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Prayer for Friday 1 April 2022

Listen to a service of Prayer for 1 April 2022 (Lent 4: Friday), including a reflection on the gospel reading

Preparation

O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Praise

Merciful Lord,
you know our struggle to serve you:
when sin spoils our lives
and overshadows our hearts,
come to our aid
and turn us back to you again;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Psalm 34.15-22

The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous
and his ears are open to their cry.

The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to root out the remembrance of them from the earth.

The righteous cry and the Lord hears them
and delivers them out of all their troubles.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and will save those who are crushed in spirit.

Many are the troubles of the righteous;
from them all will the Lord deliver them.

He keeps all their bones,
so that not one of them is broken.

But evil shall slay the wicked
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

The Lord ransoms the life of his servants
and will condemn none who seek refuge in him.

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
John 7.1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near.

But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret.

Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.’ Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, ‘You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.’ Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.

Reflection

Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his time had not yet come.

Every year, as we journey through Lent, we travel through the oft-read accounts of Jesus’ final days on earth knowing exactly how the story is going to end. We know that the hatred of the religious authorities will boil over and cause the fickle crowds to scream those terrible words: Crucify him! We know that Jesus will be subjected to a show trial before being humiliated and executed in one of the most sadistic ways possible.

Although the hatred of the religious hierarchy reached its terrible climax in the events of Good Friday we know, from the gospel narrative, that the whole of Jesus’ ministry was dogged with attempts to show him up as a charlatan. But … Jesus was no charlatan; there was nothing fraudulent about his words and actions. On the contrary, it was the Pharisees, the scribes, and all the other religious grandees who were the hypocrites, the ones who were living behind a veil of pretence.

In the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes we read of there being a time for every matter under heaven. Too often we make the mistake of being impatient. We live life in a rush, assuming that we either know or can control that which is yet to come. This arrogant self-sufficiency creates a barrier between ourselves and God. Rather than living as faithful disciples in the present … the here and now … we display a lack of trust in God by focusing on that which only God really knows.

As we know how the annual Lenten journey will end, so did Jesus. Jesus also knew that the impatience of his detractors could not get in the way of his delivery of the entirety of the message he was destined to bring into the world.

In today’s reading we are hearing a challenge. We are being challenged to slow down and trust in God … in the here and now. Despite our fallible certainty over matters of the future, we need to stop emulating Jesus’ critics and show that we trust God to be the only one who truly knows. Then … as we are waiting for God’s plan to unfold in all its divine glory we need to live as faithful disciples in this world, today!

Prayers of intercession

Judge eternal, give to your Church a penitent and contrite heart. Where it is dry, refresh it; where it fails to bear fruit, renew it. Make us agents of your transforming love.

Judge eternal, give to all in power awareness of the responsibility they carry. Inspire them to forsake ways that oppress by intent or omission. Make us agents of your justice and peace.

Judge eternal, give to all people vision to shape our communities as places where all can delight and flourish. Nurture the young, care for the infirm, bring hope to all who struggle. Make us agents of your generosity.

Judge eternal, give to all who are weary and weighed down relief in their sufferings. Bless them by your life-giving presence. Make us agents of your wholeness and healing.

Judge eternal, give to all who journey under the cloud of death a glimpse of your light and life. Hold all who weep and mourn. Make us ready to share in the glory of your eternity.

Prayer for the week

Heavenly Father,
be with us in our search for peace,
in ourselves and in the world you have made.
Diminish pride and increase humility;
weaken suspicion and nourish trust.
Deepen true love and understanding in every heart,
and unite us all as members of one family;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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

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.