O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
send down upon your Church
the riches of your Spirit,
and kindle in all who minister the gospel
your countless gifts of grace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O give thanks to the Lord and call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises,
and tell of all his marvellous works.
Rejoice in the praise of his holy name;
let the hearts of them rejoice who seek the Lord.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his face continually.
Remember the marvels he has done,
his wonders and the judgements of his mouth,
O seed of Abraham his servant,
O children of Jacob his chosen.
He is the Lord our God;
his judgements are in all the earth.
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 said to the twelve, ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.’
Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.
Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus modelled what it means to be open and honest. Jesus was true to his calling for every moment of his human incarnation. As Jesus spoke God’s truth he found himself repeatedly coming into conflict with the religious authorities, but he was not deterred, he carried on proclaiming God’s truth. Jesus also showed us the value of an open and honest prayerful relationship with his, and our, heavenly Father.
Sadly, we struggle to emulate Jesus’ honesty in our everyday lives. We are reluctant to be fully open and honest with any of the different communities with which we engage. We are not even fully open and honest with ourselves. We may not be intentionally dishonest, but we like to gloss over the embarrassing, the inconvenient and the challenging … and we are similarly evasive with ourselves. Some of the saddest accounts of human self-destruction can be traced back to the creation of layer upon layer of dishonesty and self-delusion. The words I have chosen from today’s reading should be seen as an encouragement rather than an admonition. Jesus urges us to live a life of honest faith in God because God can never be deceived. Before God: nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.
There are very few who respond to the calling to a life in public service who set out with anything other than the most honourable of intentions. But, for many, those honourable intentions crumble as the path of secrecy and deception becomes more attractive than the path of openness and honesty. Eventually, self-interest and self-obsession is exposed and that which was honourable and good is swept aside.
God calls us to trust him with our innermost secrets and confidences, because they are known to him anyway. God wants our true selves to be celebrated, because it those true selves that reflect the God in whose image we were created. Anything less diminishes God and distances us from him.
Let us pray for the courage and the strength to take our whole selves to God, confident in the love and grace he pours into our lives. Let us pray that we might ever rejoice in the individuality God has bestowed upon us.
Prayers of intercession
As faithful disciples, let us pray to our Lord and Master for the Church and for the world.
Give to the Church grace to fearlessly proclaim the words of life. Send your strength to overcome our weakness, so that all Christian people may be valiant for the truth in the face of scorn and indifference.
Where selfishness makes people cling to false values, reveal the way of peace through the death of self. Give freedom from the sin that diminishes fullness of life.
Bless us, our families, friends and neighbours, with the spirit of mutual care. As servants of our Master, let us be servants of one another, unselfish in our relationships, seeking the common good.
Have mercy on those who are persecuted for their faith. Give them courage in their trials and grace to be constant in their service. Pardon and restore those who have been driven by suffering to deny their Master.
We give thanks for those who took up their cross and followed their Master in this life and have now passed to eternal life with him. May the light of heaven shine upon them as they rise in glory.
May Christ our Lord be now and always acknowledged in our prayers.
Prayer for the week
grant us anew your grace,
that we may love as you love us,
without selfishness, without ulterior motive
and without desire for gain,
that our worship may be pure,
our prayers honest
and our lives upright in your sight,
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.