I wrote these intercessions for last Sunday, which is why they carry clear references to God as Trinity (it was Trinity Sunday!). As events continue to unfold this week, they still seem relevant... (apologies in advance for typos!)
Triune God, divinity in community, we have reached the point in our worship together where we respond to your love for us with our prayers for others. And it’s a hard task, trying to avoid bland, banal generalities on the one hand and praying in our own opinions or desires on the other. In a week that has once again been full of highly charged news reporting, and at the end of which we are left with more questions than answers, it is difficult to know what, or how, to pray. On such occasions we gladly remind ourselves of the promises of scripture that Jesus is out great High priest who forever intercedes on our behalf, and that, when words fail, the Spirit intercedes for us with groans to articulate the inexpressible.
This week as those killed during events in Manchester and London are named and laid to rest, and many of those injured begin to be discharged from hospital, we give thanks for the work of the emergency services and NHS staff. We are also aware that this week alone, there have been similar events in Australia, France, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria and Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Turkey, most of which have not reached our news media. Too many to name, too complex to understand… what shall we pray? For peace. For healing. For reconciliation perhaps? Words fail us, ideas fall short – Jesus, son of God, victim of human violence, please intercede for us, and for all affected by violence and hatred.
This week we have had a general election for the Westminster parliament, we give thanks for the freedoms granted us by the democratic process, and for all those who have worked to count and recount votes. Whatever our own political views, and however we may feel about the result, we recognise the enormity of the tasks entrusted to these men and women as they take up office. Scripture reminds us that we should pray for those in authority, something that can be difficult at the best of times, and near impossible when disappointment, confusion or fear fill our hearts. What then, shall we pray? For wisdom. For justice. For compassion? Words fail, ideas fall short – Spirit, wisdom of God, hovering over chaos since the dawn of time, please intercede for us, and for all in positions of authority, local, national or international.
This week the complexity and diversity of everyday life has continued. The mundane daily routines punctuated, perhaps, by moments of intense pleasure or equally intense pain. For some there will have been sad news or bad news. For some it will just have been another so-so week. For some there will have been moments of wonder and delight. Praying for one another ought, we tell ourselves, to be easy, but soften it is anything but. To pray for our blessing feels improper. To pray for the blessing of others is tricky. What then, do we pray for those we love? What, then, do we pray for ourselves? For love. For hope. For faith. Words fail, ideas fall short – Triune God, community perfected, where intercession and response are perfectly expressed, take our muddled hopes and dreams, our frail faith and our battered hope, and weave of them something beautiful.
Today, we stand on the brink of a new week, a story yet untold, a journey that awaits. As we set out to discover what it will bring, grant that we may be bearers of faith and hope and love into a world where, it may seem, all are in short supply.
We offer our prayers, and ourselves in the name of Christ, Amen.