Daily Prayers Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Prayers for the Day, Wednesday

Good morning Cornerstone friends on this first day of December.

It is Advent when we prepare ourselves to receive again our God who shares all our experiences. We have familiar readings and two ancient prayers which still seem most fitting for our own strange times.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; therefore I can lack nothing

He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.

He shall refresh my soul and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for you are with me; and your rood and staff comfort me.

You spread a table before me in the presence of those that trouble me;
you have anointed my head with oil and my cup shall be full.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

God, our sovereign and shepherd, who brought again your Son Jesus Christ from the valley of death, comfort us with your protecting presence that we may find a home in your house for ever.

St Matthew Chapter 15 verses 29-37

After Jesus had left that place (Tyre and Sidon) he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet and he cured them, so that the crowd were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away, hungry, for they might faint on the way.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?’ Jesus asked them, ‘How many loves have you?’ They said. ‘Seven and a few small fish,’ Then ordering the crowds to sit on the ground he took the seven loaves and the fish and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all of them ate and were filled, and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Those who had eaten were four thousand men, besides women and children.

Two very familiar passages to think on this morning. Both indicate that God’s love provides for us where we are now and in appropriate ways. ‘You spread a table before me’; ‘surely goodness and mercy shall follow me’; ‘I have compassion for the crowd’; all indicate that our God knows how we feel, what is driving us and what holds us back.
Our gospel reading is about our Lord healing the sick and feeding the needy so our prayers this morning will be about those who do this in our time. So let us commend this day to such a loving God to guide us and help us to be better at showing such love to all others.

Let us pray for the church waiting in Advent to celebrate the coming of our Lord as a helpless baby in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago. Emanuel; ‘God with us’.
The majority of our Cornerstone congregation have family links to places where Christmas does not occur in the depths of winter, so much of the traditions we have in Great Britain and other parts of Europe do not make much sense.  Neither would they make much sense in first century Palestine, so let us try to limit our time on the shiny baubles, the rushing to get turkey, panettone, stollen or whatever and give time to think about the amazing truth of God sharing our human existence in order to help we humans understand our own existence.

Eternal light shine in our hearts, eternal goodness deliver us from evil,
eternal power be our support, eternal wisdom scatter the darkness of ignorance
eternal pity have mercy on us, that with all our heart and mind and soul and strength
we may seek your face and be brought by your infinite mercy to your holy presence,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Alcuin, Archbishop of York, died 804)

Let us pray for our world for those rushing in the festive malls to buy more things or to make more plans for gathering together to celebrate. Some others are at home quietly watching a loved one who needs more and more care as they drift away physically and mentally and need constant watching.

There is great unfairness in the sharing of resources between nations and between individuals and families within each nation. Let us remember all those who work to redress the imbalance and pray that we will be able to help the five worthy causes which are included in our Cornerstone Appeal:

  • Advantage Africa
  • Citizens Advice
  • Milton Keynes Community Foundation
  • Winter Night Shelter, Milton Keynes
  • Cornerstone Hardship Fund

We face a new variant of this Covid pandemic which seems to have spread across our world in days. We pray for all those tending the sick and infirm, those in the medical professions and those, unpaid, caring for loved ones. We bring before God those of our loved ones who are ill or needy or in other ways require our prayers.

Christ, the healer, we give you thanks for all the places of healing throughout the world.
Places where we can be still, and discover afresh the wonder and immensity of your love.

And here is a prayer for you to save for this evening. It was first prayed long ago but I think it is still relevant for any time.

Watch now, dear Lord, with those who watch and weep tonight and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick ones, O Lord Christ, rest your weary ones, bless your dying ones.
pity your afflicted ones, shield your joyous ones and all for your love’s sake.
And may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope
in the power of the Holy Spirit.
(St Augustine, Archbishop of Canterbury, died 604)

Christ of the pilgrim mind and of every exploring heart, illumine our understanding that we may discern your Spirit in the midst of all that we do today.
(Iona Community)

Don Head