Sunday Prayers, Readings and Intercesions

The Third Sunday of Epiphany

Collect

Almighty God,
whose Son revealed in signs and miracles
the wonder of your saving presence:
renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness
sustain us by your mighty power;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

81all the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had given to Israel. 2Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. 3He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen’, lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 8So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. 10Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’

Response

Psalm 19

1  The heavens are telling the glory of God ♦︎
   and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2  One day pours out its song to another ♦︎
   and one night unfolds knowledge to another.
3  They have neither speech nor language ♦︎
   and their voices are not heard,
4  Yet their sound has gone out into all lands ♦︎
   and their words to the ends of the world.
5  In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, ♦︎
   that comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber
      and rejoices as a champion to run his course.
6  It goes forth from the end of the heavens
      and runs to the very end again, ♦︎
   and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7  The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; ♦︎
   the testimony of the Lord is sure
      and gives wisdom to the simple.
8  The statutes of the Lord are right and rejoice the heart; ♦︎
   the commandment of the Lord is pure
      and gives light to the eyes.
9  The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever; ♦︎
   the judgements of the Lord are true
      and righteous altogether.
10  More to be desired are they than gold,
      more than much fine gold, ♦︎
   sweeter also than honey,
      dripping from the honeycomb.
11  By them also is your servant taught ♦︎
   and in keeping them there is great reward.
12  Who can tell how often they offend? ♦︎
   O cleanse me from my secret faults!
13  Keep your servant also from presumptuous sins
      lest they get dominion over me; ♦︎
   so shall I be undefiled,
      and innocent of great offence.
14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
      be acceptable in your sight, ♦︎
   O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Epistle

1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honourable we clothe with greater honour, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Gospel

Luke 4:14-21

14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

Intercessions

Lord Jesus,

you came to bring good news.

We pray for your church,

locally and globally: 

that it will be a bringer of hope and love,

comfort and healing.

As your followers,

may we too be good news,

living your way of love in the world.


We pray for your world,

especially for places where life is hard;

For the people of Tonga,

and all who are helping to bring relief there.

We pray for those who live in places of war and violence;

that your peace will come.

We pray for prisoners,

especially prisoners of conscience and political prisoners:

once again we pray for the release of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliife.

We pray for all who live in poverty,

and all who are victims of oppression,

domestic or political.


Lord Jesus,

you brought healing to the sick,

and promised restoration of sight to the blind.

Today we pray for all 

who live with illness or disability,

for all who are subject to the frailties of old age,

for all who are terminally ill,

for those whose lives have been changed forever

because of illness.

Bring healing of body, mind and spirit, we pray.

and, even in the midst of pain and distress,

bring moments of joy and peace.


And we thank you

for those things in life

which make us feel safe, at home:

the things which make us know we belong.

We give thanks for the things which bring joy,

and we give thanks for times of happiness and contentment.

Above all, we give thanks for your great love 

for each one of us:

Give us confidence

to know we are your beloved children.

For your many blessings, we give thanks:

May our lives reflect your love, joy, hope, and peace.

Amen

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