13 March 2016
Prayers developed from the daily readings
Sunday 13 March 2016
Psalm 73: 1 – 17
The psalmist begins saying how good God is and then confesses that he is about to lose his belief because of envy of the success and prosperity and apparent freedom from care the wicked posses. It bothers him daily and he is tempted to talk about it but decides it would lead others astray. So he goes into the sanctuary and prays. Through prayer he understands that what appears to be success and freedom is temporary – like a dream.
Galatians 5: 1 – 13
Paul appeals to the Galatians not to let themselves be circumcised; not to let themselves be ruled by Jewish Law but to stay connected to Christ and be justified by faith and grace. “You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourself off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (v.4). Paul is angry with those who confuse the Galatians and require them to become Jews.
We are called to freedom, to love one another.
“… the only thing that counts is faith working through love” (v. 6).
Collect for Morning Prayer
Lake Mulwala NSW L Osburn
Sunday 13 March 2016
Isaiah 52: 13– 53: 12
This is the fourth servant song. The servant shall be exalted. Though marred in appearance he will startle many nations. Kings with be silenced and see and hear things they have not been told. We have been told this but who believed it? This servant grew like a plant in a dry zone, nothing remarkable about him. He was rejected and despised. Yet he has borne our infirmities and diseases. We thought God had struck him down but instead he was wounded for us and for our sins. Our punishment and our bruises were put on him so we can be whole and healed.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (v. 6).
Though oppressed and afflicted he says nothing. Like a lamb he is led to the slaughter. He keeps silent. Justice is perverted and he is taken away, killed, buried with the wicked and entombed with the rich. His life is a sin offering. Out of the anguish will come light and many will be made righteous. He will be made great for he poured himself out for many, counted as a sinner yet he bore the sins of many and made intercession for us all.
This psalm is a lament “my soul waits and in his word is hope” and recognition of God’s forgiveness and steadfast love: with God there is great power to redeem.
Luke 23: 26 – 49
Leading Jesus away the guards seize Simon of Cyrene and force him to carry Jesus’ cross. Women following weep and wail for Jesus. He turns and calling them the daughters of Jerusalem tells them not to weep for him but for themselves and their children. He tells them worse times are ahead and childless people will feel blessed. If this horror is happening now, in good times, what will happen when bad times come?
Jesus is crucified between criminals. Jesus says, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. They cast lots for Jesus’ clothes. Leaders scoff. Soldiers mock. There was an inscription “This was the King of the Jews”.
One criminal wants Jesus as messiah to save himself and them. But the other criminal rebukes him asking doesn’t he fear God at all? Jesus is innocent and has been crucified whereas the criminals are guilty and know this is their punishment. He says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (v. 42). Jesus replies, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (v.43).
At 3 in the afternoon darkness descends on the land. The curtain of the temple tears in two. Jesus cries out and commends his spirit to God. A centurion who observes everything states that certainly Jesus is innocent. The crowd returns home beating their breasts and Jesus’ acquaintances and followers stand at a distance and observe.
Collect for Evening Prayer
Alpine National Park Harrietville Vic
Holy God, you gave yourself as a living sacrifice for the sins of the world. Be with us in times of oppression, mistreatment, mocking, ridicule and grief. Help us to stay calm and quiet, waiting for you so that our only utterances are those that protect, welcome and forgive even our persecutors and honour and glorify you to the end through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
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