Weekly Intercessions & Worship Notes for Sunday 15th October
Worship Notes and Weekly Intercessions
Millennia ago the prophet Habakkuk, when faced with war, environmental disaster and consequent famine, sung:
Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.
Words which resonate as we face the consequences of human greed wreaking havoc on the fragile earth. As the climate changes, the ice melts, and sea waters rise we will have to adapt and learn to mitigate the dreadful climate changes which are already upon us. What I find fascinating is that Habakkuk didn’t turn away from God when faced with his traumas and, in these times of change and danger I hope we won’t either.
Habakkuk’s response was to turn to God and, in worship found the strength to make sense of his world and to adapt to his realities. Week after week we gather to worship in church and chapel, in grand buildings and around computer screens. As we sing, pray, listen and share in the simple things of bread and wine, we encounter the Risen Lord who strengthens and enables us to be His disciples.
In order to help local churches produce good worship the URC produces weekly Worship Notes. This week’s notes were written by the Rev’d Wayne Hawkins. Wayne offers an all age activity based on party invitations using this as a way into discussion of the parable of the Wedding Feast. All the prayers you need and a range of hymns are provided.
As Wayne produced these notes some time ago we also ensure that Weekly Intercessions are produced for people to use or adapt to their own local contexts. Church Related Community Worker, Kirsty-Ann Mabbott, has produced this week’s prayers:
Loving and Eternal God, we come before you to pray for your creation. We know that prayer alone is not enough, we must also act where we are able.
We pray for the world, for places where despair is great and where your creation groans in pain. We think of places of conflict, especially Palestine & Israel and Ukraine & Russia. These are places of high tension and inequality and we ask for peace, reconciliation and conflict transformation amongst the people in these places. We recognise that there is conflict in many other places in the world, such as Yemen, Iraq, Ethiopia and ask that your peace and healing come to these and other places, where we can turn to our siblings in humanity and see that they are all children of God, all valid, equal and worthy of love, compassion and understanding.
We pray for the places in the world that are suffering from the effects of natural disasters; In Afghanistan where thousands have died due to the earthquake and tens of thousands more are suffering; In Tibet where an avalanches have killed two and left two missing; In Australia where fires have again devastated the land and warn of what is to come. These places seem far away and of less concern to us who are safe and comfortable in our British homes, but we know that we are partly responsible due to our destruction of the environment, our over-consumption of resources and wasteful nature. Help each of us to consider our energy use, food waste, fast fashion and desire to have more than we need. Empower us to speak out to our leaders and politicians so that they understand the urgency of this matter.
We pray for the sick and dying around the world, especially for those dying from curable, preventative and treatable diseases, such as the cholera outbreak in Sudan, coronavirus around the world, measles and tuberculosis, zika and HIV/AIDS. Many of these diseases are affecting the most vulnerable in the world, especially in the global south where corruption and politics prevent people accessing the treatment they should be entitled to. Inspire us to work with organisations that are trying to ensure that treatment and medication get to those who need it in these places.
We pray for our country and our leaders, especially when we do not agree with their politics and policies. Encourage us to speak out and challenge our leaders when we see their policies do not lift up the oppressed and marginalised. We think about the main political party conferences that have been taking place over the last few weeks, we may be shocked or pleased with the things that have been said or decided. May we have the courage to use the power we have as the people of this country to challenge and inspire those who represent us to work harder for the lifting up of the sick, poor, stranger and marginalised so that our country can truly flourish.
We pray for the Church, here today and across the world. We are blessed to be able to worship openly, to read Scripture and debate theological understanding, but we are often ashamed of our faith and lacking in understanding. Help us to not be ashamed and to have the desire to deepen our discipleship and faith. Help us remember that we have siblings in faith around the world who are persecuted or being tortured, imprisoned and killed for their faith in you. We pray for them, acknowledge their bravery and thank you for their devotion to you. Give us the strength to be like them, to step out in faith boldly and to work to deepen our discipleship and understanding of you so that we can better serve you in the world.
We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus, our Source, Goal and Guide. Amen.
Please also remember the URC has produced prayers around the conflict in Palestine and Israel which can be found here. They can also be used in worship.
I hope that your experience and discipline of worship delights, strengthens and empowers you as we adapt to the realities of our world.
With every good wish
The Rev’d Andy Braunston Minister for Digital Worship