.
Too often we behave in the same way as Philip. The promises of Jesus are contained within the gospel narrative, as are the only directions we will ever need for following the way he has prepared for us. And yet, we want more. Hearing the words and actions of Jesus do not seem to be enough for many. Too many of us want to identify the traps and shortcomings that lie in simple faith; we want to get the upper hand by trying to step between Jesus and his Heavenly Father. But … all the time we invest our intellectual energies on achieving the impossible, we miss the point. Instead of coming closer to God we widen the gulf we should be trying to cross.
Jesus’ message to humanity could not be more simple: If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. It is as easy as that. Strive only to strengthen your relationship with Jesus, for it is through that relationship you will find yourself, ultimately, coming into the nearer presence of his, and our, Heavenly Father.
Prayers of intercession
In the faith of Christ, we pray as he has commanded us and given us his example.
Grant that the Church may always follow in the way of Christ, proclaim his truth and live his risen life. Keep Christian people in knowledge and service of the Father, that his will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.
As the disciples were led to understand and taught to seek God in prayer, so may those who are counted wise in the world learn where true wisdom is to be found. Teach those in positions of authority to know that all earthly power is given from above.
When our hearts are troubled, bless us with faith to offer strength and assurance in our homes and in our work. Bless those in this community who help by teaching or example to bring people to know God and to walk in his ways.
Hear the prayers of those who cry out for relief in their afflictions, in sickness, poverty, loneliness, uncertainty… Grant them the assurance that Christ, who has gone before them through suffering to glory, is near to them and will bring them home.
We give thanks for the departed who have come to the place which Christ has prepared for them, where they shall be with him for ever. We pray that we may so follow him in this world that we too shall be gathered into the Father’s house.
We pray in the name of the Son, in whom the Father is revealed and glorified.
Prayer for the week
risen from the dead and alive for evermore:
stand in our midst as in the upper room;
speak your peace to our hearts and minds;
and send us forth into the world as your apostles;
for the glory of your name.
The Lord’s Prayer
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.