O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
you call us to fullness of life:
deliver us from unbelief
and banish our anxieties
with the liberating love
of Jesus Christ our Lord.
His foundation is on the holy mountains.
The Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
Zion, city of our God.
I record Egypt and Babylon as those who know me;
behold Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia:
in Zion were they born.
And of Zion it shall be said, ‘Each one was born in her,
and the Most High himself has established her.’
The Lord will record as he writes up the peoples,
‘This one also was born there.’
And as they dance they shall sing,
‘All my fresh springs are in you.’
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.
When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set towards Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’ But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.
But they did not receive him … Then they went on to another village.
We are living in challenging times, and not those brought on by the Covid pandemic! The Church is struggling with matters of governance and finance. The Church is seeking new ways to bring the Light and Life of Christ into the lives of others. But … as with all change, there is strong resistance. People want things to be as they ‘always have been’. People do not care that the crisis being addressed may mean the end of much that we value in Church life, just as long as what we have is there until the day they die. What a depressing and desperate state of affairs. Such selfishness can only lead to one conclusion: the end of a system that has provided spiritual consolation and support for centuries.
Wherever we are in the world, the Church is struggling with matters of governance and finance. Large numbers of people have been working, and continue to work very hard, to do the best for the Church they love. Sadly, they now find themselves in mortal combat with those who have always kept themselves at a distance from the reality of the situation. Cabals have been formed, factions have broken away, and vocal individuals have bullied whole communities into seeing things their way. The Church is struggling …
In today’s reading we hear of Jesus’ own attempts to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. We hear of him sending messengers to prepare villages for his arrival. Then, we read of those messengers being rejected. The messengers are incensed, they want to see those villages consumed by fire. They want to see God’s vengeance pour down upon them, as we read in the Old Testament. But, that is not Jesus’ way.
Jesus does not seek revenge! Instead, Jesus’ attitude is a model for us all: if they do not want to hear the Good News, that is their choice. But, do not let their rejection distract us from our mission and ministry. Instead, Jesus simply turns from those people and moves on to another village.
As the Church struggles with those daunting issues of governance and finance, we are called to respect the integrity of those who are doing their best. We are not called to join the Samaritans who rejected Jesus’ difficult message. We are called to pray, in humility, and we are called to follow wherever Jesus might lead us. Let us pray for the strength and the courage to do just that … before it is too late!
Prayers of intercession
Let us pray to the Father who loves all races and nations of the world that he has made.
Shield the Church from all pride and love of power, that the gospel may be proclaimed with humility and love for all. Grant perseverance in service to her ministers and to all who have put their hands to the plough of faith.
We pray for any in authority who are tempted to misuse their power over others. May there be justice with mercy through all the world, and peace among the nations.
Preserve us, our families, friends and neighbours from anger and disputes. Let us live together in love and trust. Keep us firm in the faith to which we have been called.
Have compassion on refugees and others who have lost their homes. Be with all whose work brings them into dangerous and hostile places, and shield them from harm.
Receive in mercy the souls who have passed on their way and departed from this world. As their bodies have been laide to rest, grant that their souls shall rise to eternal life.
Looking ever forward in the service of Christ, we make our prayers through him.
Prayer for the week
we pray for all who are any way troubled at this time,
and especially for those known to us.
Give relief to those in pain,
friendship to those who are alone,
reassurance to those in doubt or distress of mind;
and may our love be so strong that seeing need
we may never pass by on the other side.
We ask it in Christ’s name.
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.