O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
God, our refuge and strength,
bring near the day when wars shall cease
and poverty and pain shall end,
that earth may know the peace of heaven
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, your word is everlasting;
it ever stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness also remains from one generation to another;
you have established the earth and it abides.
So also your judgements stand firm this day,
for all things are your servants.
If your law had not been my delight,
I should have perished in my trouble.
I will never forget your commandments,
for by them you have given me life.
I am yours, O save me!
For I have sought your commandments.
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me,
but I will meditate on your testimonies.
I have seen an end of all perfection,
but your commandment knows no bounds.
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 was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.’
Then he said to the disciples, ‘The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, “Look there!” or “Look here!” Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.’
Today is the day on which we remember and give thanks for the sacrifice of so many human lives in the cause of freedom. Today, we recollect the horror of war, and we pray for peace between all nations and peoples.
As we reflect upon the inhumanity that human beings constantly show to one another, we might well find ourselves asking the question: ‘Where is the kingdom of God that Jesus claims to be among us now?’
The reality is that the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, God’s beloved, brought us into that kingdom, for the whole of eternity.
At the moment of creation, God created perfection. All that we see in this world was created by God, the one who is perfect. The climax of the act of creation was the moulding of a creature in God’s own, perfect, image … human beings. God set those first human beings in the midst of the paradise, the perfect order, he had created, the Garden of Eden. Sadly, even those first human beings proved to have a capacity to sin and to focus on their own desires in a way that distanced them from God, and caused Paradise to be lost.
Much later in the history of humanity, and after many attempts to bring about a reconciliation between himself and humankind, God took the extreme step of entering this world himself in the form of his Son, Jesus Christ. God did not give up on the humanity he had created in his own image. Instead, God sought to prove that there is a kingdom in which we might all recapture the beauty of the earliest of days.
The Incarnation of Jesus Christ, which we will be celebrating in just a few weeks, was a new chance for all of us, no matter how flawed and imperfect we might be. Jesus came into this world to bring forgiveness, healing and renewal. Jesus came into this world to bring us into the kingdom of God.
But … we are still human, and we still cling on to all the negativity that we have allowed to evolve since the dawn of time. We have become so good at defacing God’s vision for humanity that we have turned destruction and warfare into an ‘art form’. Let us pray that on this day of remembrance we might find the strength to turn our backs on all that is negative and recognize that the kingdom of God is really among us.
Prayers of intercession
We pray for the coming of God’s kingdom.
You sent your Son to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, freedom to captives, and salvation to your people: anoint us with your Spirit; rouse us to work in his name.
Send us to bring help to the poor and freedom to the oppressed.
Send us to tell the world the good news of your healing love.
Send us to those who mourn, to bring joy and gladness instead of grief.
Send us to proclaim that the time is here for you to save your people.
God of mercy, you know us and love us and hear our prayer:
keep us in the eternal fellowship of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
Prayer for the week
you have shown us how great is the price of freedom
by giving your life to deliver us from evil.
Teach us to give to the uttermost;
to respect that which others have secured for us;
and to pursue peace in obedience to your will,
until all the kingdoms of this world come to you
as Lord and Saviour of all.
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.
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.
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