O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
defend your Church from all false teaching
and give to your people knowledge of your truth,
that we may enjoy eternal life
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Your word is a lantern to my feet
and a light upon my path.
I have sworn and will fulfil it,
to keep your righteous judgements.
I am troubled above measure;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word.
Accept the freewill offering of my mouth, O Lord,
and teach me your judgements.
My soul is ever in my hand,
yet I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your commandments.
Your testimonies have I claimed as my heritage for ever;
for they are the very joy of my heart.
I have applied my heart to fulfil your statutes:
always, even to the end.
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 9.1-6
Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
This is the word of the Lord.
In the Church’s calendar today is designated as an Ember Day, a day on which we pray for all who are called into God’s service, both lay and ordained. Ember Days do not fall on set dates in the year, but are generally designated at times when ordinations to the diaconate and the priesthood are likely to occur.
In our own benefice we are blessed with the opportunity to pray for and to support Revd Aron, who will soon be ordained as a priest, thus making this Ember Day very important in all our lives.
Entering the priesthood comes at the cusp of the Christian life. Before ordination there will have been a long journey of discernment followed by ordination into the diaconate. Then each deacon will journey through a period of service and formation in preparation for the moment of ordination as a priest. And then, it feels as though a whole new journey has begun. The new priest will feel a sense of arrival, but also a sense of departure – departure into the unknown.
Today’s reading offers us a picture of the life that lies ahead of everyone who hears and follows God’s call. We are called to trust in God’s call and to proclaim his love and power to everyone we meet. That trust in God should be absolute. We should not make plans for how we are to be active Christians. Such plans are nothing less than an attempt to put constraints on God’s will. God knows what we are capable of doing in his name, even if we don’t. God knows our hidden talents and skills, we just have to trust that he knows better than us.
As we pray for Revd Aron at this time, let us also pray for ourselves and others in order that we might all be wise enough to hear God’s call and brave enough to follow that call, no matter where it may lead us.
Prayers of Intercession
Let us pray to God, by whose authority we are called to his service.
Keep the Church steadfast, confident in the strength that comes only from your grace. Bless those who are chosen as your minsters and messengers, that they may preach the Gospel with assurance. Sustain those whose burdens are heavy as they work to relieve the burdens of others.
Wherever your word is preached, grant that it shall be heard with understanding and received with faith. Change the hearts of those who glory in their own strength and authority, and teach them to bear their power humbly.
Give us wisdom to discern the gifts that you have given to our friends and colleagues. Teach us to learn from one another and to give support where it is needed.
Uphold those who wish to help others but are frustrated by opposition and indifference. Give grace to all who suffer, that they may be open to accept relief.
We give thanks for the departed who in this world were granted a partial vision of your wonder and to whom it is now revealed in its fullness. Give us grace so to live in Christ that we too may behold his glory.
Through our prayers in the name of Christ, may we overcome evil.
Prayer for the week
you have taught us to pray to you as ‘Our Father’:
help us to see the world through your eyes,
and to love our neighbours with your love.
Show us how we can share with them
the knowledge and joy of our faith,
that they may be brought closer to you,
and enjoy the perfect freedom of your kingdom.
We make our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ,
our Lord and our God.
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.
Christ is the one who sends,
his story to declare;
who calls his servants friends
and gives them news to share.
His truth proclaim
in all the earth,
his matchless worth
and saving name.
Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926)