Prayers at Mid-day for Friday, 19 June, 2020


(Today we commemorate in the Church of England calendar, Sundar Singh, sadhu (holy man), evangelist to India and teacher of the faith, 1929




O God, make speed to save us.


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.



The Lord is our refuge and our strength:  O come, let us worship.



Psalm 88


1 O Lord, God of my salvation,

   when, at night, I cry out in your presence, 

2 let my prayer come before you;

   incline your ear to my cry. 


3 For my soul is full of troubles,

   and my life draws near to Sheol. 

4 I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;

   I am like those who have no help, 

5 like those forsaken among the dead,

   like the slain that lie in the grave,

like those whom you remember no more,

   for they are cut off from your hand. 

6 You have put me in the depths of the Pit,

   in the regions dark and deep. 

7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,

   and you overwhelm me with all your waves.



8 You have caused my companions to shun me;

   you have made me a thing of horror to them.

I am shut in so that I cannot escape; 

9   my eye grows dim through sorrow.

Every day I call on you, O Lord;

   I spread out my hands to you. 

10 Do you work wonders for the dead?

   Do the shades rise up to praise you?


11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,

   or your faithfulness in Abaddon? 

12 Are your wonders known in the darkness,

   or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness? 


13 But I, O Lord, cry out to you;

   in the morning my prayer comes before you. 

14 O Lord, why do you cast me off?

   Why do you hide your face from me? 

15 Wretched and close to death from my youth up,

   I suffer your terrors; I am desperate. 

16 Your wrath has swept over me;

   your dread assaults destroy me. 

17 They surround me like a flood all day long;

   from all sides they close in on me. 

18 You have caused friend and neighbour to shun me;

   my companions are in darkness.


Hebrew Scriptures

Numbers 13:1-3, 21-30


The Lord said to Moses, 2‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites; from each of their ancestral tribes you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.’ 3So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the Lord, all of them leading men among the Israelites. 

21 So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. 22They went up into the Negeb, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23And they came to the Wadi Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them. They also brought some pomegranates and figs. 24That place was called the Wadi Eshcol, because of the cluster that the Israelites cut down from there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. 26And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27And they told him, ‘We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29The Amalekites live in the land of the Negeb; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea, and along the Jordan.’ 30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.’ 




Romans 2:25 – 3:8


25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. 29Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.


Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4By no means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written,

‘So that you may be justified in your words,

   and prevail in your judging.’ 

5But if our injustice serves to confirm the justice of God, what should we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), ‘Let us do evil so that good may come’? Their condemnation is deserved!



Matthew 18:21-35




21 Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ 22Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.


23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” 29Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. 31When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’


Commentary (Fr. Michael)


My thoughts about today’s gospel reading from Matthew are in the context of a sermon I am preparing for this Sunday, 21 June, 2020, which is the National Indigenous Day of Prayer.  On this Sunday, many Anglican parishes will be dedicating their liturgies (online, of course) to praying for and with our indigenous brothers and sisters and thinking about our relationships with them as Anglicans and as Canadians.  You can find out more about the national Church’s service here..


Reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters in Christ, the process that our Church has been engaged in for some years now, must be rooted in forgiveness.    In today’s reading, Jesus teaches us that forgiveness must be given lavishly.  He tells Peter that when a member of the church sins against us, we must not forgive even “seven times”, which seems difficult enough, but “seventy-seven times” (Mt 18:22).  This seemingly impossible number is entirely congruent with the way that grace is depicted throughout the gospels, as something abundant, undeserved, and impossible without God’s intervention and inspiration.  As church, we are called to bring our grievances lovingly to one another, and to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Eph 4:32, Col 3:13).


For reconciliation to be achieved, forgiveness must first be sought humbly and sincerely.  We as Church and as Canadians must understand what it is we are seeking forgiveness for: the historical, cultural, and political and current injustices that indigenous Canadians have experienced and still experience today.  As we see playing out in the U.S. currently, forgiveness and reconciliation, if they are to be real, must involve huge changes in law enforcement, justice, the economy – even society itself.  Such changes require difficult conversations and hard work over time.    The same dynamics apply here in Canada as we seek to live in peace and justice with our indigenous peoples.


For reconciliation to be achieved, we need to understand what things might keep us from sincerely seeking forgiveness.    Obstacles to seeking forgiveness might include our complacency, our inability to recognize our privilege, our mythologies about our history, and even our selfish refusal to think that we might be any way complicit in the grievances at stake.   If these obstacles seem daunting, then let us put our faith in the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love, truth, and unity, which gives our Church its being and which, with the abundant grace of God, will help us to seem forgiveness and reconciliation with our indigenous neighbours and friends.





As a Christian and an Anglican, what would you like to know about the issues involving our Church’s Reconciliation process with indigenous Canadians?   What could we do as a parish? 

What questions come to your mind about this passage?




Lord, I pray that the people of God in all the world may worship in spirit and in truth.

Lord hear my prayer.


Lord, I pray that the Church may discover again that unity which is your will.

Lord hear my prayer.


Lord, I pray that the nations of the earth may seek after the ways that make for peace.

Lord hear my prayer.


Lord, I pray for our Anglican Church of Canada, our leaders, and people, that your spirit of love and forgiveness may inspire our work of Reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, and that we may bear fruit worthy of your Kingdom.


Lord, I pray that the whole of creation, groaning in travail, may be set free to enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Lord hear my prayer.


I pray that all who with Christ have entered the shadow of death may rest in peace and rise in glory, and I pray especially this morning for the souls of the thousands that have succumbed to Covid 19.

Lord hear my prayer.


I pray that you will protect medical and essential workers, inspire the efforts of researchers and scientists seeking treatments and a vaccine for Covid 19, and that you will heal the world you graciously gave us.




Collects of the Day (Proper 11, Trinity 1):


Almighty God, without you we are not able to please you.  Mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Sundar Singh, whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of India; raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


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, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


Thanks be to God