Friday, 10 April 2009

The Good Friday Intercessions

In 2007 when I was Vicar of All Hallows in Leeds I and the writer Annie Heppenstall, who has since - I am very pleased to say - become my wife, wrote an alternative to the Good Friday Intercessions. I was reminded of this as we were praying the BCP office together this morning and came across the appalling collect for Good Friday - calling for the conversion of 'Jews, Turks and Infidels.' (That will teach me to get romantic about the rhythmns of the language of the BCP!)

It also reminded me of how Good Friday was often a time when anti semitic mobs attacked the already marginalised and persecuted Jewish Community of Europe in the middle ages and beyond. The roots of Christian antisemitism run deep as Sr Teresa Brittain of the Sisters of Sion reminded us with passion and conviction at the Queen's Foundation Lecture I organised at the end of last term. Her talk led me to revisit - during Passiontide - Rosemary Radford Ruether's very challenging Faith and Fratricide .

Although the contemporary official Good Friday intercessions of the Church of England were considerably more positive towards the Jewish community than the BCP or indeed later liturgies, we came up with a revised version to that in Times and Seasons that was also more positive in attitude to other faith traditions without diluting the central Christian message.

In addition to this we wanted prayers prayers that affirmed voices dissenting from the status quo rather than just praying for leaders. We also added prayers about the earth and the indigenous peoples as well as other changes in style and emphasis for instance significantly changing the prayer for those who do not believe the gospel of Christ....

Anyway here it is

The Prayers of Intercession

President: God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Therefore we pray to our heavenly Father
for people everywhere according to their needs.

Minister: Let us pray for the Church of God throughout the world -
for unity in faith, in witness and in service,
for all disciples of Christ, and those whom they serve,
for N and N, our bishops, and the people of this diocese,
for all Christians in this place,
for those to be baptized,
and for those who are mocked and persecuted for their faith
that God will confirm his Church in faith,
increase it in love, and preserve it in peace.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

President: Compassionate and ever merciful God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church
is governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer
for all your faithful people;
that in their vocation and ministry
each may serve you in love and truth
to the glory of your Name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Minister: Let us pray for all creation,
for the fragility, the interdependence,
for the majesty and wonder,
for the creatures, the plants,
the indigenous peoples whose traditions teach us to truly value the earth,
for the urgency of our call to active, loving stewardship.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

President: Most Loving God,
open our hearts to love
all that is blessed
with the sacred breath of your spirit,
and to confess that what you made is indeed good.
Move us to live lightly and tread gently upon this earth,
resisting the temptations of consumerism and waste,
of destruction and pollution
that we may participate in the healing,
the renewal and liberation
of your creation.

Minister: Let us pray for the people of the world and their
leaders -
the Parliaments of this land,
for those who administer the law and all who
serve in public office,
for campaigners, community activists and dissenters to the status quo who challenge the injustices of our flawed institutions and systems
and for all who strive for justice and reconciliation
that they may be strengthened and challenged by a deeper knowledge of God's rule of compassion and mercy, of justice and peace
and that by God's help the world may live in peace and freedom.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

President: Most gracious God and Father,
in whose will is our peace:
turn our hearts and the hearts of all to yourself,
that by the power of your Spirit
the peace which is founded on justice
may be established throughout the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Minister: Let us pray for God's ancient people, the Jews,
the first to hear his word -
for greater understanding between Christian and Jew
for the removal of our blindness and bitterness of heart
that God will grant us grace to be faithful to his covenant
and to grow in the love of his name.
Let us pray for the other children of Abraham, the Muslims,
for the healing of past hurts,
and for an openness of heart where differences may become creative opportunities for an ever deeper understanding of the wonder of God.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

President: Lord God bless all the children of Abraham,
Jew, Christian and Muslim;
take from us all blindness and bitterness of heart,
and hasten the coming of your kingdom,
where we shall dwell together in mutual love and peace
under the one God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Minister: Let us pray for those of other faith traditions,
for those who follow the noble path of the Buddha,
the yogic path of the Hindus and the way of the eternal Guru of the Sikhs. May we open our hearts to their wisdom.

Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us

President: God of Truth
open our hearts to the wisdom of other traditions
and give us the courage , strength and humility
to share the love and truth that we know in Jesus,
our crucified and risen Lord

Minister: Let us pray for those who do not believe in the goodness of God -
for those who take your name in vain for the purposes of violence and hatred,
for the contemptuous and scornful,
for those who persecute people of faith,
that God will open their hearts to the truth
and lead them to faith and love.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

President: Merciful God,
creator of all the people of the earth,
expand our compassion and strengthen our resolve to meet violence, persecution, contempt and scorn
with a love confident in your promise of the Holy Spirit.

Minister: Let us pray for those of us who suffer -
for those who are deprived and oppressed,
for all who are sick,
for those in darkness, in doubt and in despair,
in loneliness and in fear,
for those who have lost faith,
for prisoners, captives and refugees,
for the victims of false accusations and violence,
for all at the point of death
and those who watch beside them
that God in his mercy will sustain them
with the knowledge of his love.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

President: Compassionate and ever merciful God,
the comfort of the sad, the strength of those who suffer;
hear the prayers of your children who cry out of any trouble:
and to every distressed soul grant mercy, relief,
and refreshment,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Minister: Let us commend ourselves and all God's children
to his unfailing love,
and pray for the grace of a holy life,
that, with all who have died in the peace of Christ,
we may come to the fullness of eternal life
and the joy of the resurrection.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

President: O God
you took upon you
the yoke of humanity
and the burden of love,
and did not find it easy:
let us learn from you
to share the weight
of all this aching world,
that our souls may be light,
and our hearts rested,
as together we are carried by you
in Jesus Christ, Amen
Janet Morley

Revised and adapted from Times and Seasons p316-318 by Ray Gaston and Annie Heppenstall

No comments: