the plight of our country is deep,
and the suffering of Christians is severe and frightening.
Spare our lives, and grant us patience and courage
to continue our witness to Christian values with trust and hope.
Peace is the foundation of life;
grant us the peace and stability that will enable us to live with each other
… in dignity and joy. Glory be to you forever. Amen.
(Pilgrim Prayer, 12)
Responsive Psalm 29
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendour.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 41: 14 – 20
14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you insect Israel! I will help you, says the Lord;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Now, I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff.
16 You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them.
Then you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.
17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together,
20 so that all may see and know, all may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Reflection question: There is no question that the past few months we have witnessed tremendous difficulties. How might our sense of hope be rekindled as we reflect on God’s promises which are reflected in the images used by the prophet?
Prayer of Intercession
Our Father in Heaven, holy is your name—
may it be made holy again.
We know your name is holy,
and we declare it holy to you today… day and night—
We cry out to you, standing in your presence, and remembering your promises—
with your own words, Lord God, we declare it: Syria is your people, Iraq your handiwork.
Yet, our hearts have fainted. We are oppressed.
We need to see your love and forgiveness.
How we need your comfort now—
we need to know your love more than ever.
How long, O Lord?
How long will you leave your people in this state of weakness, this hole of wickedness?
How long will you leave the work of your hands, and let the depravities of the evil one flourish? How long must we be cut off from our loved ones? How long will we be strangers among the living?
Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy.
Have mercy on your children’s children, have mercy on those who declare your holy name.
(Pilgrim Prayer, 14)
With the words that Jesus taught us, let us now pray together in the language of our hearts –
Filled with the Holy Spirit, may our witness and work mirror the all-encompassing love
of Jesus, as we seek to Father’s will each day. Amen.