Morning Prayer for Wednesday, 29 July 2020
Good morning, Cornerstone friends.
I feel a bit light headed this week.
I had a haircut at the end of last week and had five months growth taken away.
Are you getting any new experiences or are you still feeling weighed down by the monotony of being stuck at home?
Today, 29 July, is the day we remember our Lord’s close friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha,
so it is a good day for each of us to say thank you to God for our friends
and pray for those who feel friendless.
I have done what is just and right;
O give me not over to my oppressors.
Stand surety for your servant’s good;
let not the proud oppress me.
My eyes fail with watching for your salvation
and for your righteous promise.
O deal with your servant according to your faithful love
and teach me your statutes.
I am your servant; O grant me understanding
that I may know your testimonies.
It is time for you to act, O Lord,
for they frustrate your law.
Therefore I love your commandments
above gold, even much gold.
Therefore I direct my steps by all your precepts
and all false ways I utterly abhor.
Psalm 119: 121–128
O deal with your servant according to your faithful love
O God save us from ourselves,
from double standards and divided hearts,
and give us light and life
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
He [Jesus] also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet, when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all the shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make their nests in its shade.’
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
Mark 4: 30–34
The readings over the last few weeks have been about parables of the kingdom of God from Matthew.
Suddenly we have a reading from Mark for today only, then back to Matthew.
Maybe that is, before we finish thinking about the parables of the kingdom of God,
we need to note that insignificant beginnings can lead to significant (big) outcomes.
We are part of the kingdom of God so need to be aware that little things we do can have consequences for good or otherwise. Nothing is too small to be of value if it is good, or capable of harm if it is not.
The psalm is one of those where the writer/singer is speaking to God
rather like little ones speak to parents when they want a favour:
‘O Daddy, I have been ever so good, can I have ….’
Perhaps that is why the prayer that follows it in Common Worship asks God to save us from double standards and divided hearts. We are all human and have nuanced feelings about lots of things.
That is not bad, it is natural, even inevitable;
but we need to grow up and be aware that even insignificant things have consequences
for ourselves and those with whom we interact and with creation itself.
So we need to ask for grace to be aware of what seeds we may be sowing by our actions.
Can we think this morning of three themes:
Unity, Justice and Mercy.
We pray for the Church and our Ecumenical calling in Central Milton Keynes.
We pray for our Ecumenical Council deliberations this week.
We pray for Revd Ernesto, Revd George and for Father Francis and all the St Barnabas Cluster priests who serve us.
Please remember that neither Ernesto nor George enjoy full health right now.
Pray for all those who are working to keep us all involved in the life of our church in these strange times
and all who are preparing for worship to begin again even in a limited way.
Our faith is not one only of a personal relationship with God;
we are called to be a Christ-like community to love one another and to serve.
We pray for those leaders of our sponsoring denominations
and those called to lead the church throughout the world.
The church is suffering in many areas from poverty and lack of resources as a result of this pandemic.
We pray for the visible unity of the Church.
We celebrate the rich diversity of your people;
may we be compelled to fulfil the prayer of Jesus,
that we may be one and work in harmony to live the Kingdom of God.
Today we ask you, O God; hear our prayers and grants us a passion for unity.
We pray for the world, which seems to operate from very selfish motivations
at international, national and even at times at local level.
Let us pray that men and women of goodwill will speak out and be heard
even when the louder voices come from those seeking division and hatred.
Later today at 7.00 pm, there will be a ‘Facebook Live’ event
hosted by Jon Snow, renowned journalist and Channel Four news anchor,
about the work of Advantage Africa entitled ‘Overcoming Fear and Hunger’.
Let us pray for all those who work for the benefit of others; that their efforts will prosper.
We pray for those who live with injustice.
Encourage us to lift up their voices and strengthen their hope.
We pray for those who continue to perpetuate injustice.
May your loving kindness transform their hearts
and make them agents for freedom and peace.
We pray for every institution and every person who stands for justice.
Let us, each and every one, act according to your words.
Today we ask you, O God; hear our prayer and grant us all your justice.
We remember how much Our Lord valued the friendship of his friends and followers
and today we think of Lazarus, Mary and Martha.
We give thanks for the enrichment of our own lives by close and loving friendships
and we pray for any who feel that they have no friends.
We pray for all those who are ill or who have asked for prayers from our prayer network.
We pray for all those who work to bring healing and relief to those who are sick or needy in any way.
We pray for the many people who are facing redundancy and unemployment
as the period of furlough ends and for all whose lives are disrupted by this pandemic.
We give thanks for the bounty of nature and for food for our daily needs.
For all those who have laboured to provide what we will consume today.
We pray that our society will learn to take only what is necessary from the earth
and to preserve the land, the oceans and the atmosphere which are essential for our survival.
We pray for all those who unselfishly contribute to feed those unable to provide for themselves.
As members of the body of Christ, we are called
to care for the whole of creation;
let us protect the life and beauty of all that God has made.
We thank you for the many colours, cultures and customs of our world.
In our differences, unite us by your love.
Enable us to act together to uphold life
and to make the world a just and peaceful household for all humanity.
Today we ask you, O God; hear our prayer and grant us all your mercy and peace.
May our day bring us joys, so that, when we meet for prayers this evening,
our hearts may be full of thanks to Almighty God.