Morning Prayers Friday, 31 August 2020
Good morning, people of God.
We have arrived at the end of another week and another month.
Let’s begin the day in thanks for the light and set aside some moments to connect with God
and the new opportunities brought by this Friday.
Great is your love in bringing me safely through the night and into the light of this morning.
I don’t know what will happen today but I’m sure you will watch over me.
I hand to you all that I will be and say, aiming only to do what makes you smile.
Last year we travelled to Istanbul in celebration of our 35th wedding anniversary. We stayed in the historic centre and about ten minutes’ walk from the front door was the Hagia Sophia Museum. The site of the Holy Wisdom Basilica had been a place of Christian worship since about 360, with the current building dedicated in 537. It was the home of the Eastern Christian Church and the place where the synod meetings and international diplomacy took place alongside worship. Visiting the place made you aware that this is holy ground despite 1700 years of wear and tear. The Ottoman conquest of 1453 added some necessary items for Muslim worship but the simple beauty of the original building is still there. Despite the graffiti of the Vikings and the chisels that removed crosses and the rather noisy tourists, the atmosphere of a special spiritual place was obvious and welcome. Being declared a museum in 1935 made it into a holy place, a separate, secular space but still one to encounter God. It would be very sad if this experience were taken from the world and reserved only for a specific kind of worship.
Lord, we pray for places around the world and in our community
where faith and devotion are used as tools of division and exclusion,
where it is easier to create a bubble of holiness rather than seek common ground,
where hospitality and philanthropy are competitive rather than co-operative.
May our Christianity celebrate Ecumenism
and our common humanity breach the divisions between faiths.
In another month or so our Cornerstone Church will re-open.
We should consider carefully how we can lead visitors to an encounter with God in our Ecumenical setting.
We should think about how our holy place in the centre of our city can be a marker on the pathway to Christ for the world.
David Moore’s sermon last Sunday reminded me of Ephesians 2: 13–22:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2: 13–22 NIV®
As Paul says, we are all one in the household of God.
We give thanks for the care and friendship of our Cornerstone fellowship:
the Prayer Network, Pastoral Workers, stewards and servers, readers and preachers and worship leaders.
We pray especially for Pat Tilley, Martha and Joan and Eric Allen, members of our family.
Lord grant us all grace to embrace the excitement of a new day
and new ways of being Christlike, together and apart.
Lord, we pray for people stricken with the virus and its effects –
people in slow recovery from sickness,
people living in fear of pandemic,
people who mourn for lives cut short.
Hold them close, give them courage, revive their hope.
Lord, strengthen your people whose spiritual base is Christ the Cornerstone.
Help us make it a place of solace and encounter,
a place of unity in purpose and diversity of contribution.
Help us grasp this day with both hands and dedicate all our action to you.
On this fresh Friday, as members of your family, in the name of Christ we rejoice and pray.