Prayers and Reflection for at home for the Solemnity of Ss Peter & Paul.

Prayers and Reflection for at home for the Solemnity of Ss Peter & Paul.

After Eastertide and several major feast days we now celebrate the
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul before returning to the
regular Sundays of the Trinity season. We pray that their faith
and courage will be an example to us at this difficult time.

In the name of the the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Acclamation
We praise you O God,
we acclaim you as the Lord.
The glorious band of the apostles,
the noble company of prophets,
the white-robed army who shed their blood for Christ,
all sing your praise.
And to the ends of the earth
your holy Church acclaims her faith in you.
Father, whose majesty is boundless,
your true and only Son, who is to be adored,
the Holy Spirit sent to be our Advocate.
You redeemed your people by your precious blood,
Come, we implore you to our aid.
Grant us with the saints a place in eternal glory. (from the Te Deum)

Penitence
“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
(Hebrews 12:1)
Almighty God our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you and against our neighbour in thought and word and deed, through negligence, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive us all that is past and grant that we may serve you in newness of life to the glory of your name. Amen

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

Collect and Readings
Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you in their death as in their life: grant that your Church, inspired by their teaching and example, and made one by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the same Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Acts 12 : 1-11
Psalm 33 : 2-9
2 Timothy 4 : 6-8, 17, 18
Matthew 16 : 13-19

Affirmation of Faith
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth: and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead, he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

Intercessions
We pray to Christ who built his Church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets…
Simon the fisherman was called by you to be a fisher of men, we ask you to call others today to share in his task. We pray especially for all being ordained at this time.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
When the disciples feared that the ship was sinking, you commanded the sea and there was calm: protect your Church in the present difficulties and give her the peace that the world can not give…
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
After the resurrection you gathered your church around Peter: gather all your people now into the unity for which you prayed….
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
You sent Paul to be the apostle to the nations: let your good news be preached today to all creation.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
You committed to your apostles the ministry of healing and reconciliation: may all in need know your healing touch and the consolation of your presence.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
You entrusted the keys of the kingdom to your Church: open the gates of life to the departed who put their trust in you.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Our Father…
(Act of Spiritual Communion.)
Almighty and ever-living God, you give us the great joy of devoting this day to the honour of the apostles Peter and Paul. Grant that your Church may follow their teaching to the full, because these are the men who first taught you to worship you in Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Reflection for the Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul.

Simon Peter answered, “ You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”.

When Jesus asks the disciples who they think he is, there is more than just a name at stake. It is not just a matter of identity but destiny. The wider community recognises something of Jesus’ godliness and prophetic stance comparing him to Elijah and John the Baptist, but Peter takes things a step further. He proclaims Jesus as God’s own Son , the long-awaited messiah.
In return Jesus blesses Peter and declares who he is to become in God’s purposes. Simon becomes Peter, the rock, a description of the strategic purpose he would play in establishing the kingdom community on earth.
It would not be an easy calling. There would be times when this former fisherman would feel “all at sea”, misunderstanding his master and betraying his truest friend. But however much out of his depth he felt, God would always hold Peter secure, enabling him to exercise inspired church leadership, unlocking the kingdom for those once considered beyond its’ reach.

Echos of Peter’s call are found in the life of his fellow apostle, Paul. From a completely different background in terms of religious pedigree and secular privilege, Paul is also questioned by Jesus, “ Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Paul’s ultimate acknowledgement that Jesus was the one who called for his worship not his hatred, led to such a profound redirection in his life that it also called for a new name. Self-important Saul becomes “Paul”, which means “little”, small in the worlds eyes that he might grow in the stature of heaven.

For Peter and Paul, even the confines of prison, could not deprive them of the freedom they had found by declaring Jesus to be the Son of God.

Christianity is not about adherence to a religion. It is about a relationship with Jesus Christ. Like Peter we proclaim him as Son of God, the one who has overcome darkness through his death and resurrection, and who desires to breathe new life into us through his Spirit. To call Jesus a good man or even a prophet is incomplete. Only the name Saviour will suffice.
When we affirm who Jesus is we also discover who we are. We are given abundant life in him, so our true identity lies in his service. Proclaiming our faith has to be followed through by persisting in obedience. That involves our skills, talents and experience being re-directed into new avenues. Discovering gifts we never knew we had, brought to light through the work of the Spirit within us. Peter once a fisherman becomes a “fisher of men”; Paul a learned pharisee used his knowledge of scripture to point people towards the Lordship of Jesus.
In the Bible then a name is not just a label, but a job description, the name Jesus means “God saves”; Simon becomes Peter – the “Rock”; Saul becomes Paul – a “small” servant of a great king. How would the Lord re-name us as he calls us to work for his Kingdom on earth at this time?