Today the Bible readings are related to the celebration of the Holy Innocents
Grace, mercy and peace,
from God the Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Timothy 1.2
Glory to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as in the beginning, so now, and for ever. Amen.
A poem: The Lord’s Servant
He was despised; he was rejected:
a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
As one from whom people hide their faces:
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Ours were the sufferings he bore:
ours the torments he endured,
While we thought he was being punished:
struck by God and brought low.
He was pierced for our sins:
bruised for no fault but ours.
His punishment has won our peace:
and by his wounds we are healed.
We had all strayed like sheep:
all taking our own way;
But the Lord laid on him:
the guilt of us all.
The opening prayer
By night and by day we worship the Lord; let us pray with one heart and mind.
We remember God’s presence and pause in silence.
Father of lights, receive the prayer and praise we offer you as our daily sacrifice; make us a light for all the world, delivered by your goodness from all the works of darkness; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
Thus says the LORD:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.
Thus says the LORD:
Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the LORD:
they shall come back from the land of the enemy;
there is hope for your future,
says the LORD:
your children shall come back to their own country.
Indeed I heard Ephraim pleading:
‘You disciplined me, and I took the discipline;
I was like a calf untrained.
Bring me back, let me come back,
for you are the LORD my God.
For after I had turned away I repented;
and after I was discovered, I struck my thigh;
I was ashamed, and I was dismayed
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he the child I delight in?
As often as I speak against him,
I still remember him.
Therefore I am deeply moved for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
says the LORD.
If the Lord had not been on our side,
now may Israel say:
if the Lord had not been on our side,
when our enemies rose against us,
Then they would have swallowed us alive:
when their anger was kindled against us.
Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
and the torrent gone over us:
the raging waters would have gone clean over us.
But praised be the Lord:
who has not given us as a prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowler:
the snare is broken, and we have gone free.
Our help is in the name of the Lord:
who has made heaven and earth.
1 John 1.5-2.2
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
‘A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’
The Lord’s Prayer (traditional)
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
This week’s prayer:
whose children suffered at cruel hands,
though they had done no wrong:
give us grace neither to act cruelly
nor to stand indifferently by,
but to defend the weak from the tyranny of the strong;
in the name of Jesus Christ who suffered for us,
yet is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
We thank God for what we have and pray for what we need.
Today we pray for ourselves, that God would give us humility and compassion. In our local church, we ask God to guide the work and decisions of parish council. In our world, we pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their faith around the world. We remember before God those who have asked for our prayers, or who are in need of them.
A prayer for the day
Lord, our God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier: we ask you to cleanse us from all hypocrisy, to unite us to our fellow men and women by the bonds of peace and love, and to confirm us in holiness; now and for ever. Amen.
The Lord be with us
now and forever.
Let us praise the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
May the God of peace equip us with everything good so that we may do his will; and may he work in us that which is pleasing in his sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
see Hebrews 13.20-21