Let us ask God for help to understand his word.
Gracious God, when we read your word we do not always grasp its real meaning. In Jesus’ name we ask that your Spirit will help us to a clearer understanding of your ways.
Our first reading this morning is from the New Testament, the Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 1 and verses 1 to 4.
The writer is not identified, but it is possible that it was written by Barnabas who was a close friend of Paul. The letter was written to Jews who had accepted Christianity, and its aim was to show that Jesus was the fulfilment of all the promises and prophesies which are in the Old Testament, and that Christ’s sacrifice superseded the sacrifices and rituals in the Temple.
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors many times and in many ways through the prophets,
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son. He is the one through whom God created the universe, the one whom God has chosen to possess all things at the end.
3 He reflects the brightness of God's glory and is the exact likeness of God's own being, sustaining the universe with his powerful word. After achieving forgiveness for the sins of all human beings, he sat down in heaven at the right side of God, the Supreme Power.
4 The Son was made greater than the angels, just as the name that God gave him is greater than theirs.
Great and Wonderful God, we are amazed when we stop to think about all the wonderful things you have done. Your might and power are beyond anything that we humans can imagine. Your gifts are everywhere, and they are so numerous that we very often take them for granted. It is impossible to count all the good things that we have already received, and still, you continue to give us more and more.
You have created us, and all other lifeforms, and everything is sustained, by your power. Your goodness and love are so great, that our praise and thanks can never be enough.
Merciful God, you know us better than we know ourselves, and you know that we continually get things wrong. We confess that we have broken your rules, disobeyed your commandments, been selective in our hearing and understanding of your truth, and we have listened to the wrong people for the wrong reasons.
We know that we have done things that we should not have done, and we have failed to do the things that we should have done. Sometimes we use our busy lifestyles as an excuse when we do not take time to do the things that we know we should, but often it is simply our own comfort, and convenience, that is more important to us than ensuring that we make proper use of your generous gifts.
We confess that we have not always treated strangers, or even our own family and friends, in the way that we should. We have said things that should not have been said, and sometimes we have been silent when we should have spoken-out. We have not tried to overcome our petty disagreements, and we have not offered our help to others when we could have done so. Sometimes we have let our fear of what others may think prevent us from doing what we should.
Merciful God, we ask for your forgiveness for all our many failures to obey you, and to follow in your ways. Give us the wisdom to know what we ought to do, when we ought to do it, and may we have the strength and courage to do what is right irrespective of what others may think or say. Help us to use all your gifts wisely, and to share them with others
Loving God, not only have you given us all the material things that we need, but you have also put many people who love and care for us into our lives. We thank you for all these people, family and friends, and strangers too.
There are many people whose daily work is to help and support others. They do a vast range of jobs, and much of their work goes unnoticed by us until we have a
particular need for their knowledge and skills.
Today we remember before you all those who work with our young people and in the other social services. Bless them, support them in their difficult work, and give them the strength and determination to continue. Let them know that they are valued, and that their efforts are appreciated.
Help us also to play our part. We know that we are your hands, and that we should do our best to show your love and care to all people everywhere. Lord, we ask that when the need arises, that your Spirit will prompt us to offer whatever help we can, and that we do not let our fear of rejection stop us from doing what we know to be right.
Hear these our prayers which we offer in the name of Jesus.