Prayers at home for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity.
In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God, and God abides in them. We love because he first loved us.
(1 John 4)
Heavenly Father, help us now,
to celebrate your love shown in the life of Jesus.
Following his example may we learn from your truth,
trust in your grace and grow strong in your service
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Jesus said, “ You shall love the Lord you God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
So we confess that we have often failed to love God and our neighbour…….
Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned,
in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
Collect and Readings.
O God, you declare your almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity: mercifully grant us such a measure of your grace, that we, running the way of your commandments, may receive your gracious promises, and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Isaiah 51 : 1-6
Romans 12 :1-8
Matthew 16 : 13-20
Affirmation of Faith
We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named.
We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us
with power from on high.
We believe in one God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen (from Ephesians 3)
God our Father we bring to you the needs of all your people…
We pray for all who govern the nations of the world and think particularly of those places where there is war or civil unrest. We remember too people divided by national enmity, religious intolerance or racial prejudice….
Lord Jesus where there is hatred let us sow love.
We pray for families and for employers and employees, remembering especially families, communities and workplaces where relationships have broken down…..
Lord Jesus where there is injury, let us sow pardon.
We pray for those who teach the Christian faith and for the life of our church. We think especially of those whose faith is being sorely tested at this time….
Lord Jesus, where there is doubt, let us sow faith.
We pray for all those who are overshadowed by loss or loneliness. We pray for those who are sick or in need, for their families and friends, their doctors, nurses and carers…
Lord Jesus, where there is despair, let us bring hope.
We think of ourselves and of our half-hearted attempts to serve you…..
Lord Jesus make us channels of your peace and witnesses of your Kingdom. Amen
(You might like to make the Act of Spiritual Communion now)
Loving Father, sustain us with your Spirit, that we may love and serve you here on earth until our joy is complete in heaven and we share in the eternal banquet with Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen
Matthew 16 : 13-20
Names are always significant in the Bible. They tell us a great deal about the role that a person is asked to play in the unfolding plan of salvation. Huge importance is given to the naming of Jesus and his cousin John the Baptist in the Gospel according to St. Luke. One of the pivotal moments in the Old Testament is when Moses asks God for his name and God appears to evade the question. To know someones name is to have power over them and no one can have power over God.
In the Jewish tradition even God’s elusive answer to Moses, often translated as “I am who I am”, is never spoken aloud. In today’s Gospel Reading Jesus asks the disciples about his own identity. He asks first who the crowd think he is. The replies are those from the past, important characters who heralded momentous shifts in the history of salvation. But Jesus then asks the disciples who they think he is, much more direct and resonant of God’s elusive self-disclosure to Moses. Simon Peter answers “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus is recognised and named for who he is. It is a turning point in his mission and a crucial change in our understanding of the nature of God. God no longer keeping himself apart, jealously guarding his identity. But revealing himself as one like us. The immediate sequel to today’s story is the proclamation by Jesus of his journey towards suffering and death. For his faith, Peter is especially blessed by Jesus and given a new name, the rock, a source of strength and authority for the new community of the newly revealed Christ.
Whatever our position or role in the Church our starting point is the same as Peter and the other disciples. We have to answer the same question that Jesus put to them. Who do we say Jesus is? We must answer not just with minds but also with the heart. God is constantly revealing himself to us and emptying himself for us in the person of his Son. If we have the faith to do that then we receive a new name too. What name does Jesus give us? Who does he say that we are? We are all his followers but as Saint Paul points out (Romans 12 : 1-8) the good of the church and the growth of the kingdom require that we have a clear idea of what our individual contribution is.
It is not just the clergy who are called and named in this way. All the baptised are called by God. Through daily prayer and reflection and the help of those who know us well the Holy Spirit helps us discern how we are to live that calling out in our everyday lives. We each have a unique contribution to make, something perhaps no one else can do. Our name is known to God and He calls us to live out that name in the fullest way in the service of the kingdom.
“God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me that he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I will be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good. I shall do his work………..He knows what he is about”
Saint John Henry Newman