Category Archives: Christianity

Intercession Prayer for Sunday 14th January 2018

The Second Sunday of Epiphany.


Audio expires after approximately 90 days.

Father who gave us the perfect gift of love, in Your son, we thank You that Your love is renewed every day. Let Jesus light brighten the dark places of our minds and of this world. In His light, show us how to build Your kingdom of peace and justice for everyone of all faiths or none and that hope becomes action toward that goal.

You called Samual as a child, yet he did not know who was calling him. Like Eli enlightened Samuel to Your call, show each of us how in our own way, and in the most appropriate way for people we encounter we can enlighten those who do not hear, or do not know who is calling them.

We pray for those who died at sea on the Sanchi oil tanker, when it collided with a cargo vessel. May they find peace with You Father and their families and those who loved them feel your comforting support and from it draw strength. We pray too for the environment, that oil the Sanchi was carrying does not cause pollution to the sea and contamination of the environment.

For America, we pray for the families of the dead in the mudslides in California. God above give comfort the their families, strength to the aid workers, healing to the injured, wisdom to the medics treating them and generosity to communities helping those now without homes.

We pray for all homeless wherever they may be and whatever the cause of their homelessness. May they be found warmth and shelter especially at this cold time of year. Help too those struggling to find work or relying on food banks.

We pray for everyone of faith wherever they may be. Where they are small in number, oppressed or persecuted, give them strength and encouragement. Where there is doubt, help them find certainty and where there is danger, help them find courage.

We pray for the injured and unwell, distressed and anxious, those coping with poor mental health and the bereaved that they may find healing and relief. Guide medical staff of hospitals and care homes. Bless carers whose love and compassion brings Your blessing to those in their care. We pray for those awaiting treatment and we bring to You those in need of Your support, comfort and healing known and unknown to us.

Almighty God and Father, let us live by Your justice and may Your light show us the way and lead us when it is hard to see.

Merciful Father Accept this prayer for the sake of Your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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Sunday

What does Sunday mean to you?

Visit the Keep Sunday Special website.Let me begin by saying what it means to me. It will be no surprise to regular readers of this blog that I am Christian, so Sunday for me is distinct from the other days of the week. I attend church, though I’m not hidebound about it. I don’t generally do big shopping though I will pick up basics, if I run out. I deliberately didn’t say necessities.

Maybe it’s also worth saying that I’m retired. That means I could do the same things every day if I chose to. Sunday is still a different kind of day.

A lot of people in the United Kingdom are of no faith and do not attend church. Some who call themselves, at least nominally, Christian don’t attend either. Don’t get me wrong I’m not knocking either of these groups for this.

I recently read a news article, from a reputable source, about a dispute concerning pay for Sunday working. The question arose in my mind, why should people who treat every day like any other, for whom Sunday hold no special significance, be paid more to work on Sunday?

When anything that can be done, bought, attended, visited on any other day of the week can be done on Sunday, why should Sunday continue to be thought special and attract premium payment. Shopping hours are still slightly restricted on Sunday but anything else is possible. If you’re working on a day when shopping is a little more restricted, then you have greater freedom to shop on other days of the week when hours are not restricted by employment.

I wonder how much the people who expect extra pay for Sundays consider the people who work to serve their needs and more often wants, on Sundays when they are not working?

The Keep Sunday Special website says “Sunday is a special day, allowing families and communities to spend time together”. However, and this is just a personal opinion for which I have no objective evidence, The families and communities that spend the most time together on Sundays is the Christians for which the religion is not just a nominal title.

The Christmas Interviews: The Guide

The Guide

The 2nd dream, Daniele Crespi, 1620-1630

Reporter: Lastly I  found  the guide Esme suggested I might talk with.

Welcome Shimon. You are a travel guide available for hire, and you have been taken on to lead the astrologer’s caravan?

Shimon: I take work where I can get it. I travel a lot so acting as a guide is one of my lines of work.

Reporter: But I understand you were taken on locally, you have not travelled with them before.

Shimon: Yes that’s right.

Reporter: Do you know why the astrologers hired a guide after arriving at their destination? It’s more usual to have a guide to get to a place.

Shimon: I can’t be sure why but they want a different route out of Israel to the way they came. They have specifically said that they want to avoid Herod’s palace. I was told they stopped there on the way to Bethlehem.

Reporter: And you’ve no idea why they wish to find a different way to return to their home?

Shimon: You must have heard the rumours around here, that Herod is looking for a child. Word has it that the child could take Herod’s throne when he grows. So I’m guessing that the astrologers know something of the child that they don’t want to tell Herod.

Reporter:  Thank you for your time, Shimon.

I wasn’t able to track down the couple with their child, Jesus. The last snippet of information I was able to pick up is that the parents may have taken him out of Israel, possibly making their way to Egypt, lending credence to the story Herod my be searching for them.

If anything new comes to light, we’ll bring it to you first. For now, goodbye.

The Shepherds
The Innkeeper’s Wife
The Wise Men’s Cook

The Christmas Interviews: The Wise Men’s Cook

The Wise Men’s Cook

The Magi Journeying by James Tissot c. 1890

Reporter: It took me a few more days to track down the “well dressed visitors”. They were not from the local area and by the time I found them, they had rejoined their caravan at a camp a little way outside Bethlehem. I wasn’t able to speak with the visitors to the baby personally but I with a little persuasion, a couple of members of their retinue agreed to speak with me.

First Esme, the caravan’s cook. Hello Esme. You’ve been with the caravan for the whole journey I understand?

Esme: Yes, all except when they visited a palace, King Herod’s I think, and here in Bethlehem. We had to camp outside while they went in to the palace and town.

Reporter: I understand your masters came from the East, just to see the child. What can you tell me about them and about the child?

Esme: I’ll tell you what little I can. They’re called Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspar. Melchior seems to be senior. They study the stars. Astrologers I think they call themselves, or maybe astronomers I’m not sure.

Reporter: And do you know what brought them to Bethlehem, Esme?

Esme: Mostly it’s just gossip and rumour but they apparently saw a conjunction forming in the stars. They’d predicted that the stars would coalesce over this town. They didn’t know the name of it until they got here, they just followed the stars. They thought it was some kind of portent.

Reporter: Do you know what they found when they arrived?

Esme: Again only gossip. They found a child, low born but they say he’s destined to lead the people, maybe even become a king.

One other thing, they hired a new local guide. You could try talking to him.

Reporter: Thank you for talking with me Esme.

The Shepherds
The Innkeeper’s Wife

The Christmas Interviews: The Innkeepers Wife

The Innkeeper’s Wife

Nativity at Night, by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, c. 1490.

Reporter: After the shepherds, I followed the story further by trying to speak with the innkeeper where the couple had asked for a room. He was out buying supplies to re-stock after his census guests had left. I was able to talk to his wife.

Hello Helene, thank you for talking with me. When did you realise something out of the ordinary was going on, and what can you tell us about the young couple that stayed in your stable?

Helene: We guessed something was happening when we saw the lights in the sky outside the town. I suppose everyone had probably seen them. Lots came out to look when they heard people shouting about it.

The couple asked my husband for a room but we were already full, because of the census. I couldn’t see them pushed away, she was so heavily with child. I suggested the stable to my husband, at a reduced rate of course.

Reporter: We heard from a shepherd that the baby was born in your stable, and was named Jesus. Can you tell us his parents’ names?

Helene: They were called Mary and Joseph, from Nazareth I think. I felt sorry for her having travelled so far in her condition. He was a carpenter.

Reporter: Was there anything special or out of the ordinary about them?

Helene: I didn’t see anything at the time. Later after the unexpected visit of the shepherds I began to wonder about them.

I took them some fresh water the next morning. It was just an excuse really; I wanted to see the baby. He’s a lovely little chap. There seemed to be an aura of calm and peace about him.

Reporter: You’ve told us about the shepherds, were there any other visitors?

Helene: Lots of people came asking about the couple and their child. They were coming for days after Mary, Joseph and Jesus had left. It was getting annoying.

Was there anyone you particularly noticed amongst the visitors?

Helene: Most were ordinary folks, like you and me. A few oddballs but there was one small group I particularly remember.

Three foreign gentlemen enquired about the young family. Very well dressed, in expensive clothes. They had camels with them. You don’t often see that in Bethlehem. They just watered their camels and bought a few supplies before leaving. I told them that after the young couple left, they’d rented a house somewhere nearby, but I wasn’t sure where.

Reporter:  Thank you Helene.

 

Previous:  The shepherds.

The Christmas Interviews: The Shepherds

The Shepherds.

Adoration of the Shepherds Bartolomé Esteban Murillo c. 1657

Reporter: As the crowds begin to thin, making their way home after Caesar’s census, I followed up a story of lights over a field outside of Bethlehem. Far from being an isolated incident as was first assumed, it led on to a series of connected events. I have tried to piece them together, by interviewing people involved that I have been able to trace.

The description of lights in the sky first led me to a group of shepherds a little way outside the town of Bethlehem, sheltering with their flock for the night.

Hello Jose, thank you for agreeing to tell our readers what you saw. What was it that alerted you that something out of the ordinary was happening?

Jose: It was a brightening of the sky, well before dawn. At first just a bright point of light. Then it grew and took on a human shape. Well almost human except he had wings.

Reporter: Wings! That seems unusual.

Jose: It surprised us but we saw it as clearly as I saw you. We all saw it. It was scary

Reporter: Go on, what happened next?

Jose: The angel said not to be afraid, that he had brought a message from God. He told us that a child, a saviour for us and for everyone had been born, and that we should go to him.

Reporter: Did he say where to find the child.

Jose: Only that we would find the child in a stable. He wasn’t very good with his directions but said we’d find him ok. Then a few moments later, a swarm, if that’s the right word, appeared behind the first angel. They were singing praises to God. Then they all disappeared, just sort of faded away.

Reporter: So did you go to try to find the child?

Jose: After we discussed it yes. We checked on our sheep then went into town. Bethlehem is small, it didn’t take too much asking around to find the stable. It was at the side of an inn.

Reporter: Did you go in? What did you find?

Jose: We found a young couple, with a baby boy, in a manger just like the angel said. He was asleep and his mum looked really tired and we couldn’t leave the sheep for long, so we didn’t stay long. There was something about him. He looked like any other baby but there was a feeling. Calmness, peace. A feeling I won’t forget. He’s called Jesus.

Reporter: And his parents, who are they?

Jose: I never heard. Maybe one of the others knows.

Reporter: Thank you Jose.

Intercession Prayer for Sunday 26th November 2017

: The Sunday Next Before Advent.


Audio expires after approximately 90 days.

Eternal God of love, father of Jesus Christ. You sent Your Son into this world that You created, to live amongst us as servant and king. We remember Jesus’ own words “My kingdom is not of this world.” so let us acknowledge Him as king of the world to come to which he has ascended. We pray to You in his name for the world, the church and for ourselves.

Father of all people wherever they may be, let Jesus’ reign bring peace and understanding to the world as we seek to become like Him; servants, peacemakers and healers with compassion and integrity.

Give relief to the continuing crisis in Yemen. May humanitarian aid be given by countries that can afford to, to the 20 million people, more than half of them children, needing food, medicines and shelter.

May leaders and politicians who try to secure peace and enable reconciliation between opposing factions be blessed with wisdom.

Father strengthen and heal those injured in the attack on the al-Rawda mosque in Egypt and comfort the bereaved. Guide the leaders and those in power to seek justice, not revenge.

Strengthen those trying to protect the vulnerable, showing compassion to people whose lives have been affected by injury or bereavement. Support and comfort anyone suffering loss or distress of any kind.

Father of life, you created us and knows each of us better than we know ourselves. In Your tender compassion give to those ill or injured in body or mind your healing as best befits each one, whether the cause of distress be physical or hidden in the mind.

Father of love, as we approach the season of Advent, shield us from the temptation to be drawn into the commercialism of the season. Let us see through the advertisers claims of the “perfect” gift, which may be as simple as giving someone a little time, to make a big difference.

Eternal God of life and love, in the darkness of winter, and in the darkness of our broken world, may your light shine through Jesus to give us courage and hope. Light up our hearts as we praise you and our minds as we hear your word. Give strength to those who seek to bring your light into the dark places of our world.

Merciful Father Accept this prayer for the sake of Your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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