August 2021 Daily Prayer


Bring Joy to your day and Read all the messages sent by Marisha and others and beautiful prayers that will fill your day with the most precious gift, free to all, the word of God.

New: Rev'd John Poole will put out something on Fridays, and provide us with some ‘tasters’ for the coming Sunday

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Reading & Prayer 31st August 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

A few days ago we read about how God has called us to be His chosen people, how we are precious to God and how He has transformed us and made us worthy.  In today’s reading, we hear that He hasn’t just called us for no reason or just to enjoy a blessed Christian life; he has called us to bear fruit.

Whether you are living in the UK, in Tenerife or elsewhere, I am sure you have fruit growing somewhere nearby.  At the moment, the blackberries are in season in England and they are a free tasty treat if take a walk down a country lane.  In Tenerife, you can’t go far without seeing bananas growing.  It’s wonderful to see the rich colours of different types of fruit and the variety of tastes makes the mouth water.  But it also perishes quite quickly once picked and has to be eaten within days.

When Jesus likens our lives to bearing fruit, He makes it clear that we should bear lasting fruit, which is produced when we are in relationship with God. And at the core of the fruit is love.  If we love one another, that will create a lasting effect.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for loving – the price of laying down His life – and that has eternal impact.

If you eat a piece of fruit today, remember the fruit of Jesus’s life and think about how you can also show and share His love.


Reading & Prayer 30th August 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

Yesterday I went to a car boot sale to try and get rid of some of my unwanted things.  It’s always amazing to me at these types of events, how something that is totally unwanted by one person regains its importance when it is bought by someone else.  As the saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

In today’s passage we read how Jesus was rejected by people, but how God has made Him the Cornerstone.  And we too, are called as His “chosen people, a royal priesthood”, valuable and worthy.

We may not always see ourselves as worthy of God’s love and attention, but He see us as His precious children and in His hands we become significant and valuable – a treasure to Him.  If you have felt rejected or let down at times, remember God will never throw you out or reject you and He will never let you down.


Reading & Prayer 28th August 2021

Message from Marisha

Our reading from Thessalonians is quite heart-warming. They are getting things right!, they are loving another as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Often in the epistles it is a case or rebuke, pull your socks up kind of thing but this time no; just a gentle reminder to work hard and not interfere in others business. We can all observe others' lives and make judgements but it is not our place to do so. Perhaps the better way is take the splinter out of our own eye before trying to take log out of someone else's eye.


Reading & Prayer 27th August 2021

A little preview of Sunday from John

After a few Sundays of excursion into the Gospel of John (and Luke for the festival of Mary), we return this Sunday, the Thirteenth after Trinity, to the Gospel of Mark, the principal Gospel of this Year B in our liturgical cycle. This week we reflect on a common theme in the Christian life, the balance between law and love.  We consider how our obedience to the word of God should never become a mechanical compliance.  God is a God who loves us and wants to be near to his people.  If we respond to that love it has to be a response from the heart.


Reading & Prayer 26th August 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

I was thinking today about compassion and how easy it is sometimes to turn the other way.

In the gospels, we read about the many miracles that Jesus performs, particularly healings.  Often people came to him for help, or he was asked by friends or family members of the sick person to heal their loved one.  However, in today’s passage, as Jesus entered Jerusalem, he came across a man who had been lame for 38 years.  The man had no expectations; he knew that it was practically impossible for him to get help.  But Jesus had compassion on him and healed him.

Jesus could have walked on; no-one was appealing to him for help. He had gone to Jerusalem to celebrate a festival and to participate in the ceremonies and observances that would take place.  A stop-off for a healing wasn’t on his schedule.  But Jesus didn’t operate to a schedule; he was more interested in people than plans. And here was a man that no-one else would help.

There may be someone who comes across your path today that needs your help; will you carry on with your plans or stop to help?


Reading & Prayer 25th August 2021

Message from Marisha

Today's scripture whilst quite short says a lot. Here we have Saul (not yet called Paul) confounding the leaders of the synagogue. Their confusion was that Saul had a reputation and not a good one at that. He was known for persecuting those whose had turned to Christ.  Now he was doing just the opposite, no wonder that they didn't know what to make of the situation; they certainly knew though that Saul was powerful in how he spoke and was a danger to them.

Many years ago, I went to hear a man called Jack Lemon speak at a local church.  One might have thought of him as a very ordinary man. Actually, he had been a criminal and spent much time in prison until a time came when he heard about Jesus and became a Christian. From then on, he had power but not of his own but the power of the Holy Spirit who gave him words to speak. It was very moving to see and hear a man who had once no time for God and whose life was at rock bottom to see him as a man full of joy and purpose. 

As the Lord had changed Saul and Jack so he can change anyone however bad their past was. The Lord gives a little faith for all to believe, no one is outside of God's reach.


Reading & Prayer 24th August 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

Yesterday I walked to a friend’s house (still in the UK at the moment) and the route took me past lots of huge houses with beautifully manicured lawns and luxury cars on the drive. I used to think I would love to have a house like that, but now I just think how much cleaning it would take!  However, it got me thinking about our homes and the passage from today’s reading.  What makes a home?  Not the size, or the number of rooms, or what the garden looks like, whether it’s owned or rented, not even how we decorate and furnish it.  A home is a home because of how we feel about it, and especially if we feel safe there. 

My little apartment in Tenerife is my home and I am looking forward to getting back to it.  I have only lived there since January, but I feel comfortable and it feels like home.  It’s my haven.

I don’t have a home in the UK – I am staying with friends and they have really made me feel ‘at home’, but there’s something about knowing where your home is and having that stability.  Wherever we live, it can feel like home.  The saying ‘home is where the heart is’ is very true.  Some of you may have more than one home; you may have a home in the UK and a home in Spain, and you feel ‘at home’ in both places.  God has provided all of us with homes, even the birds have a home, and He wants us to be happy in our homes.  Let us thank God for our homes and make them a place where He too is welcome.


Reading & Prayer 23 August 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

Today’s reading is perhaps a little strange for some of you.  You probably don’t think that reading the genealogy of Jesus is particularly inspiring and a rather boring read about who is the father of who going back 42 generations.  But this passage has always encouraged me because of the women who are mentioned in it.  There are 4 women mentioned (apart from Mary): Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba, although the latter is not named.  The encouraging thing for me is that these women were not who you might associate with being ancestors of the Son of God.

Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute in order to become pregnant by Judah; Rahab was a Canaanite and a prostitute; Ruth was a foreign Moabite and Bathsheba had an adulterous relationship with David.  None of these women had the ‘credentials’ to be named in Jesus’s family tree, but God still used these women to bring about the ancestry leading to the birth of Jesus.

You may think you don’t fit in, or aren’t ‘good’ enough, or have not acted in a very godly way at times, but God uses all sorts of people; He doesn’t always choose the obvious candidate.  He often chooses the weak, the poor and the sinner and turns their lives around for good.


Reading & Prayer 21st August 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

There seems to have been a lot of suffering in the world recently.  We are hearing much about the situation in Afghanistan and I would urge you to keep the people there in your prayers as life will become very hard for them under Taliban rule, particularly women and those who speak out.  We have also seen much suffering in the UK recently with news of a several people being killed in Plymouth and everyone in Tenerife was heartbroken for the two little girls who disappeared earlier in the summer.

There are so many tragedies that arise from arguments, hatred, anger and bitterness.  But we are called to act differently – to clothe ourselves with compassion and kindness, to bear with each other and forgive, to love our enemies.  It’s not always easy when we are hurting, but we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus knew hurt and was hated, yet he loved and had compassion, even when he was angry.

Who can you show compassion or kindness to today? Will it just be those you like or love?  Or will you follow Jesus’s example and show love to those who have hurt you?  I have had a couple of experiences recently; one where I failed to show compassion because I was hurt, and one where I was tempted to act in retaliation but managed to curb my feelings and act in love instead.  We don’t always get it right, but we can try.


Reading & Prayer 20th August 2021

A little preview of Sunday from John

In our Gospel this Sunday (Twelfth after Trinity) we return to the sequence of readings that began with Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand and the following discourse which brings out its meaning especially in Eucharistic terms.  We are reminded of the principal celebration and focal point for Christians in which Jesus is experienced as our bread of life, food for the journey towards the eternal banquet of life.  But as all our readings show, faith, life lived in the Spirit of God is a free choice for each person to make.  It is not a given, not something any ritual or other action can create.  It is always about our discernment of the presence and love of God, and our worship, work and behaviour must be in response to that.  How will we respond?


Reading & Prayer 19th August 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

Over the last few weeks I have spend lots of time with children; my grandchildren, my great-nephews and various other children of friends. This has been one of the great joys of visiting the UK. Due to various circumstances, my great-nephews have not seen much of me and don’t really know me, so I was absolutely thrilled that they have warmed to me and expressed great love for me over this summer. I got lots of hugs and heard “I love you Auntie Jill”

over and over. Children simply accept things as they are. Because their daddy called me Auntie Jill and expressed his love, they did the same.

When Jesus commends the children in today’s passage, it’s because they simply accept Him without question. And Jesus says that we should do the same.  Simply come to Him, put our faith in Him and accept Him. In other passages in the Bible we are encouraged to put childish things away and act maturely; this isn’t a contradiction – Jesus wants us to be child-like without being childish.


Reading & Prayer 18th August 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

Marisha’s reading yesterday about the vine brought to mind today’s passage about bread since the two go hand in hand when we think about holy communion.

When I read this passage from John’s gospel, I am immediately drawn to the physical aspect of the ‘bread of life’ because, having worked for Christian Aid for 20 years, my passion and heart is for those who are physically hungry and there are still so many people around the world who do not have enough to eat. 

However,  when Jesus said ‘I am the bread of life’, he wasn’t just referring to the fact that he had physically fed the crowd,  He makes it clear that He is offering spiritual food too, because He cares for us as whole people with physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  Whatever is lacking in our lives, He can satisfy.


Reading & Prayer 17th August 2021

Message from Marisha

Recently I had a trip up to Vilafor, usually we have lunch in the plaza but this time we found a small restaurant with a vine covered area. Immediately I was reminded of today's reading about the vine and the branches. The vine had obviously been looked after well, pruned at the right time and trained to grow in the right direction. The grapes looked lovely even in their unripeness. The vine plant doesn't always look like that. There is the season of being cut back, resting, drawing nutriment from the soil until the right time and once again the branches springing into life and grapes then formed.

We are now part of the eternal vine; the branches growing and bearing fruit. All of us need the food from the vine, trained to grow in the right way and then bearing the good fruit. We cannot be a lone branch, going it alone, we cannot get food from any other source but from the true vine. Let us hold on firmly to God's living Word and see what good fruit He is going to produce in us.


Reading & Prayer 16th August 2021

A reflection from Jill Pargeter

We are encouraged in God’s Word to ‘give thanks at all times’. Sometimes that’s really easy; when things are going well, we thank God and it’s easy to sing his praises.  But when we are going through difficulties, it’s more difficult to give thanks.  We might struggle to find something to give thanks for.  David certainly experienced his share of difficulties, yet he wrote many songs of thanksgiving which we now know as the Psalms.  He always found something to give thanks for.

In today’s reading from the Psalms, he says that God’s anger is but for a moment, but his favour is for a lifetime.  How long is a moment and how long is a lifetime?  Be encouraged – God’s blessings and favour will last longer than any problems you are facing.  If you are struggling to give thanks, just read a Psalm – it’s a ready-made song or prayer of praise and thanksgiving.


Reading & Prayer 14th August 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

In our passage today we read about 4 friends who bring another friend to

Jesus.  He is paralysed on a stretcher and they have heard about Jesus healing people. So they are determined for Jesus to see him.  Although the path was blocked by the crowds, they found a way to bring him to Jesus.  And their determination was rewarded when Jesus healed their friend.

Do we have friends or family that need Jesus’ help?  Whether their needs are physical, emotional or spiritual, through prayer, we can bring them to Jesus.  It’s not always easy because life gets busy or we get distracted and prayer sometimes seems hard.  But if we are determined in our goal to seek Jesus’s help, our faith will be noticed and He will hear us.


Reading & Prayer 13 August 2021

A little preview of Sunday from John

This Sunday, 15th August, we celebrate the major feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It is the day that traditionally marks her transition from this life to the full resurrection life of her Son and Lord.  The festival has various names.  In the West it is normally called the ‘Assumption of Mary,’ whereas in the East it is known as her ‘Dormition’ or Falling Asleep.  Another title is ‘Mary’s Easter’ and in England in the Middle Ages it was popularly known as ‘Lady Day in Harvest.’   On this day, we are reminded of our own hope and destiny as followers of Christ, walking in the footsteps of his saints, of whom his mother Mary, in her lowliness and openness, is the greatest.  Her example of hearing and obeying the word of God is set before us as a pattern for the Christian journey.  As she accepted God’s invitation to be the mother of Christ, so we are called to ‘give birth’ to Christ in our own lives.


Reading & Prayer 7th August 2021

Message from Marisha

I love this story of the healing at the Beautiful gate. Can you imagine what it would be like after a life time, day after day of the same thing, your life completely changes in an instant? The man had survived a life time of being disabled, relying on the goodness of friends, scrapping a living by begging and I am sure that day he wasn't expecting anything different to happen.  But it did!

The scripture doesn't say anything about the man having faith or asking to be healed, as it is in so many of the healing stories. Certainly, Peter and John had faith that the man would be healed and that was enough. I think so often we don't really look for changes, we accept our lot in life, of course there is something to be said for being content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. However, God is still in the business of miracles and change. It was for that man probably the best day of his life and that miracle made an impact on all the people in the Temple, as he ran around praising God. His testimony could not be disputed.  I know that God is working in all of our lives, perhaps we don't always notice how he is changing things for us or maybe we are timid in sharing with each other what he has done. I hope we will all become like the man at the Beautiful gate as the well-known chorus says go 'walking and leaping and praising God' ...... for all that he is doing in our lives


Reading & Prayer 6th August 2021

A little preview of Sunday from John

In our readings this coming Sunday (Tenth Sunday after Trinity) we continue to reflect on the truth of God’s grace and power towards us as nourishment or feeding.  In the new life in Christ, we are strengthened spiritually with ‘food for the journey.’  The Exodus story of manna in the wilderness for the wandering Israelites (which we read last week) and the food given to Elijah in our first reading today as he embarks on a journey to meet God, provide us with metaphorical images to remind us that we are fed by the risen Christ in our journey through life.  


Reading & Prayer 5th August 2021

Message from Marisha

Did you know that there were 14 tremors recorded north of Guia D'Isora a few days ago? Well, I didn't feel a thing!

In today's reading it is mentioned that the mountains quaked at God's presence. I am sure it would have been a terrifying experience to have witnessed that, as it still is today around the world, where there are constant quakes along the earth's fractures.

The scripture continues with promises which we can hold on to whatever is happening in the world. He is working always on our behalf and will be until the end of our earthy life; he also wants us to 'wait' on him. 

What does that mean? 

Does it mean serve him?

Does it mean we stay still until he gives us instructions?

Is it a case of relying on Him, instead of running off on our own courses which are not good for us? 

I think it is probably a mixture of all. We have been promised that he will be our God throughout our lives, will care for us, carry us along and save us.

We cannot ask for more than that, I think.


Reading & Prayer 4th August 2021

Message from Marisha

We have a God of Grace. 

We all need his Grace to live our Christian lives because life is not always easy, actually often it seems quite difficult as we learn and embrace more and more of what it is to be a Christian. Jesus said 'my yolk is easy and my burden is light' which seems to be at odds with today's scripture which talks of suffering but really it isn't because all suffering and trials can be borne when we ask for God's grace to sustain us. So often it becomes difficult for us when we try to overcome difficulties in our own strength.....we can never be that strong; that is why we are promised Grace. 

May the Grace of God be with us all


Reading & Prayer 3rd August 2021

Message from Marisha

As I read today's passage, I suspected that we have only touched upon the abundant riches that we have in the Lord and that there is so much more to know, understand and experience. In another verse it says 'we have not because we ask not' That maybe be true for many of us. We learn so much, experience something of the love of God and become content, yet there is so much more on offer. 

Actually, in the case of Paul writing to the Ephesians, he tells them that he is praying for them, praying that they will receive from the Holy Spirit the power to understand and appreciate the magnitude of God Almighty. Perhaps we should pray that for each other as well as our selves. The church can only be enriched as each of us grow and mature, learning to love God and each other and being a reflection of the Christ within us. 


Reading & Prayer 2nd August 2021

Message from Marisha

Here we are a couple of thousand years later from the story we read today in the scriptures yet it is still so alive and vibrant.  Of course, it would be as the living Word of God. We have Paul reminding the people of Corinth about the good news that they had received from him. It struck me again at the end of the passage that Paul, the least likely person to be the teacher of the faith, a man who had persecuted the church, considered himself the least of the Apostles and yet his words and teaching have continued over the centuries (by the Grace of God) That gives hope for us all. It doesn't matter what our past has been, how bad or low we might have sunk by the Grace of God we can be redeemed and go on to live our lives as a testimony to how Jesus can change us, from the inside out.


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 Reading & Prayer 31st August 2021

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.  You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.  I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 15:12-17

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us to the extent of sending your Son to the cross for us.  We rejoice in the fact that we are no longer servants and that You call us your friends.  Help us to bear the fruit of being in relationship with you and to be abundantly fruitful in the love we share with others.. Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 30th August 2021

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:

“See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,”

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:4-7,9-10

Lord Jesus, as the stone that was rejected and then made the Cornerstone, you understand what it feels like when people let you down, but we thank you that you take the rejected and give them security and worth.  Give us the grace and humility to recognize that our worth comes from you. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 28th August 2021

Concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

Father of all, we thank you that you first loved us and we are now called your sons and daughters. Our desire is to love others in the same measure that you have loved us and are sorry when we do not. Help us to always keep in mind our own failings before we judge others. You  have path for each of us to follow; show us Lord the tasks and work you have for us and let us not be distracted by the course others take in life. May are journey in life show how much you love us and how much we love you. Amen 

27th August 2021

After a few Sundays of excursion into the Gospel of John (and Luke for the festival of Mary), we return this Sunday, the Thirteenth after Trinity, to the Gospel of Mark, the principal Gospel of this Year B in our liturgical cycle. This week we reflect on a common theme in the Christian life, the balance between law and love.  We consider how our obedience to the word of God should never become a mechanical compliance.  God is a God who loves us and wants to be near to his people.  If we respond to that love it has to be a response from the heart.

Deuteronomy 4: 1 – 2 & 6 – 9

Deuteronomy means ‘second law.’  The book is the foundation document for a whole view of Israel’s history from the Book of Joshua to the end of the Second Book of Kings (‘the Deuteronomic History’).  It purports to be the final ‘Book of Moses’ but in its present form it is much later than him and gives indications of the state of the nation towards the end of the monarchy and into the Exile (from 597BC).  The Deuteronomic theme highlights faithfulness to the covenant with God as bringing peace and prosperity, and infidelity as the cause of failure and punishment, drawing Israel back to repentance and God’s forgiveness.  Our short passage aptly reflects this theme.

The people are called to obey God’s law as a response to what God has done for them.  Their life in the promised land would depend on their faithfulness to God and would be a witness to neighbouring nations of the goodness of the laws God had given.  As Christians we are faced with similar choices.  We are not to be a people who simply follow written codes and teachings, but who live in response to God’s love as shown chiefly in the person of Jesus Christ.  Authentic Christian living is also the single most effective witness and mission statement the Church possesses.  To paraphrase St Theresa of Avila, ‘We ourselves are the only Bible this careless world will read.’

James 1: 17 – 27

The letter of James is very practical.  Christians are to be doers of the word of God, not simply listeners, a message that is frequently repeated throughout the New Testament.  Our personal relationship with God cannot be separated from our behaviour, our deeds.  A revolution of heart is needed to allow the word of God, already planted in us, to grow and reveal itself in our lives.  Christianity is not just a matter of believing ‘the right things,’ not just a matter of trying ‘to do good.’  It includes both but it is more than that.  Our faith is authenticated in our doing good; our doing good comes from knowing that God loves us, and everybody else too.

Mark 7: 1 – 8, 14 – 15 & 21 – 23

This passage exposes the great hypocrisy that can emerge in and damage all religion.  Customs, rules, rituals which once began with good intentions as a sign of holiness of living, can become ends in themselves, and eventually lack all spiritual meaning and value, completely obscuring their original purpose.

Jesus shows that obedience to God involves a radical commitment affecting the whole of our life.  He does not attack traditions but appeals for them in be observed with the right perspective and motive so that they demonstrate our relationship with God rather than hinder it.

A prayer for this Sunday:

Father, God of the ever-new covenant, you have tied us to yourself with leading strings of lasting love; the words you speak to us are spirit and life.  Open our hearts to your words, that they may touch us in our deepest selves.  May they move us to serve you not in a slavish or mechanical way but as your children who love you and whom you have set free through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 26th August 2021

Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Bethzatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”  Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”  At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.

John 5:2-9a

Loving God, thank you that you care for every single one of us.  You show us compassion when we don’t deserve it.  You pour out your blessings on us every day, in big and small ways. Help us to show that same compassion to others.  Open our eyes to the needs around us and give us the strength to act. Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 25th August 2021

For several days Saul was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” All who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.

Acts 9:19-22

Father God, we thank you for the life giving power of the Holy Spirit; for the free gift of faith so generously given to all who hear and believe your Holy Word. May that word dwell deeply within us, changing us, and causing us to sing your praises and declare that Jesus is Lord for ever. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 24th August 2021

My soul longs, indeed it faints

    for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh sing for joy

    to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,

    and the swallow a nest for herself,

    where she may lay her young,

at your altars, O Lord of hosts,

    my King and my God.

Happy are those who live in your house,

    ever singing your praise.

Psalm 84:2-4

Loving God, You have blessed us with so many good things.  Thank you for our homes and for our families.  We often take for granted the peace and security of having a home.  Help us to make room for You in our homes and may our homes be a haven of peace for all those who come in.. Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 23 August 2021

“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,  and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon,  and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,  and Jesse the father of King David. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, ……”  “…and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.”

Matthew 1: 1-6, 16,17

Everlasting God, You know the past, the present and the future.  Thank you that you see past our flaws and shortcomings, and love us regardless.  You are compassionate and forgiving.  We pray that we would see ourselves through your eyes and remember that you want to use us in your service.  Help us to be willing to follow your ways. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 21st August 2021

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-15

Heavenly Father, thank you that you are full of compassion.  You love us with an everlasting love, and proved that love by the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus, who gave us the perfect example of how to act.  We are sorry, Lord, when we let you down with our unforgiving ways.  Help us to be more compassionate and understanding of those we meet and may peace rule in our hearts. Amen 

 Reading 20th August 2021

In our Gospel this Sunday (Twelfth after Trinity) we return to the sequence of readings that began with Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand and the following discourse which brings out its meaning especially in Eucharistic terms.  We are reminded of the principal celebration and focal point for Christians in which Jesus is experienced as our bread of life, food for the journey towards the eternal banquet of life.  But as all our readings show, faith, life lived in the Spirit of God is a free choice for each person to make.  It is not a given, not something any ritual or other action can create.  It is always about our discernment of the presence and love of God, and our worship, work and behaviour must be in response to that.  How will we respond?

Joshua 24: 1 – 2 & 14 – 18

Towards the end of his active career, if not his life, Joshua gathers the newly settled tribes of Israel together to renew their covenant with Yahweh (the Lord).  They are presented with a choice of whether the choose the Lord their God who had rescued them from slavery in Egypt and brought them home to the land of their ancestors, or to serve the gods of the Amorites (Canaanites) who were living among them?  Joshua makes it clear where he and his family stand.  They will serve the Lord.  But the people must freely choose.

Of course, we no longer worship or believe in ‘gods.’ But other things have taken their place and crave our attention or obsession if not our devotion, including material possessions and our own self-image or egos.  These are today’s idols and an obstacle to our relationship with the Ultimate live-giving Reality that we call God.    

This passage is chosen to relate to the Gospel today, where the choice for or against Jesus is presented as a choice between life and death.

(Note: ‘Beyond the River’ is mentioned twice.  The River, capital R, always means the Euphrates.  Abraham, the father of Israel originally lived beyond the Euphrates, in Mesopotamia (the land covering much of modern-day Iraq), a name which means ‘between the rivers,’ the Euphrates and the Tigris).

Psalm 34: 15 – 22

I have been forgetting to comment on the psalms which are now a regular part of our liturgy of the word.  Apologies! These are selected to compliment the three principal readings.  This one is a ‘wisdom psalm,’ with each verse or pair of verses urging faithfulness to God which will lead to peace, security and prosperity.  In its original Hebrew form it is an acrostic with the beginning of each verse following an alphabetical succession of letters.  We will recite only part of it but the whole psalm expresses the awesome, attractive but challenging presence of the Lord.

(‘I am daunted by it but with my whole being I long for it.’ – St Augustine)

Ephesians 6: 10 – 20

The spiritual struggles we all face are highlighted in this concluding chapter.  Paul frequently uses images from games and gladiatorial shows which would have been familiar to his first readers.  But here the images are in stronger military terms and speak of real spiritual warfare.  The Christian is engaged in a ‘battle’ against evil, but it is fought in the context of prayer, spiritual discipline and integrity, and confidence in the ultimate victory of God (1: 20 – 22).  This struggle is all part of God’s amazing plan to restore peace and justice to the cosmos by bringing all things under Christ (1: 10).

(‘The devil he got a right to fight, but he ain’t got no right to win!’ – Augustus Marwieh, African evangelist).

John 6: 56 – 69

Today we read John’s concluding section of the Eucharistic discourse, of Jesus as the bread of life.  The stress here is that flesh (the physical being alone) is like food that perishes.  Jesus has come in the flesh, yet he is endowed with the life-giving Holy Spirit.  So his bread:  his life, his words and actions, and even his death, are life-giving.

But each person in the crowd, and each subsequent reader of the Gospel, must choose whether to accept or reject the offer and the challenge that Jesus brings to the world.  Many of his first followers drifted away, just as many today drift away because the demands of discipleship are too unpalatable for them.  Faith is a choice but also a gift from God.  Another follower, even one of the Twelve (Judas Iscariot) will betray Jesus.  We may like to consider what it means to betray Jesus today.  In contrast, Peter, on behalf of the disciples, makes a committed declaration of faith in Jesus, something all true followers must continue to do, not just with their words but by the way they live.  John always describes the choice in strong terms:  do we accept Jesus and his offer of eternal life, or do we reject him?  There appears to be no half-way house.

A prayer for this Sunday:

Faithful God of the covenant, in the daily choices we have to make, give us the courage to opt always for Jesus and the life and ways he brings to us, and help us to remain close to him.  Bless the difficult road we sometimes have to take without seeing where it will lead us.  Keep us from making half-hearted decisions where we have not enough faith, and always to accept the consequences of the choices we do make.  Keep us always faithful and focused on the one who gives our life its right direction, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 19th August 2021

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them.  But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.  Truly I tell you, whoever does receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

Mark 10:13-15

Loving Father, we come to you as a child comes to their parent, knowing that you love us and want the best for us.  You are the Almighty, the All-powerful Creator of all things, yet we can still call you ‘Father’.  How wonderful! We pray that you will keep us humble, keep us looking to you with simple faith, knowing that you hold our hand as a Father leads a child.   . Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 18th August 2021

"Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.  Your

ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

John 6:47-51

Father God, thank you that you provide us with everything we need, both physically and spiritually.  You pour out your blessings on us and fill us with good things that come from you.  In Jesus, we have bread for living in every sense.  Feed us daily, Lord, so that we are satisfied in our body and in our soul.  Amen

 Reading & Prayer 17th August 2021

Jesus said “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love."

John 15:1-10

Lord God, in you we have our being; without you we can achieve nothing. May your Word of life dwell within us so deeply, that no power on earth is able to shake our faith in your love and goodness towards us. May our lives be fruitful in your kingdom and glorify you. Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 16th August 2021

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,

    and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger is but for a moment;

    his favour is for a lifetime.

Weeping may linger for the night,

    but joy comes with the morning.

You have turned my mourning into dancing;

you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Psalm 30:4-5,11-12

Heavenly Father, you are worthy of our praise and our thanks for all you are and for all you do. You bless us every day in so many ways. Help us to show gratitude to you and to others that bless us. Give us a song a joy in our hearts and a spirit of thankfulness even when we face problems and difficulties. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you

forever. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 14th August 2021

Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus.  When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”  Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed—“I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.”  Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God.  Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today."

Luke 5:18-26

Lord God, we thank you that you hear us when we bring our concerns, worries and problems in prayer to you.  You are our healer and also our friend and our concerns are your concerns.  Help us, Lord, to persevere in prayer for those we know who need your touch; give us the faith to believe that you can comfort and heal. May your presence be with those who need you.  And may we go rejoicing in your power. Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 13th August 2021

This Sunday, 15th August, we celebrate the major feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the day that traditionally marks her transition from this life to the full resurrection life of her Son and Lord. The festival has various names. In the West it is normally called the ‘Assumption of Mary,’ whereas in the East it is known as her ‘Dormition’ or Falling Asleep. Another title is ‘Mary’s Easter’ and in England in the Middle Ages it was popularly known as ‘Lady Day in Harvest.’ On this day, we are reminded of our own hope and destiny as followers of Christ, walking in the footsteps of his saints, of whom his mother Mary, in her lowliness and openness, is the greatest. Her example of hearing and obeying the word of God is set before us as a pattern for the Christian journey. As she accepted God’s invitation to be the mother of Christ, so we are called to ‘give birth’ to Christ in our own lives.

Revelation 11: 19 – 12: 6 & 10

Any passage from the Book of Revelation, and this one in particular, is difficult to understand and even more difficult to summarise. The book is set against the background of the Roman Empire and the persecution of Christians, and it is mostly written as a vision that has been experienced by the author. Using the contemporary Jewish tradition of apocalyptic writing, he draws on other ancient near eastern mythological themes in his symbolic representation of the battle between good and evil, a battle in which evil represented by the dragon would ultimately be defeated. The figure of the woman is the people of God represented by the twelve stars. Initially this means the people Israel and then the Church. Among this people is the Messiah whose elevation to the throne of God will make him king of the universe and ultimately victorious over the powers of evil. By giving birth to the Messiah the woman can naturally be identified as Mary. She is being identified simultaneously as a symbol of faithful Israel and also of the Christian people coping with the enormous challenges of the times. 

Galatians 4: 4 – 7

The fatherhood of God for those who are baptized into Christ, those who have ‘put on Christ,’ is guaranteed by Jesus’ own relationship to the Father. Through this relationship human nature is transformed, at least for those who follow Christ. Against all expectation, the Son of God took the same route into human life that all human beings take, ‘born of a woman,’ with all that this means in terms of vulnerability, dependence and need of nurture. For those who follow him, life is changed, enhanced. Those who live in Christ are children of God and heirs with Christ of everything that God has to give them.

Luke 1: 46 – 55

The Magnificat, the song of Mary, is one of three canticles given in the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel and they all focus on the spirituality of those who are ‘poor in the Lord’ and whose lives will be transformed by the grace and power of God.  Mary’s song is modelled on the song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2: 1 – 10), and it draws on several other Old Testament texts.  The song focuses entirely on the work of God in exalting the God-fearing humble and poor.  The illusions of security which comfort the rich and powerful are shattered by the justice and solidarity that God has for those who are voiceless and powerless.  The kingdom of God which will be inaugurated by Mary’s son will include the exaltation of those who know their need of God (who are not exclusively the materially poor though most of them are).  With the later Church’s capitulation to the power structures and empires of the day, it is surprising that Christians who said or sung the Magnificat were not rounded up and charged with sedition!  Happily, and not before time, the Church today, and hopefully each one of us who claim to be Christian, have begun to take the gospel seriously once again.

A prayer for the day:

Almighty God, you lift up the humble and meek.  In Mary, you have given us a vision of a Church that knows how to serve and to hold on to you in life and in death.  With her, and in the strength of your Son and hers, may we be humble enough to listen to your word, to live by it and to share it, so that more and more we may be to the world the visible body of your Son in our own time, until you let us share in his glory for ever. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 7th August 2021

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Acts 3:1-10

Father Almighty, We come with hope

We come with a little faith

We come because we need your healing

We come as your child whom you love

We come with expectation and thanksgiving

We come unto you, gracious God who is our Father. Amen 

6th August 2021

In our readings this coming Sunday (Tenth Sunday after Trinity) we continue to reflect on the truth of God’s grace and power towards us as nourishment or feeding. In the new life in Christ, we are strengthened spiritually with ‘food for the journey.’ The Exodus story of manna in the wilderness for the wandering Israelites (which we read last week) and the food given to Elijah in our first reading today as he embarks on a journey to meet God, provide us with metaphorical images to remind us that we are fed by the risen Christ in our journey through life.  

1 Kings 19: 4 – 8

We have the brief account of Elijah’s flight for his life after the great slaughter he inflicted on the prophets of the pagan god Baal. Consequently, the evil Jezebel, wife of Ahab, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel, wanted him dead too. Elijah’s mood seems rather uncharacteristic for the great prophet that he was. Perhaps this is somewhat reassuring for when we experience depression and doubt in our life of faith. Elijah is exhausted and appears confused. His victorious contest with the prophets of Baal does not seem to have brought about the conversion of the people that he had undoubtedly expected. He flees to the south, beyond the territory of Judah and into the Sinai desert. Sustained by the food brought to him by ‘an angel,’ he walks for forty days and nights to Mount Horeb (Sinai), where God had appeared to Moses. There, Elijah would be restored by a new revelation of the presence of God and given a new commission.

Ephesians 4: 25 – 5: 2

Having described how the Church fits into God’s overall plan of salvation and having stressed the Church’s need for unity and for Christians to live a new life in Christ, today’s reading provides a list of instructions for how this life will work out in practice.  The principles of unity and love which are necessary for life in Christ should affect the way Christians behave. Theft, foul language, bitterness, bad temper, anger, malice, are definitely out! Knowing that we are loved by God will help us to love others, with Christ’s self-giving love providing us with a pattern for our own lives, enabling us to be generous, sympathetic and forgiving, remembering that we too have been treated with generosity and kindness, and forgiven by God in Christ.

John 6: 35 & 41 – 51

In the Gospel of John there are seven ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus beginning with today’s ‘I am the bread of life.’  ‘I am’ recalls and connects Jesus with the divine name of God as first revealed to Moses.  These ‘I am’ words almost certainly did not come out of the mouth of Jesus himself who, according to the Synoptic Gospels, always referred to himself as the Human One or, in traditional language, ‘the Son of Man.’  John’s gift as the Spirit-filled interpreter of Jesus, leads him to express deep truths about who Jesus really is, and is for us.  As the bread of life, Jesus is the one who nourishes us with food for our faith-life journey.   The food that God gave to Elijah enabled him to walk to a distant sacred mountain to encounter the presence of God and experience the renewal of his ministry.  The food that God gives to us is Jesus himself, given in a most practical way in the bread of the Eucharist and enabling us to live the new life in him and to walk with him all the way to the ‘mountain of God’ that is everlasting life.

A prayer for this Sunday:

God, Father of life, your Son Jesus is our living bread come down from you to give life to us and to the world.  May he restore our strength and courage as we journey with him through life, and give us the will and the love to share our bread with those who need it, for in them too we hear the voice of Jesus crying out in hunger (Matthew 25: 35).We ask this in his name, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 5th August 2021

When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,

you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

From ages past no one has heard,

no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you,

who works for those who wait for him.

You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways.

Isaiah 64:3-5

Holy God, we honour and bless you, that even in our poverty of understanding, you came to meet us. Direct us we pray, in all our ways and works that they may be pleasing to you. May our hearts and minds, be filled with your knowledge which brings us life and health until the day we meet face to face. Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 4th August 2021

All of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.                                                  1 Peter 5:5b-10

Father of us all, give us grace we pray

Give us Grace to be humble

Give us Grace to love one another

Give us Grace to be strong in your service 

Give us Grace to resist wrong

Give us Grace to see you more clearly and love you more, this day and forever. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 3rd August 2021

I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21

Lord God, we praise your Holy name and give thanks that you give us all that is needful to live a Christ like life. We pray that the Holy Spirit will renew us daily. May we grow in Grace; loving you, our sisters and brothers in Christ and all of your wonderful creation until at the last we come before your throne, when all that we cannot comprehend now will be revealed to us. Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 2nd August 2021

I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Father God, we thank you for the Good News of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. For all those who walked with Jesus on this earth and passed on all that they had been taught from his lips and those who have come to know him since in spirit, through Grace we give thanks for their lives and witness. May our faith too, burn brightly and we in turn, be faithful servants passing on the gospel of love and redemption to those who do not know or love you yet. Amen