October 2021 Daily Prayer

''LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY''

Reading & Prayer 15th October 2021

A preview of Sunday from John

In our readings this Sunday we are reminded that it is not those who command as masters, or seek places of honour, promotion, privileges and medals who are great according to the standards of Jesus, but those who know how to serve. To serve is often painful, but only those capable of self-giving service for others and not running away from difficulties have something to contribute to the world that is truly life-giving and affirming.  That was and is the Jesus way.

TO CONTINUE READING:

Reading & Prayer 13th October 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

In our Bible reading today, it is clear that God was teaching Peter a lesson about prejudice; God welcomes everyone whatever their ethnicity or nationality. It's something that we 'know', but we need to be careful that we are living it out. It's easy to have an unconscious bias - for example, I have never liked a certain British accent (I won't say which one as I don't want to offend), and that affected how I viewed people from that region, but having now met lots of people from there, who I now consider friends, it has made me realise that I did have an unconscious bias.

How often do we judge people by how they speak, what they wear, where they are from or what their job is? We must remember that God welcomes us all and our differences are what make us who we are.

TO READ DAILY READING AND PRAYER:

Reading & Prayer 11th October 2021

Message from Marisha

Traditionally we on this side of the world celebrate Harvest time. It is a time of giving thanks to God for providing us with food and thinking about those who struggle to feed themselves. In our scripture today Jesus is talking about another kind of harvest. He says that people had lost their way in life and needed to hear what was on offer from God.  So, there was plenty of harvest (people) but a lack of harvesters (those who already had God in their life).

Nothing has changed really; people are still lost and for all sorts of reasons haven't heard or accepted the Good News. Each of us are commissioned to speak out, to tell the Good News, as well as show it in how we live our lives.  We have the Holy Spirit to help us to do just that; he can give us the words to speak and guide us in how we live out our Christian life.

TO READ DAILY READING AND PRAYER:

Reading & Prayer 8th October 2021

A preview of Sunday from John

It is good to be back from holiday (really!).  It was a pleasure to begin by celebrating our patronal festival in a single service at San Eugenio combined with the harvest thanksgiving.  Thank you to all who attended and for your contributions to our collection of food for the needy.   As I mentioned in my homily, the harvest thanksgiving long postdates our patron, St Francis of Assisi, but it is a festival that we can be sure he would have highly approved of, given his close relationship with the creation and his heart for the poor.  He would also have identified fully with the related challenging theme that confronts us this coming Sunday. 

Amos 5: 6 – 7 & 10 – 15 

Amos may be the first of the prophets whose work was written down.  He was a shepherd from Tekoa on the edge of the Judaean desert, quite close to Bethlehem.   He flourished between the years 783 and 740BC.  Though not a professional prophet he was sent by God up to the northern kingdom of the then divided nation where many people were living in luxury, cheating, defrauding, and oppressing the poor.  Their religion had become a sham, a matter of pure show.

If justice is at the heart of the prophetic calling, Amos is the pioneer.  He shows how being just and righteous is inseparable from care for the poor and needy.  A bias to the poor is not an optional extra for the people of God.  It must always be included in the centre of the Church’s mission.

TO CONTINUE READING:

Reading & Prayer 6th October 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

Do you ever feel insignificant, that the world’s problems are just too big for you to do anything about?  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we hear so much bad news, when we see injustice happening.  The parables of the mustard seed and the yeast show us that we can make a difference.  Something that seems small and insignificant can make big changes. 

The little things that we do can make a difference to someone else; the loose change we put in a charity collection, the ‘thank you’ that we say to a shop assistant, the ‘good morning’ that we say to a neighbour, the smile that we give to people in the bus queue, the prayer that we offer for a sick friend.  Do something little today and you may see surprising results.

TO READ DAILY READING AND PRAYER:

Reading & Prayer 4th October 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

Yesterday I witnessed someone fulfilling a promise to a friend who had died.  She had promised to shave her head to raise money for her friend’s favourite charity!  She organised a big fundraiser and did indeed have her head shaved.  I’m sure this took a lot of courage as she had long auburn hair.  All of us who saw it were saying “I don’t think I could do that”.  How far would we go to keep a promise? It made me think about the many many promises of God and how He ALWAYS keeps His promises.  We have a faithful and loving God who we can trust.

TO READ DAILY READING AND PRAYER:

Reading & Prayer 2nd October 2021

Reflection from Jill Pargeter

In our world of 24-hour supermarkets, with so much variety on the shelves, it can be easy for us all to take food for granted. We are in the season of Harvest Festivals – we are celebrating it here in South Tenerife tomorrow – and it presents us with an opportunity to recall and celebrate together the origins of these good gifts and to thank God for the land and people who produce them.

But for many people, putting food on the table is a daily struggle. The rise in the number of people accessing Food Banks in the UK is proof of that, and here is Tenerife, there are various organisations who are providing food for those in need, which we support as a Chaplaincy.  And let’s not forget those in the developing world whose harvests have failed.

As we celebrate and give thanks, remember those who are going hungry, and pray for them.  The passage today exhorts us not to judge why someone is poor and others are wealthy, but to remember that everything we have comes from God.

TO READ DAILY READING AND PRAYER:

Reading & Prayer 1st October 2021

Message from Marisha

Do we become what we think, or are we what we think? Today's passage tells us that we can have the peace of God and our hearts and minds protected by Jesus himself.  Does that just happen? It does when we take everything to him in prayer.  The scripture goes on to tell us on what things we should be thinking and meditating on. It is not useful to us to dwell on the things that go wrong, matters that you can't change and the woes of life. Getting into that mindset is harmful to our spiritual life. That doesn't mean we should be oblivious to the problems around us, they can be taken to God for help to resolve but we do need to cultivate a grateful, kind and appreciative thinking. We have a God of hope who fills us with all joy and peace in believing that we may abound in that hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

TO READ DAILY READING AND PRAYER:

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 Readings & Prayer 15th October 2021

In our readings this Sunday we are reminded that it is not those who command as masters, or seek places of honour, promotion, privileges and medals who are great according to the standards of Jesus, but those who know how to serve. To serve is often painful, but only those capable of self-giving service for others and not running away from difficulties have something to contribute to the world that is truly life-giving and affirming.  That was and is the Jesus way.

Isaiah 53: 4 – 12

This passage is part of the first reading in the Good Friday liturgy.  Christians have often read it as a ‘prediction’ by the prophet of the suffering of Jesus.  I once turned up late to a Bible study and found that the group were reading this chapter in just that way!  We must understand that the ancient prophets always spoke and wrote in the name of God to their own people, times, and circumstances.  This ‘suffering servant song’ reflects the agony of the people of Israel in their enforced exile (6th century BC) and may specifically refer to the execution of one of their leaders.  Of course, the passage provides essential background to Jesus’ self-understanding as the Servant who gives his life as a ransom for many (today’s Gospel reading).  It gave the early Christians, familiar biblically, the words to explain the sacrificial suffering and death of Jesus.   As the first Christians were Jews, such passages gave the Evangelists the inspiration to see many prophecies as fulfilled in Jesus.  In the sense that the actions of God through the prophets were consistent with what Jesus was about and inspired Jesus in his ministry, they were not wrong.

Psalm 91: 9 – 16

We usually have only a portion of a psalm in our services, but it is worthwhile reading the whole psalm beforehand (except perhaps Psalm 119!)  Today’s psalm emphasises God’s sheltering protection against dangers of every kind. At the beginning, God is invoked under four different ancient names: ‘Elyon’ – Most High; ‘Shaddai’ – Almighty; ‘Yahweh’ (‘I am’) – the sacred personal name of God, usually spoken as ‘Adonai’ - the Lord; and ‘Elohim’ – the common noun for ‘God.’ It stresses the inclusive and comforting power of God for all those who put their trust in the ‘Most High,’ the God who cares for us deeply and protects us in all situations.

Hebrews 5: 1 – 10

The anonymous writer tells of the uniqueness of Jesus whose priesthood stands far superior to any purely human priesthood.  Yet this Jesus offered up intensely human prayer and tears.  This reflects the prayer before Jesus’ Passion given in Mark 14: 36 and John 12: 27 – 28.  His prayer was heard, not in the sense that he escaped death, but that he was rescued from death, and his acceptance of self-giving to suffering and death was confirmed by the resurrection.  The writer insists that Jesus’ obedience was accompanied by sheer human terror but that by his suffering he was made perfect.  The stress on total obedience and submission is set as a model for all who would follow Jesus. 

Mark 10: 35 – 45   

We might be tempted to snigger at the spiritual shallowness displayed by James and John (and by the jealous reaction of the other ten disciples) as they ask Jesus for privileged places in his kingdom, the nature of which is not yet clear to them.  The words of Jesus as the end of this passage reveal the extent of his astonishing humility and sacrifice.  We can only wonder at the amazing love of God, and the lengths that God was, and is, prepared to go for our sake.  But can we also accept that following the example of Jesus will also involve sacrifice, in whatever forms it may take?  What is clear is that humility and service must mark our relationships with each other, in complete contrast to the way of the world.  The challenge set by Jesus is just as taxing for us as for those first disciples. How far do we really model our lives on Christ the servant?  How far do our Church structures mirror the expectations of Jesus in this passage?

A prayer for this Sunday:

God our Father, in your Son Jesus Christ you came among us to show us what divinity and true greatness look like in a human life.  As Jesus came as our brother and servant, may we who follow him know how to live as brothers, sisters, and servants of all.  May his Spirit be alive in us and enable us to become like him, powerless and vulnerable, so that we can truly serve one another, especially the weakest and neediest of our brothers and sisters.  In this way, may people experience your amazing love and compassion for them that comes without condition.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our servant Lord. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 13th October 2021

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.  He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.  He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.  It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds.  Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

While talking with Cornelius, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.  He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean."

Acts 10:9-15, 27-28

Loving God, You have made us all unique.  Thank you that we are all accepted by you regardless of colour, race or status.  We praise you, Lord Jesus, that you welcomed Jews and Gentiles, the rich and the poor, the tax collector and the widow.  Forgive us, Lord, when we show bias towards others and help us to show your compassion and welcome to all that we meet. Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 11th October 2021

When Jesus  saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”

Matt. 9:36-37

Loving God, we know it is your will that all would be saved and none would be lost. We pray that all would have the opportunity to hear your Word  and that all who know and love you will have the courage to tell of your Gospel. May hearers have their hearts softened to accept the words of eternal life and your workers blessed by imparting the Good news. Amen

 Readings & Prayer 8th October 2021

The harvest thanksgiving long postdates our patron, St Francis of Assisi, but it is a festival that we can be sure he would have highly approved of, given his close relationship with the creation and his heart for the poor.  He would also have identified fully with the related challenging theme that confronts us this coming Sunday.

Amos 5: 6 – 7 & 10 – 15

Amos may be the first of the prophets whose work was written down.  He was a shepherd from Tekoa on the edge of the Judaean desert, quite close to Bethlehem.   He flourished between the years 783 and 740BC.  Though not a professional prophet he was sent by God up to the northern kingdom of the then divided nation where many people were living in luxury, cheating, defrauding, and oppressing the poor.  Their religion had become a sham, a matter of pure show.

If justice is at the heart of the prophetic calling, Amos is the pioneer.  He shows how being just and righteous is inseparable from care for the poor and needy.  A bias to the poor is not an optional extra for the people of God.  It must always be included in the centre of the Church’s mission.

Psalm 90: 12 – 17

This psalm is a meditation on the contrast between divine stability and human impermanence and between human sin and divine forgiveness.  The message is one of living contentedly with the chances and changes that human life brings, life lived in the confidence of God’s stability and care.  Whatever our fortunes or misfortunes, the Lord remains our refuge and strength.

Hebrews 4: 12 – 16

The anonymous author gives a remarkable overview of the gospel, the good news of God’s love. God’s self-revelation to humanity penetrates every part of our lives, not as a threat, though judgement is present and demands a response from us through the quality of our lives, but in hope because God, even knowing everything about us, reaches out to us in love.  In Jesus, God has reached out to us in a special way, bridging any gulf we thought existed between God and ourselves.  In Jesus, God identifies fully with humanity and really knows what it is to be human.  We can now approach God with confidence, and with the assurance that God pours upon us grace, mercy, and compassion.

Mark 10: 17 – 31

The story of Jesus confronting a man of great wealth, but also of great poverty in terms of his faith and understanding of the commandments.  The passage begins with Jesus talking about accepting the kingdom of God like a child, that is, to acknowledge our total dependence on God.  For the rich man, his possessions are more important to him than his wish to inherit eternal life.  Are we prevented by money or other material comforts or anything else that prevents us from giving priority to God, from recognizing our complete dependence on God, and from loving God and our fellow human beings with total commitment?

Let us pray to God for the wisdom to follow Jesus without hesitation:

Lord God, comforter of the disturbed and disturber of the comfortable, your living word so challenges us because you give the first place in your kingdom to the last and the least in our poor mortal judgement:  you call the poor rich and blessed and ask the rich to become poor. Give us, we pray, the wisdom of living for the things that really matter.  We ask for grace and courage to follow your Son in embracing the great commandment to love you completely and love our neighbour as our own self, that we may become secure in your presence and know how to live this life as you intended us to live it.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 6th October 2021

He said therefore, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.’ And again, he said, ‘To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’

Luke 13:18-21

Almighty God, You are the Creator of all things, the One who make something out of nothing.  We thank you that you take the small, insignificant things and use them for your Kingdom.  You chose ordinary people to be continue your work; You sought out the poor and the neglected and gave them a place at Your table, and we thank You that You choose us to build your Kingdom. Give us the faith to believe that we can make a difference. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 4th October 2021

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:19-23

Faithful God, we praise you for your faithfulness.  You have given us so many promises throughout Your Word; we thank you for every one of them and that You do indeed keep Your promises. You have promised to forgive us; You have promised to guide us; You have promised to be with us; the list is endless.  Help us, Oh Lord, to trust Your Word and put our faith in You. Amen 

 Reading & Prayer 2nd October 2021

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.  When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.  Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.  He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you.  You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”  But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

Deuteronomy 8: 7 – 18

Provider God, You are the source of all good things and you pour out your blessings on us day after day.  You provided for your people in the wilderness and we thank you that you provide for us today.  Give us the grace to acknowledge that everything we have and enjoy is given by you.  We pray that we would be generous with what you give us, so that others, too, would be blessed. Amen

 Reading & Prayer 1st October 2021

Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.                                            And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.                                                                                   Finally, beloved,                                                                                                   whatever is true, whatever is honourable,                                                                whatever is just, whatever is pure,                                                                                 whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable,                                                           if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise,                         think about these things.                                                                                           Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. 

Philippians 4:5-9

Lord God, we come to you as a place of peace, a place of comfort and a place where all our needs are heard. We thank you that through our Saviour Jesus we need have no fear, anxiety or worry and that we will be protected. May our hearts and minds always dwell on the good you have provided for us, for the love we have for you and each other and be inspired to continue to do all that is worthy and glorifies you. Amen