O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Risen, ascended Lord,
as we rejoice at your triumph,
fill your Church on earth with power and compassion,
that all who are estranged by sin
may find forgiveness and know your peace,
to the glory of God the Father.
Psalm 16.1, 5-10
Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge;
I have said to the Lord, ‘You are my lord,
all my good depends on you.’
My share has fallen in a fair land;
indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel,
and in the night watches he instructs my heart.
I have set the Lord always before me;
he is at my right hand; I shall not fall.
Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices;
my flesh also shall rest secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Death,
nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life;
in your presence is the fullness of joy
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
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, ‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
‘Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’
Jesus said: I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.
What does the word ‘vision’ mean to you? For many it is a word that makes the blood run cold. Almost every organisation you can imagine declares itself as having a ‘vision’. Vision statements abound. Everywhere we look we are offered snappy catchphrases that are meant to encapsulate in a few words the purpose of businesses, schools, utility companies, finance houses … even churches. Whilst such statements of ‘vision’ may be useful for focusing the minds of some, for others they are just cynical ways of saying we want to be the best and most profitable organisation we can be, no matter what the cost to others.
The opening of today’s reading may not be as catchy as some vision statements, but it is certainly more powerful than most. These are Jesus’ own words as he continues his prayer for his disciples and for those who will follow them in sharing the Good News he brought from heaven to earth.
So, in that light I ask again: what does the word ‘vision’ mean to you? As well as bringing to mind fatuous vision ‘statements’, for some it conjures up thoughts of the imaginary and the unreal. Jesus’ prayer is certainly not about the unreal, just as it is not about cut-throat business practices. The vision Jesus shares in these words is about a mutuality of belief and purpose.
Jesus prays that all who believe in him should be united into one common fellowship of faith. Personal understandings and interpretations may lead us down different denominational paths, but we are still called to be one as we profess the faith of Jesus Christ in the world, as we share his vision with all.
Jesus’ vision statement is clear, it is summed up in his call for us to worship God and to share his love with all. Let us pray that we might remain true to that vision for his followers, for then we shall see his prayer answered as we, united in faith and love, bring others to him through our words and actions.
Prayers of intercession
Let us pray to God for the unity of the Church and for peace in the world.
Through the faith shared by all Christian people, bring the whole Church into unity. Forgive our outward divisions, and draw us together as a greater witness to the gospel which we proclaim.
Grant to all people a new unity of purpose for the preservation of the earth and the service of the common good. Give peace among the nations, between races and in each human heart.
We pray for our friends and neighbours, and all who share our faith but not our worship. Help us to learn from them, to see our imperfections and to work with them for the good of our whole community.
Look with compassion on all places in the world that are torn by religious strife, and relieve the victims of violence. May contempt give way to respect, and hostility to understanding.
We give thanks for the departed who have worshipped in many ways and ended their earthly service. Bring them to the joy of heaven where all are one in the divine glory.
We unite our prayers with the prayer of Christ that we may all be one.
Prayer for the week
forgive what we have been;
sanctify what we are;
and order what we shall be.
What we do not know, teach us;
what we do not have, give us;
what we are not, make us;
for Jesus Christ’s sake.
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.