Prayers at Mid-day for Friday, 7 August, 2020 (Proper 18, Trinity 8)


Commemoration of John Mason Neale (d 1866), Anglican priest and prolific hymn writer.





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.


Hebrew Scriptures

Judges 9.1-16, 19-21




Psalm 91

You who live in the shelter of the Most High,

   who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, 

will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress;

   my God, in whom I trust.’ 

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

   and from the deadly pestilence; 

he will cover you with his pinions,

   and under his wings you will find refuge;

   his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. 

You will not fear the terror of the night,

   or the arrow that flies by day, 

or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,

   or the destruction that wastes at noonday. 


A thousand may fall at your side,

   ten thousand at your right hand,

   but it will not come near you. 

You will only look with your eyes

   and see the punishment of the wicked. 


Because you have made the Lord your refuge,

   the Most High your dwelling-place, 

no evil shall befall you,

   no scourge come near your tent. 


For he will command his angels concerning you

   to guard you in all your ways. 

On their hands they will bear you up,

   so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. 

You will tread on the lion and the adder,

   the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot. 


Those who love me, I will deliver;

   I will protect those who know my name. 

When they call to me, I will answer them;

   I will be with them in trouble,

   I will rescue them and honour them. 

With long life I will satisfy them,

   and show them my salvation.





Acts 4.13-31



John 2.1-12


On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there for a few days.



Commentary (Father Michael)


When I was a military chaplain I learned that whatever limited biblical literacy soldiers might have, they certainly knew John 2.1-12, because I frequently heard joking requests: “Hey, Padre, can you turn some of this water into wine”?    I usually had a stock response, also joking, which was that “I can’t, I’m in sales, not management”, which in the context of John 2 isn’t far off the mark.   In John’s gospel, the miracles are “signs”, proof that Jesus is the Son of God.   Only Jesus can do these things.  The purpose of this sign isn’t to get his mother off the hook, or to keep thirsty revellers happy, but it is instead to show the “glory” of God so that others will come to belief.


Even if it functions as a sign, there are some oddly particular details about this story that draw our attention.    The very specific number of jars (six), their capacity (20-30 gallons), and the fact that the wine is exquisite (no to mention the fact that the guests are mostly in the bag by this point!) all give this story texture and make it come alive in our minds.  So, besides making an abstract theological point, the story itself is trying to tell us something.


For me, the story of the wedding of at Cana speaks to the same sort of abundance that we see in the miracles where Jesus feeds a crowd with a few scraps of food, with piles of food leftover.   In my sermon on Wednesday on the feeding of the Four Thousand in Matthew 15, I spoke about how this abundance is seen everywhere in Jesus’ acts in all the gospels.  Thus, both the copious amounts of wine and its high quality are typical of the abundant grace that God pours out in Christ. In John’s gospel, where Jesus promises that he came so his followers could have life and have it abundantly (Jn 10.10), the wedding at Cana sets the tone for the grace and goodness to follow.




Have you been the recipient of God’s generosity?  How did that generosity change you?  What other questions come to mind in today’s passages?




Let us pray in faith to God our Father, to his Son Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit, saying, “Lord, hear and have mercy.”


For the Church of the living God throughout the world, let us ask the riches of his grace.  Today we pray in the Anglican Communion Cycle of Prayer for the clergy and people of the Diocese of Ogoni (Nigeria) and their bishop, The Rt Revd Solomon Gberegbara; for the clergy and people of the Diocese of Brasilia (Brazil) and their bishop, The Rt Revd Maurício Jose Araujo De Andrade; for the clergy and people of the Diocese of Brazzaville (Congo) and for their bishop, The Rt Revd Molanga Jean Botola 

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For all who proclaim he word of truth, especially all who struggle to communicate the gospel within the isolation and restrictions of the pandemic, 

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For all who have consecrated their lives to the kingdom of God, and for all struggling to follow the way of Christ, let us all the gifts of the Spirit.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For Elizabeth our Queen, for Justin our Prime Minister, and for all who govern the nations, that they may strive for justice and peace, let us ask the strength of God.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For the people of Lebanon, as they face the aftermath of the terrible explosion in Beirut on Tuesday, and for the many injured and homeless, and for those who mourn.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For scholars and research workers, particularly for those working on treatments and a vaccine for Covid 19, and for all whose work seeks to benefit humanity, let us ask the light of the Lord.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


We pray to be forgiven our sins and set free from all hardship, distress, want, war, and injustice.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For all who have passed from this life in faith and obedience,  and for all who have perished from Covid 19 and from diseases that went untreated because hospitals were overwhelmed, let us ask the peace of Christ.

Lord, hear and have mercy.



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.





Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry with the bread of his life and the word of his kingdom.  Renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness, you Have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant John Mason Neale: Teach us to drive from the world the ugliness of chaos and disorder, that our eyes may not be blind to your glory, and that at length everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.