O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
God of our salvation
help us to turn away from those habits
which harm our bodies and poison our minds
and to choose again your gift of life,
revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Psalm 27.1-6, 9-12
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom then shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
of whom then shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes,
came upon me to eat up my flesh,
they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me,
my heart shall not be afraid,
and though there rise up war against me,
yet will I put my trust in him.
One thing have I asked of the Lord
and that alone I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
To behold the fair beauty of the Lord
and to seek his will in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he shall hide me in his shelter;
in the secret place of his dwelling shall he hide me
and set me high upon a rock.
Hear my voice, O Lord, when I call;
have mercy upon me and answer me.
My heart tells of your word, ‘Seek my face.’
Your face, Lord, will I seek.
Hide not your face from me,
nor cast your servant away in displeasure.
You have been my helper;
leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
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.
King Herod heard of the healings and other miracles, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’
For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
Prayers of Intercession
For the rule of justice and the triumph of mercy, let us pray to the Lord.
Inspire and strengthen the Church to speak out against evil and not to fail in the face of opposition. Give to all Christian people the grace to endure when their faith is tested and to bear witness to the truth.
Guide and correct those in authority, that their power shall not be abused and the innocent shall not suffer. Forgive those who support evil policies through fear or ambition, and give them courage to work for good.
Shield us, our families and friends and neighbours, from all anger and violence, whether it comes from among us or from outside. Bless those who have influence in this community and give them the will to work for the common good.
Have mercy on all who suffer from injustice, on the weak and vulnerable who are in the hands of oppressors. Be close to those who suffer for declaring and practising their faith and save them from their persecutors.
We remember with thanks those who have borne witness to their faith even to death. May their witness be our example of constancy until we come to share with them in the life of heaven.
We offer our prayers through Christ, the hope of all who suffer for his sake.
Prayer for the week
you kept faith with Simeon
and showed him the infant King:
give us grace to put all our trust in your promises,
and the patience to wait a lifetime for their fulfilment;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.