Friday, 19 December 2014

20 December 2014


Prayers developed from the daily readings 

Saturday 20 December 2014 
Morning Prayer

Psalms 114 and 115

First, the psalmist recalls the exodus and crossing of the sea and the Jordan: that the natural world moved and changed to suit God’s purpose. The second psalm starts praising God for faithful and constant expression of love. The psalmist ridicules the idol-makers who like their idols may have the physical senses (eyes, ears, noses…) but make no use of them. God is contrasted as a sensing and active presence worthy to be trusted. The psalmist blesses the hearer of the psalm.

Isaiah 19: 16 – 20: 6

Isaiah continues the prophesy about Egypt. There will be a time when Egypt fears God and many cities speak the language of Canaan and are loyal to the Lord. When they are oppressed God will send a saviour. There will be exchange between Egypt and Assyria and links with Israel.

When Sargon the king of Assyria comes to Ashdod, Isaiah is told to go around naked and barefoot for three years because the king of Assyria will lead the Egyptians away stripped and barefoot – humiliated and shamed. Those who rely on Egypt as the country that will bring salvation will be afraid.

Mark 12: 13 – 27

Some Pharisees and Herodians come and try to trap Jesus. They begin with flattery then ask should taxes be paid to Caesar. Jesus can see it is a trap and asks to see a denarius (a coin). He takes the coin and asks whose portrait and whose inscription is on the coin? Jesus says, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”*

They put to Jesus a hypothetical question about a woman whose husband dies and she is then married to his brother who also dies and this repeats through seven husbands. When she dies and is resurrected whose wife is she? Jesus says that heaven is not like that. When God says to Moses in the story of the burning bush “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” that is present tense – he is the God of the living not the dead. God is and they are.

Collect for Morning Prayer

The Abbey
Benedictine Community Jamberoo NSW
2012 L Osburn

God of the here and now, you are present through all the ages. Help us to understand your closeness to us, your immediacy and understand our life in you and with you is eternal. Steer us away from idols that may be images of thing or ideas we revere so that we are freed from those oppressions and can bring our lives and very being to you through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord. Amen.

Saturday 20 December 2014
Evening Prayer

Psalms 116 and 117

The first psalm gives thanks to God for healing. Even when he is profoundly depressed the psalmist trusts in God. The second psalm is a global call to praise God.

Isaiah 57: 1 – 13

Righteous people sometimes die early and so are spared from encountering great evil.

But there are those who are self-serving worshipping idols, rebelling, sacrificing their children and surrounding themselves with pagan symbols. It is like a form of adultery – going off with idols instead of being faithful to God. When things get tough they will call out to the idols, but the wind will carry the idols away. Only people who make God their refuge will be welcome in God’s presence.

Revelation 20: 11 – 21: 8

All the dead congregate around the throne and the Book of Life is opened. Hell and death itself are thrown into the lake of fire, as are those whose names are not written in the Book of Life.

A new earth and new heaven appear. There is no sea but a holy city, a New Jerusalem. The voice says that now the dwelling place of God is with people. They will be God’s and God will be theirs forever. There will be no more tears, death, mourning, crying or pain. Everything is being made new. God is the Alpha and the Omega: the Beginning and the End. The thirsty will get the water of life free. Those who overcome will be children of God and inherit. But those who are vile, unbelieving, who are immoral, use magic and worship idols will go to the fiery lake.

Collect for Evening Prayer

The Abbey
Benedictine Community Jamberoo NSW
2012 L Osburn
Holy and Almighty God, the beginning and end of all things, we praise you and thank you for your righteous people through every age. Heal us from the things we do wrong, turn our heads and hearts to you. Shape our lives for your purpose and your glory so that when we come before you, you know us, we have a record in your Book of Life and we are secure in the knowledge that we will dwell with you and you with us forever through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

* No portraits were allowed on Jewish coinage, they were specially minted because of the commandment against images – this coin was clearly a Roman coin. It can’t be used to pay temple tax.
Humans are made in God’s image. So Jesus might be saying – give the Roman coins and pay tax, but give Caesar to God and themselves to God. Caesar isn’t a God but is made in God’s image. Paying tax isn’t worship.

No comments: