Weekly Readings and Prayers
Sunday 29th January 2023 Candlemas
Almighty and ever-living God, clothed in majesty, whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple, in substance of our flesh: grant that we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts, by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
First Reading Malachi 3. 1–5
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. Then I will draw near to you for judgement; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow, and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.
1 The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it, : the compass of the world and all who dwell therein.
2 For he has founded it upon the seas : and set it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
3 ‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, : or who can rise up in his holy place?’
4 ‘Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, : who have not lifted up their soul to an idol, nor sworn an oath to a lie;
5 ‘They shall receive a blessing from the Lord, : a just reward from the God of their salvation.’
6 Such is the company of those who seek him, : of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
7 Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; : and the King of glory shall come in.
8 ‘Who is the King of glory?’ : ‘The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord who is mighty in battle.’
9 Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; : and the King of glory shall come in.
10 ‘Who is this King of glory?’ : ‘The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.’
Glory be to the Father and to the Son : and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning is now : and shall be for ever. Amen.
Second Reading Hebrews 2. 14–end
Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Gospel Luke 2. 22–40
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’ Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’ And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’ There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
Post Communion Prayer
Lord, you fulfilled the hope of Simeon and Anna, who lived to welcome the Messiah: may we, who have received these gifts beyond words, prepare to meet Christ Jesus when he comes to bring us to eternal life; for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever Amen.
Prayers for the week
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light Psalm 18:28
Every day this week we pray for peace in the world; that every nation may seek the way that leads to peace; that human rights and freedoms may everywhere be respected and the world's resources be ungrudgingly shared.
We pray for those who live in Priest Hill, Prospect Lane and Prospect Place.
Sunday 29th January
Everlasting God, as we celebrate the feast of Candlemas today, we give thanks for your son Jesus who is the Light of the World and for your call to us to share in that light. We pray that our Church may be a light to those who live in the darkness of unbelief, and reveal to them his love.
Monday 30th January
Almighty God, we thank you for all who take risks and make sacrifices for others in their daily work, and especially for the men and women who work in our emergency services. Help us to respect and appreciate our fire service, police and paramedics and bless them with the support of the communities that depend so heavily on them in times of crisis.
Tuesday 31st January
Generous God, may your light be used to uncover injustice. Give us strength and fortitude to look injustice in the eye, to name it aloud and to not avert our eyes. Encourage us to be curious and to follow your light to collaboration, connection, and solutions.
Wednesday 1st February
Creator God, you gave us this world and made us stewards of it. We are a world family who we should care about, despite our differences of race, colour, creed or gender. Too often we are selfish only thinking of ourselves and so we ask you to forgive our selfishness, widen our vision and help us to be the caring people we ought to be.
Thursday 2nd February
Father God, we thank you for the creative, peaceful spirit of Vladimir A. Ovchinnikov, an 84-year-old Russian artist who has been painting murals on Russian city walls protesting the invasion of Ukraine. May the light of peace and love of neighbour continue to burn brightly in Vladimir Ovchinnikov. Inspire him with the Holy Spirit, feeding his desire to live a life filled with love and courage.
Friday 3rd February
Eternal God, for our troubled world its peoples and their leaders. We pray for those caught up in war and violence, especially the innocent victims of evil and destructive act of terrorism. May peace be found and good sense flourish that we may see injustice and wrong vanquished.
Saturday 4th February
Almighty God, in the noise and confusion of life, we pray for peace in our hearts. In these few moments of stillness, we bring before you our prayers, asking for help and guidance as we journey through our earthly life and giving thanks and praise for our many blessings.
Heavenly Father, please accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.