Prayers for This Year
Our Lord's great commission was to send us out into the world to make disciples of all peoples, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This we seek to do with love and care.
There is the danger that we would favour one minister against another, and so stay away.
Paul strongly condemns this. Remember that we are here to worship God not man.
Throughout the year we shall have many different speakers and leaders of worship: Pray for them all. Invite friends and neighbours to share Sunday afternoons with you, at church.
Come to events and services whether here or at other Churches. Whilst we may have strongly held beliefs as Baptists, We have much in common with other Christian faiths and need to share our love of Jesus with them.
Part of our mission to the village is telling others about Jesus: Do this by inviting others to come with you to church or other events: Making the love of God known by what you do and say.
Above all remember your commitment to God.
When you became a member of this part of His Church in Hockley Heath you made promises and gave commitments both to Him and to fellow Christians.
Maundy Thursday – greatness redefined
Why did you wash their feet? I don’t understand, it makes no sense.
Why did you do something so demeaning, so distasteful, when you did not have to? Why humble yourself and wash the feet of your own disciples? You are the Messiah, it makes no sense for you, of all people, to do something that should be done by the least of all people, not by the greatest. It is not what we want our Messiahs to do.
Unless… unless we have got it wrong and that, somehow this is a measure of what Messiah means? Not that it is defined in greatness but that somehow, in your world the first will be last, and the greatest, least and servant of all?.
But if we are to follow you, does it mean that we must follow your example too? Are you suggesting that we too should make ourselves humble? That we must wash the feet of the people whom we would rather ignore, or scapegoat, or deride?
Good Friday – shifting blame
It was the Romans who killed you, who nailed you to a cross to punish you for thinking differently. Murdered for daring to challenge the might of Imperial Rome.
Murdered for daring to suggest that the world should be different, that it could be rearranged for once, not to make the powerful comfortable, but deeply uncomfortable.
Or, maybe it was the religious leaders who wanted you dead? For challenging their deeply and sincerely held religious truths, for shaking things up and rocking the boat, for daring to suggest that just because we have always done it like this, we always must? We cannot challenge the guardians of tradition, where would we be without it? Better surely to let one man die….
No! It was the crowd! It was their fault It must have been the crowd who gathered and cried “Crucify!” who are the ones who killed you. What they need, you see, is a scapegoat, someone for the Romans to blame, so that they won’t come looking for anyone else.
Or maybe it was me?
Maybe you should pity me – me, for on this Good Friday, I will stand with the Romans, because I, who have everything, don’t really want anything to change. I will stand with the religious leaders, and make sure that my traditions are honoured, no matter who they exclude. I will stand with the crowd, who already know who is to blame for all that goes wrong.
And I will cry “Crucify”
A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, is it possible that I, who call you friend – Master, Saviour, King – Still stand with the crowd, the betraying disciples, the violent soldiers, and the religious leaders?
I confess it is possible. I confess it is true. Because I say I have taken up my cross
Easter Sunday - joy beyond hope
Sometimes it doesn’t work out as you expect. Sometimes even though you know the game is up, even though you know the inevitable outcome,
even sometimes when you have given up yourself… …it doesn’t work out as you expect.
There are those days when the child, who has been running away for years, every week, without fail, …doesn’t.
The day when the disabled child, is finally accepted for who they are. When the traveller, for so long the outsider, suddenly becomes a friend.
There are those days when, in the face of despair, for some unexpected and incomprehensible reason, our long dead hopes are brought back to life.
There are those days we suddenly realise the stone has been moved… … and the tomb is empty.
A prayer of response
King Jesus, Risen, ruling Lord, All glory, honour, and praise be yours. You make all things new, Constantly creating beauty from ashes, And pouring out gladness, all gladness – grace.
Why am I surprised each time you rise With healing in your wings? Answered prayers; transformed lives; Reformed systems; children embraced. All that is good comes from you. Everything that is life comes from you.
And I praise you, praise you, praise you That Calvary’s victory is proved again a thousand times each day In glimpses, miracles and reconciliations, Even as we wait for an end to the good fight And strive to have faith for long dead hopes To burst to life as you promised.
And I ask you, plead with you, long for you To come still more Risen Lord.
© 2011 Nigel Varndell (Meditations) and 2012 www.thesanctuarycentre.org/whereworldandworshipmeet (Response prayers)