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.
Psalm 33.1-4, 18-22
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
for it is good for the just to sing praises.
Praise the Lord with the lyre;
on the ten-stringed harp sing his praise.
Sing for him a new song;
play skilfully, with shouts of praise.
For the word of the Lord is true
and all his works are sure.
Behold, the eye of the Lord
is upon those who fear him,
on those who wait in hope for his steadfast love,
To deliver their soul from death
and to feed them in time of famine.
Our soul waits longingly for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
Indeed, our heart rejoices in him;
in his holy name have we put our trust.
Let your loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us,
as we have set our hope on 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.
Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.”’
As you go, proclaim the good news.
At the end of every service of Holy Communion there are these words of dismissal: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, or Go in the peace of Christ. These alternative endings have one key word in common: ‘Go!’ However, if we pause and think about what usually happens at this moment you might be forgiven for wondering why the priest bothered with these exciting and energising words. Rather than engaging with this commission and rushing off to proclaim the Good News through love and service, almost everyone sits or kneels again. As they sit or kneel they look about wondering when they might acceptably get up and share the tittle-tattle of daily life. The service is ended, and that’s that!
Today’s reading reminds us of the force and vitality of the words of dismissal used at the end of our communion services. Jesus gathered twelve ordinary men around him. Those close companions were both disciples and apostles. As apostles they were charged with proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ, just as we are charged to go and proclaim that same Good News.
Like the twelve companions of Jesus we are enriched with his teaching. We draw close to him in prayer. We are fed with the divine food that empowers us to love and serve as he did when he walked this earth. But, there is a question we all need to ponder. Jesus’ first disciples were taught by Jesus, just as they prayed and ate with him, and then they responded with joy and an enthusiastic sharing of the Good News. As they were commissioned by Jesus to go and proclaim, their first response was not to sit down and think about it. They got up and went.
There is, of course, a great physicality in the response of Jesus’ disciples. For some that physicality is not possible. But we live in a different time. We live in a time when we are presented with many different ways of proclaiming the Good News. It is our responsibility to set aside our hesitancy and get on with it!
Let us pray that we might hear Jesus’ call in our lives and respond in joy. Let us pray that we might feel the power of the Holy Spirit rushing through our minds and bodies. Let us pray that we might go and proclaim the good news!
Prayers of intercession
Let us pray for the Church entrusted to the Disciples and the world into which they were sent.
As Jesus called the twelve to be disciples, make all members of the Church faithful followers in the way that he taught. Strengthen the hope and love that belong to Christian people.
By the Holy Spirit, bring the radiance of your love into the hearts of all who do not know you. Make the Gospel known to those who wander as lost sheep in the world.
Open our eyes to recognise the needs of others who come close to us. As we go on our way, fill us with desire to speak the good news of the Kingdom.
Relieve and comfort those who suffer from any kind of sickness. Empower those who care for them. Give new hope to those who have lost it through distress of body or mind.
As the living receive your divine compassion in their suffering, grant mercy to those who have died and gather them into your eternal Kingdom.
Called to labour for the Lord, we pray that all we do and say may be truly in his name.
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.