Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Proper Prayers for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany (RCL Proper 6C)

Proper Prayers for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany (RCL Proper 5C)

Jeremiah 17.5-10; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15.12-20; Luke 6.17-26

Collect of the Day


Almighty and everliving God, whose Son Jesus Christ healed the sick and restored them to wholeness of life, look with compassion on the anguish of the world, and by your power make whole all peoples and nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen. [1]
or
Living God, in Christ you make all things new.  Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your glory, through Jesus Christ, our Saviourand Lord.  Amen.  [2]
or
God, you root those who trust in you by streams of healing water.  Release us from the bonds of disease, free us from the power of evil, and turn us from falsehood and illusion, so that we may find the blessing of new life in you through the power of Christ.  Amen. [3]
or
God of blessing and woe, disturbing the deadly order of the world: give us faith tested in poverty, hunger for what really satisfies, eyes softened by tears and hearts ready to laugh at all that is false and pompous, so that we might be witnesses to the dignity of life: through Jesus Christ, who turns the world upside down. Amen.  [3]
or
O God, who alone can satisfy our deepest hungers, protect us from the lure of wealth and power; move our hearts to seek first your kingdom, so thatours may be the security and joy of those who place their trust in you.  We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [4]

Prayer over the Gifts


Eternal God, you are the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers, receive all we offer you this day; turn our sickness into health and our sorrow into joy.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.  Amen. [1]
or
Holy God, gracious and merciful, you bring forth food from the earth and nourish your whole creation. Turn our hearts toward those who hunger in any way, so that all may know your care; and prepare us now to feast on the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever.  You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine. Nourish us with these gifts, so that we might for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness  you have blessed us with these gifts:  our selves, our time and our possessions.  Use us, and what we have gathered, in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
God of mercy and grace, the eyes of all wait upon you, and you open your hand in blessing.  Fill us with good things at your table, so that we may come to the help of all in need, through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord. Amen.  [3]
or
Merciful God, as grains of wheat scattered upon the hills were gathered together to become one bread, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, for yours is the glory through Jesus Christ, now and for ever.  Amen. [3]

Proper Preface of the Lord’s Day


Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; you are the source of light and life for all your creation, you made us in your own image, and call us to new life in Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Therefore we praise you, joining our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, who on this first day of the week overcame death and the grave, and by his glorious resurrection opened to us the way of everlasting life. In our unending joy we echo on earth the song of the angels in heaven as we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; by water and the Holy Spirit you have made us a holy people in Jesus Christ our Lord; you renew that mystery in bread and wine and nourish us, to show forth your glory in all the world.  Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the holy people who have served you in every age, we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]

Prayer after Communion


God of tender care, in this eucharist we celebrate your love for us and for all people.  May we show your love in our lives and know its fulfilment in your presence.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.  Amen.  [1]
or
We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life. In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift, in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Son.  By your Spirit strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  [3]
or
God of abundance, with this bread of life and cup of salvation you have united us with Christ, making us one with all your people.  Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, so that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Gracious God, in this meal you have drawn us to your heart, and nourished us at your table with food and drink, the body and blood of Christ.  Now send us forth to be your people in the world, and to proclaim your truth this day and evermore, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
O God, our life, our strength, our food, we give you thanks for sustaining us with the body and blood of your Son.  By your Holy Spirit, enliven us to be his body in the world, so that more and more we will you praise and serve your earth and its many peoples, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
or
O God, you spoke your word and revealed your good news in Jesus the Christ.  Fill all creation with that word again, so that by proclaiming your joyful promises to all nations and singing of your glorious hope to all peoples, we may become one living body, through Jesus Christ who with you and the Holy Spirit live and reign, God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [6 alt.]
or
Holy God, you gather the whole universe into your radiant presence and continually reveal your Son as our Saviour. Bring healing to all wounds, make whole all that is broken, speak truth to all illusion and shed light in every darkness, so that all creation will see your glory and know your Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.  [6 alt.]

Sources


[1]       The Book of Alternative Services 1985
[2]       Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006
[3]       Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion 2016
[4]       Opening Prayers:  Collects in Contemporary Language 1997, 1999, 2001
[5]       Prayers for an Inclusive Church 2009
[6]       Revised Common Lectionary Prayers 2002


N.B.  When a word or phrase appears is italicized in a liturgical text, it is an alteration made by the Ven. Richard Geoffrey Leggett to the original text.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Time and Timelessness: Reflections on Luke 2.22-40 (Presentation of the Lord, 3 February 2019)

Time and Timelessness
Reflections on Luke 2.22-40

Presentation of the Lord
3 February 2019

Holy Trinity Cathedral
New Westminster BC


                  2.22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

                  25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.  26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

                  33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.  34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed — and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

                  36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four.  She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day.  38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

                  39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.  40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

            One of the deepest mysteries we encounter in our lives is the mystery of time.  We are aware of time both as something that can be measured and as something that transcends measurement.  Even as we calculate seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades and centuries, we area aware that certain moments of our lives are timeless, moments when it seems the earth stops spinning on its axis and pauses in its journey around the sun.

            The writers of the New Testament scriptures used two different words to describe our experience of time.  Chronoswas used to describe measurable time.  This word lives on when we speak of chronologyor chronometersor chronic.  The other word they used was kairosKairosmeans the ‘right time’ or ‘kingdom time’ or ‘a quality of time’. Jesus uses this word many times in the gospels when he is speaking about the coming of the reign of God at the ‘right’ time or in ‘God’s’ good time.’

            These two aspects of time come to the fore in today’s gospel. Mary and Joseph come to the Temple at the ‘appointed’ time, forty days after Jesus’ birth --- chronos.  Simeon and Anna come to the Temple to participate in the appointed times for prayer and sacrifice --- chronos. But all four are soon to have an experience of kairos, a moment when God’s promised reign, long-awaited by the Jewish people, will break in upon them. Time will stand still and ‘the dawn from on high will break upon [them]’.  

            For Simeon and Anna their patience in waiting to see the fulfillment of God’s promise to send the Messiah will be rewarded.  They will hold in their arms the living, breathing embodiment of God’s covenant with the people of Israel.  In this child the promises God made to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham and to Moses are honoured and the future secured.

            For Mary and Joseph their faithfulness and courage in saying ‘yes’ to God’s heavenly messengers is affirmed.  Their child will be ‘a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to [God’s] people Israel’.  In this child ancient walls of prejudice will be torn down and all of humanity will have the opportunity to know the Holy One of Israel, the Author of creation, the Source of all life and love.  At the same time God speaks through Simeon to warn Mary and Joseph --- and to you and me --- that believing that Jesus is the Messiah will bring sorrow and conflict as well as joy and reconciliation.  Time stands still, if only for a moment, and then chronospulls the Holy Family and the disciples of Jesus away to follow a path that will lead to the cross and the resurrection.

            Today we join Simeon and Anna, Mary and Joseph, in the mystery of God’s kairosrevealed in our chronos.  Sunday has come again and forty days have past since our Christmas celebrations. The pages of our calendars, whether digital or print, have turned to follow the rhythm of chronos, some might even say the tyranny of chronos.  By noon today most  if not all of us will be gone and doing whatever our diaries tell us needs to be done. It will be just another Sunday in Metro Vancouver.

            Or will it be just another Sunday?  Is it possible that in the midst of our chronosGod’s kairosmight slip in to surprise us?  Perhaps there will be someone here among us for the first time to be a light to us.  Perhaps some word or phrase in a prayer or a hymn or a reading from the scriptures will catch our attention and be glory to us.  All we have done before today, all our regularity in worship, all our familiarity with the faces and the customs of this community, so measured, so predictable, have prepared us to be surprised by grace, to be drawn out of earthly time into the timelessness of God’s reign.

            The candles we bless today are tokens, reminders that the Light that enlightens the whole creation comes unexpectedly.  Like Simeon and Anna, like Mary and Joseph, we do what is appointedin the hope that the ordinary chronosof our lives will be disrupted and transformed by the extraordinary kairosof God.

            So be ready.  Be prepared. For the time may just be a-changing into the timelessness of God.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Suggested Prayers for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany (RCL Proper 4C --- 3 February 2019)

Proper Prayers for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany (RCL Proper 4C)

Jeremiah 1.4-10; Psalm 71.1-6; 1 Corinthians 13.1-13; Luke 4.21-30

Collect of the Day


Living God, in Christ you make all things new.  Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, now and for ever.  Amen. [1]
or
Almighty and ever-living God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope and love; and so thatwe may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [2]
or
Provoking God, calling us through the face of the Other:  free our fickle hearts from our need to divide and exclude both the foreign and the misfit; lead us through the storms of rage to a clear and new beginning; through Jesus Christ, whom hatred cannot touch.  Amen. [3]
or
Loving God, who has formed us and known us from our mother's womb, may we discern your call to us, so that we may recognize your call to others.  In the name of him who calls us from our homes to the ends of the earth.  Amen.  [3]
or
Prophetic God, strengthen and encourage us to hear those who speak your uncomfortable truths and who challenge our dearest prejudices, so that we may know and heed prophets of our age; through Jesus, the son of Joseph.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of salvation, in your Prophet, Jesus the Christ, you announce freedom and summon us to conversion.  As we marvel at the grace and power of your word, enlighten us to see the beauty of the gospel and strength us to embrace its demands.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [4]
or
O God of all the prophets, you knew us and chose us in the womb.  Fill us with faith that speaks your word, hope that does not disappoint, and love that bears all things for your sake, until that day when we shall know you fully, even as we are known by you who lives and reigns with the Word and the Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [6 alt.]

Prayer over the Gifts


God of steadfast love, may our offering this day, by the power of your Holy Spirit, renew us for your service. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.   Amen.  [1]
or
Holy God, gracious and merciful, you bring forth food from the earth and nourish your whole creation.  Turn our hearts toward those who hunger in any way, so that all may know your care; and prepare us now to feast on the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever.  You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine.  Nourish us with these gifts, so that we might for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.  [3]
or
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness  you have blessed us with these gifts:  our selves, our time and our possessions.  Use us, and what we have gathered, in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
God of mercy and grace, the eyes of all wait upon you, and you open your hand in blessing.  Fill us with good things at your table, so that we may come to the help of all in need, through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
Merciful God, as grains of wheat scattered upon the hills were gathered together to become one bread, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, for yours is the glory through Jesus Christ, now and for ever.  Amen. [3]

Proper Preface of the Lord’s Day


Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; you are the source of light and life for all your creation, you made us in your own image, and call us to new life in Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Therefore we praise you, joining our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, who on this first day of the week overcame death and the grave, and by his glorious resurrection opened to us the way of everlasting life. In our unending joy we echo on earth the song of the angels in heaven as we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; by water and the Holy Spirit you have made us a holy people in Jesus Christ our Lord; you renew that mystery in bread and wine and nourish us, to show forth your glory in all the world.  Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the holy people who have served you in every age, we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]

Prayer after Communion


Source of all goodness, in this eucharist we are nourished by the bread of heaven and invigorated with new wine. May these gifts renew our lives, so thatwe may show your glory to all the world, in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.  Amen.  [1]
or
We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life.  In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift, in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Son.  By your Spirit strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  [3]
or
God of abundance, with this bread of life and cup of salvation you have united us with Christ, making us one with all your people.  Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, so that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Gracious God, in this meal you have drawn us to your heart, and nourished us at your table with food and drink, the body and blood of Christ.  Now send us forth to be your people in the world, and to proclaim your truth this day and evermore, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
O God, our life, our strength, our food, we give you thanks for sustaining us with the body and blood of your Son.  By your Holy Spirit, enliven us to be his body in the world, so that more and more we will you praise and serve your earth and its many peoples, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
or
O God, you spoke your word and revealed your good news in Jesus the Christ.  Fill all creation with that word again, so that by proclaiming your joyful promises to all nations and singing of your glorious hope to all peoples, we may become one living body, through Jesus Christ who with you and the Holy Spirit live and reign, God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [6 alt.]
or
Holy God, you gather the whole universe into your radiant presence and continually reveal your Son as our Saviour. Bring healing to all wounds, make whole all that is broken, speak truth to all illusion and shed light in every darkness, so that all creation will see your glory and know your Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.  [6 alt.]

Sources


[1]       The Book of Alternative Services 1985
[2]       Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006
[3]       Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion 2016
[4]       Opening Prayers:  Collects in Contemporary Language 1997, 1999, 2001
[5]       Prayers for an Inclusive Church 2009
[6]       Revised Common Lectionary Prayers 2002


N.B.  When a word or phrase appears is italicized in a liturgical text, it is an alteration made by the Ven. Richard Geoffrey Leggett to the original text.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Today in Your Hearing: Reflections on Luke 4.14-30 (RCL Epiphany 3C, 27 January 2019)

Today in Your Hearing
Reflections on Luke 4.14-30

RCL Epiphany 3C
27 January 2019

Holy Trinity Cathedral

Luke 4.14-21

                  4.14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.  15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

                  16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom.  He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.  He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:  18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

                  20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.  The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.  They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”  23He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’  And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’ ”  24And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.  25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.  27There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”  28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.  29They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.  30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

            In 1738 a young Anglican priest by the name of John Wesley returned home to England after a disappointing experience as a missionary in the American colonies.  It would be fair to say that his confidence was at an all-time low and he had begun to question his vocation and his future as a priest.  While he was in London, Wesley was encouraged by friends to attend worship with the Moravian Brethren, a movement within Lutheranism which had a chapel in London serving the German-speaking community of residents and visitors.  On the evening of the 24thof May 1738, Wesley recorded his ‘Aldersgate experience’.

"In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans.  About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.  I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

This was the pivotal moment of revelation and conversion that transformed the disheartened Wesley into the man we now know as the founder of the Methodist movement.

            At an early point in his public ministry Jesus travelled to Nazareth, the town in which he had been raised.  He entered the synagogue and was invited to read the appointed reading from the prophets.  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” Jesus read, “because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” After sitting down, Jesus said to the assembly, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”[1]

            Most of the people in the synagogue that day were amazed, not necessarily because they believed him, but because he was a local boy.  How often had they heard him read the appointed lesson while he was growing up?  For that matter, how often had they heard that same text?  Perhaps they had grown deaf and no longer expected the prophetic text to be fulfilled.  It was, after all, the lectionary text for the day, nothing more.

            My own ‘Aldersgate experience’ of revelation and conversion occurred to me in the summer of 1995.  I was in Ottawa attending the General Synod and, at the last moment, was asked to preach and preside in a three-point parish that I was to visit on Sunday.  I should tell that the General Synod of 1995 was one of the first General Synods to engage in serious and difficult debate about the place of gay and lesbian disciples of Christ in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada.  It was a stressful time and, in the midst of the debates and discussions, I was trying to prepare a sermon for that coming Sunday which just happened to be Pentecost.

            What I learned during that time of debate, discussion and preparation was the power of just reading the Scriptures out loud and letting the words settle into my heart and mind.  Like Wesley my heart was strangely warmed and God’s word was broken open like a fragrant loaf of freshly baked bread.  It was a revelation that changed my perception of what God was doing and is doing in the church and in the world.  When I spoke of that revelation on Sunday and during Synod, I lost friends and, in some circles, my ‘good’ reputation.  But I have no regrets.

            When the reader proclaims the texts appointed for the day, it is tempting to forget that he or she is speaking God’s Word to us.  Like the people in the synagogue in Nazareth, we have heard all of this before; the words can roll off the surface of our minds and hearts like rain rolling off the roof of a building.  Yet, we never know when there is someone sitting next to us, in front of us, behind us --- dare I say, in us --- who need to hear the Word of God again --- for the first time. 

            To proclaim the words of the scriptures is to release the power of the Word of God into our midst.  The readers and the preacher stand before us, small in stature, a known quantity, familiar figures.  Within their grasp lies the power to free the Word from the texts that sometimes imprisons it, so that the heart of some one sitting near to us may be “strangely warmed” and God’s new creation begins again to work its transformation of our loneliness, our despair, our fear.

            It has been the Anglican way to use a lectionary to determine the readings of the day or to provide appropriate readings for various occasions.  We tend to restrict the freedom of the presider or preacher to decide on the scriptural texts that will be set before the people. In choosing a lectionary approach Anglicans make clear that the reading of the scriptures is too important to be left in the hands of an individual.  The scriptures belong to the community and it is the community’s responsibility, using various agents and agencies, to determine the texts to be laid before us and broken open for our nurture and formation.

            For this reason Anglicans have been loathe to omit a sermon or a homily or some reflection on the text or texts read on a given occasion.  There are many Christians in the world today who know what the Bible says.  There are fewer who have reflected upon and be trained to comment on what the Bible means.  All of us intuitively recognize the importance of context in human communication. Often we will respond to a statement or questions by asking, “What do you mean by that?”  Likewise, the Scriptures have a theological, historical, social, cultural, and literary context that influences what is meant by what is said.  It is to the preacher that the responsibility falls to help us move from the surface of the text into the depths of its meaning.

            All of this has but one end:  giving the Spirt the opportunity to reveal and to convert those who hear the word of God. We are here to listen attentively to the voices of Scripture.  Those voices may lead me as the preacher in a particular direction, while those same voices may lead you to explore different avenues.  The words that may leave my heart cool may well be the words that leave your heart ‘strangely warmed’.  A word or phrase may embed itself in your heart and mind, causing you to ponder what God is asking you to become and to do.  

            There is a well-known collect that bears remembering today.  “Eternal God, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning, grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever.  Amen.”

            Read.  Mark. Learn.  Inwardly digest these words.  Today they have been fulfilled in your hearing.



[1]Cf. Luke 4.16-21.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Proper Prayers for the Third Sunday after Epiphany Year C (27 January 2019)

Proper Prayers for the Third Sunday after Epiphany (Year C)

Nehemiah 8.1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12.12-31a; Luke 4.14-21

Collect of the Day


Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service. Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen. [1]
or
Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people.  Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, so that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [2]
or
God of all mercy, your Son proclaimed good news to the poor, release to the captives, and freedom to the oppressed:  anoint us with your Holy Spirit, so that all people may be free to praise you in Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of freedom, make us impatient to greet the time fulfilled, the poor lifted up, the oppressed set free and your love made manifest in Jesus Christ, the Anointed Servant. Amen.  [3]
or
Lord God, whose compassion embraces all peoples, whose law is wisdom, freedom and joy for the poor, fulfil in our midst your promise of favour, so thatwe may receive the gospel of salvation with faith and, anointed by the Spirit, freely proclaim it.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [4 alt.]
or
In you, O Lord our God, we find our joy, for through your law and your prophets you formed a people in mercy and freedom, in justice and righteousness. Pour your Spirit on us today, so thatwe who are Christ’s body may bear the good news of your ancient promises to all who seek you.  We ask this in the name of Christ and in the power of the Spirit.  Amen. [6 alt.]

Prayer over the Gifts


Loving God, before the world began you called us.  Make holy all we offer you this day, and strengthen us in that calling. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.   Amen.  [1]
or
Holy God, gracious and merciful, you bring forth food from the earth and nourish your whole creation.  Turn our hearts toward those who hunger in any way, so that all may know your care; and prepare us now to feast on the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever.  You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine.  Nourish us with these gifts, so that we might for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness  you have blessed us with these gifts:  our selves, our time and our possessions.  Use us, and what we have gathered, in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
God of mercy and grace, the eyes of all wait upon you, and you open your hand in blessing.  Fill us with good things at your table, so that we may come to the help of all in need, through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Merciful God, as grains of wheat scattered upon the hills were gathered together to become one bread, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, for yours is the glory through Jesus Christ, now and for ever.  Amen.  [3]

Proper Preface of the Lord’s Day


Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; you are the source of light and life for all your creation, you made us in your own image, and call us to new life in Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Therefore we praise you, joining our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, who on this first day of the week overcame death and the grave, and by his glorious resurrection opened to us the way of everlasting life.  In our unending joy we echo on earth the song of the angels in heaven as we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; by water and the Holy Spirit you have made us a holy people in Jesus Christ our Lord; you renew that mystery in bread and wine and nourish us, to show forth your glory in all the world. Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the holy people who have served you in every age, we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]

Prayer after Communion


Gracious God, our hands have taken holy things; our lives have been nourished by the body of your Son.  May we who have eaten at this holy table be strengthened for service in your world. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.  Amen.  [1]
or
We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life.  In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift, in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Son.  By your Spirit strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of abundance, with this bread of life and cup of salvation you have united us with Christ, making us one with all your people.  Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, so that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Gracious God, in this meal you have drawn us to your heart, and nourished us at your table with food and drink, the body and blood of Christ.  Now send us forth to be your people in the world, and to proclaim your truth this day and evermore, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
O God, our life, our strength, our food, we give you thanks for sustaining us with the body and blood of your Son.  By your Holy Spirit, enliven us to be his body in the world, so that more and more we will you praise and serve your earth and its many peoples, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
or
O God, you spoke your word and revealed your good news in Jesus the Christ.  Fill all creation with that word again, so that by proclaiming your joyful promises to all nations and singing of your glorious hope to all peoples, we may become one living body, through Jesus Christ who with you and the Holy Spirit live and reign, God for ever and ever.  Amen. [6 alt.]
or
Holy God, you gather the whole universe into your radiant presence and continually reveal your Son as our Saviour.  Bring healing to all wounds, make whole all that is broken, speak truth to all illusion and shed light in every darkness, so that all creation will see your glory and know your Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.  [6 alt.]

Sources


[1]       The Book of Alternative Services1985
[2]       Evangelical Lutheran Worship2006
[3]       Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion2016
[4]       Opening Prayers:  Collects in Contemporary Language1997, 1999, 2001
[5]       Prayers for an Inclusive Church2009
[6]       Revised Common Lectionary Prayers2002


N.B.  When a word or phrase appears is italicized in a liturgical text, it is an alteration made by the Ven. Richard Geoffrey Leggett to the original text.