with thanks to Reverend Clemence Taplin Chaplain
St Paul wrote,”As John was finishing his work he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No. but one is coming after me: I am not worthy to untie the thongs of his sandals on his feet.” Acts 13.25
The night has passed and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.
Silence may be kept
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever. Amen.
A reading from Luke’s gospel, chapter 1.
Zechariah ‘asks for a sign and he himself becomes a sign.’ He had been literally ‘dumb struck’, to unprecedented, unimagined news of God’s breaking into human life in his elderly wife’s womb… Yet as we see at the birth, ‘human rejection and failure rarely have the last word in Luke’s Gospel.’ *
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 60 But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” 61 They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” 62 Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: (of which we read a part)
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
78 By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon[b] us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80 The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.
Lord, may your word live in us and bear much fruit to your glory.
What are your reflections on this reading?
Almighty and everlasting God,
you are always more ready to hear than we to pray,
and give more than either we desire or deserve:
pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy,
forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask,
Save through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven.
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.
Eternal God and Father, by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to your service, and live this day in love to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us praise the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen.
Song: Peace of God
Copyright © 1995, The Anglican Church of Australia Trust Corporation. From the text of A Prayer Book for Australia, published under the imprint of Broughton Books. Service downloaded from St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne prayer resources for use at home; Adapted for single internal use only. Reading NRSV. Prayer of the Week APBA p.554 *Brendan Byrne The Hospitality of God – A reading of Luke’s Gospel, p22