Morning Prayer Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Good morning, Cornerstone people.

God has prepared this new day for us all. Hope you are not too storm tossed.

O Lord, our governor,
how glorious is your name in all the world!

Your majesty above the heavens is praised.
Out of the mouths of babes at the breast,
you have founded a stronghold against your foes,
that you might still the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have ordained,
what is man, that you should be mindful of him;
the son of man that you should seek him out?

You have made him little lower than the angels
and crown him with glory and honour.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands
and put all things under his feet:
all sheep and oxen,
even the wild beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, the fish of the sea
and whatsoever moves in the paths of the sea.

O Lord, our governor,
how glorious is your name in all the world!

Psalm 8

We bless you, master of the heavens,
for the wonderful order which enfolds the world;
grant us grace to exercise our dominion over your works
that the whole of your creation may find fulfilment
in the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, our Saviour.


Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon, the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, ‘Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.’ But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on me she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’

Matthew 26: 6–13

This incident comes in the last week of activities after our Lord has entered Jerusalem and cleansed the Temple. What follows this passage is the account of Judas meeting the High Priests, the Last Supper and the arrest in the garden. It seems incongruous to place this story here, it is so different to the dramatic events before and after it.

So what then does this story tell us? I am no great biblical scholar, but, subject to correction by those who are, it seems that our Lord was very aware that his trial, suffering and death were very near. The human experience of some other person caring for him will have been more poignant. He clearly wanted to relish it before he was treated otherwise by nearly everyone else, was made to suffer and die for us all.

But why will this person, who is not named, be ‘remembered throughout the world wherever the gospel is preached’? Perhaps to show that love of God can be shown in many ways and by any of us and we have to accept love in different ways from one another. We cannot set limits on love. It has many faces and cannot be limited by a number.

‘Evil has no face, no heart. But what we have, that evil never will have, is love.’

This was said last week, not by a famous person, but by an ordinary lady, Harriet Taylor, telling the criminal court about her loss when her mother was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing. Her mother, Jane Tweddle was there to pick up children of some friends at the end of the concert, and this was typical of this school receptionist, who was ready with a cheerful face, to help anybody. Many told how their lives were shattered, as did Harriet, but she also knew that her love for her mother was not cut off by her death. It had no limits, so she ended with those words.

Let us pray for the church,
for our fellowship keeping together by using technology like we have never done before.
We seem, dear Lord, to have been in this strange and unfamiliar mode of worship for so long.
So we pray for our preparing for being a Church worshipping God again in our building,
yet still keeping together for all who will be unable to join in the city centre.
We hold before you all who are struggling with life at this time,
those who have asked for prayers from our on-line network and those unknown to us.
We pray for those who use our Chapel for private prayer
that all of us may all feel your healing touch.

Lord of heaven and earth, as Jesus taught his disciples to be persistent in prayer,
give us patience and courage never to lose hope,
but always bring our prayers before you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let us pray for the world:

The pandemic has uncovered the plight of the poor
and the great inequality that reigns in the world.
On one hand there is an imperative to find a cure for a small but terrible virus
which is bringing the world to its knees.
On the other hand we must cure a great virus,
that of social injustice, inequality of opportunity,
marginalisation and lack of protection of the weakest.

These words of Pope Francis sum up the position of the world so clearly.
Let us pray for all suffering in health,
those suffering from loss of loved ones,
loss of jobs, loss of homes, for all who feel desolate this morning.
We pray especially for schools preparing for the return of pupils after months away.

A prayer written on the wall of an air raid shelter in England in the Second World War:

Increase, O God, the spirit of neighbourliness among us,
that in peril we may uphold one another,
in calamity serve one another,
in suffering tend one another.
Grant us brave and enduring hearts
that we may strengthen one another,
till the disciplines and testing of these days be ended
and You again give peace in our time.


Go in peace, good friends, and remember:
love, if it is true love, has no measure.

Don Head