O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,
and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,
that we may truly worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Praise the Lord, O my soul:
while I live will I praise the Lord;
as long as I have any being,
I will sing praises to my God.
Put not your trust in princes,
nor in any human power,
for there is no help in them.
When their breath goes forth, they return to the earth;
on that day all their thoughts perish.
Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help,
whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them;
who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those that suffer wrong
and bread to those who hunger.
The Lord looses those that are bound;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord watches over the stranger in the land;
he upholds the orphan and widow;
but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.
The Lord shall reign for ever,
your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
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.
While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, ‘How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared,
“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.’ ”
David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?’ And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.
In today’s reading Jesus presents us with a difficult riddle. It sounds like the sort of riddle that is used to test for unconscious bias, or some such underlying misconception. But, Jesus is not playing games with us, rather he is testing our understanding of messiahship.
‘Messiah’ is a Hebrew word that means ‘anointed one’. As one who has been anointed, the Messiah is, therefore, prophet, priest and king. In Greek, this translates into the word Christos. Thus, in the early Church, Christ was the title which was used in relation to Jesus. It was only in later times that ‘Christ’ became an alternative name for Jesus.
In ancient Jewish teaching the Messiah was the King, the true heir of David, who was yet to come and who would, in his time, rescue Israel from its pagan enemies. Assertions of the messiahship of Jesus permeate Mark’s gospel. His words and his actions up to this point in the narrative seem to be laying the foundations for this moment, this puzzling riddle about David’s Lord and David’s Son.
Jesus frames his question in the words that open Psalm 110: The Lord says to my lord … It is by engaging with the tradition that this psalm was written by David himself that Jesus is seeking to provide the clarity of thinking that will ultimately lead us to a more profound understanding of his messiahship.
Today’s reading makes no attempt to contradict the fact that Jesus is a descendant of David’s line. But, as a descendant he would be viewed as the junior, less significant member of this royal lineage. However, this cannot be so because David refers to the Messiah and my Lord.
We know, from our post-resurrection vantage point, that Jesus’ riddle points to a much larger truth than the coincidence of being born to certain parents at a certain time. Jesus is providing a glimpse of the glory that awaits him … the glory of Resurrection and Ascension.
Today’s reading is not an easy one to understand. If it is confusing for us we need to remember that we are in the company of those who were first confronted with this teaching. But, we also need to remember that we know the rest of the story. We know of the ascendancy of David’s ancestor to his place at God’s right hand. We can be absolutely certain of the messiahship of Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One of God. Now we have to pray for the courage and the strength to live our lives as ones who have been entrusted with that knowledge.
Prayers of intercession
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you have exalted your Son Christ Jesus to your right hand, and made him the head over all things for his body the Church: hear us as we pray for the Church throughout the world. Make us and all your people receptive to the gifts he pours upon us, that we may use them to your glory, and the building up of the body of Christ.
Lord God Almighty, the Ancient of Days, you have given your Son all authority in heaven and on earth: hear us as we pray for the world he came to redeem. Grant that we may know even in this time the things that make for peace, and may strive for the reconciliation of all people in his kingdom of justice and love.
Father of all, whose Son has promised to be with us always, to the end of the age: hear us as we pray for those among whom we live and work. Grant that we may be so aware of his presence with us, that people may take note of us, that we have been with Jesus.
God our Redeemer, whose Son ever lives to make intercession for us: hear us as we pray for those in any kind of need. May he who has borne our infirmities strengthen and heal them, that they may find grace to help in time of need, and rejoice in his salvation.
Heavenly Father, whose Son has borne our humanity into the heavenly realms, and gone before us to prepare a place for us: hear us as we remember before you those whose earthly sojourn is over, and whose life is now hidden in him with you.
Make us joyful and expectant, that at his coming with all his own we too may go forth to meet him, and share in his eternal joy.
Prayer for the week
May we accept this day at your hand, O Lord,
as a gift to be treasured,
a life to be enjoyed,
a trust to be kept,
and a hope to be fulfilled;
and all for your glory.
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.
To Jesus be the glory,
the dominion and the praise;
he is Lord of all creation,
he is guide of all our ways,
and the world shall be his empire
in the fullness of the days,
for Jesus Christ is King.
Praise and glory be to Jesus,
praise and glory be to Jesus,
praise and glory be to Jesus,
for Jesus Christ is King!
Jack Copley Winslow (1882–1974)