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Scottish Christians join in prayer on second Sunday of Advent

This Sunday (6 December), as the season of Advent continues, Christians across the country – and further afield – will once more join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Second Sunday of Advent candle

As with previous weeks during lockdown, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion – such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn’t one of them,” Dr Fair said.

“The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing’ and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.

“It can be hard to keep going when there’s no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

“All the more reason then for God’s people to continue faithfully in prayer. And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides.

“If Sunday at 7pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn’t been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/AJhNP20cx24

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic (a copy of which will be available to read here soon) states:

“‘Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.’ God speaks and the word spoken is a word of comfort to the people of God. The word is spoken to those who feel that they are powerless and to those who are wearied and exhausted by all that they have endured.

“Thereafter, the words of Isaiah take us out into the wilderness and, if we listen with open hearts, we will find ourselves in that place and hear a voice crying out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’”

“Even in the wilderness, we are called to prepare so that, in times to come, we might see the presence of God renewed in our midst. (Isaiah 40: 1-11)

“The words are taken up again in the beginning of the Gospel of Mark as a messenger announces the coming of Jesus Christ. In every age, and in every time, the words resonate if we listen with open hearts. (Mark 1: 1-8)

“God speaks and the word spoken is a word of comfort for our age and our times. We embrace and hold fast to the word spoken to us through our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

We pray:

Living God,
In this season of Advent,
Speak to us words of comfort.
Speak that we might hear
And, as we do so, find comfort and strength renewed.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
In this season of Advent,
Speak to us as we read the signs of the times.
Speak, that we might understand the times,
And know, even now, your presence restored in our midst.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
In this season of Advent,
Speak to us in the wilderness.
Speak, even in the hard places,
And teach us to mark out the places where you have met with us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
In this season of Advent,
Speak to us that we might learn of the rough ground made level.
Speak of the rugged places made plain
And of the time when we shall hear it proclaimed again that the Lord is coming!
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
In this season of Advent,
Speak to the lonely and to the bereaved.
Speak to the anxious and to the fearful
And carry us as the shepherd carries the lamb, even Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Amen

Advent

Scottish Christians join in prayer on first Sunday of Advent

This Sunday (29 November), as the season of Advent begins, Christians across the country – and further afield – will once more join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A lady's hands lighting a candle for Advent

As with previous weeks during lockdown, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion – such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn’t one of them,” Dr Fair said.

“The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing’ and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.

“It can be hard to keep going when there’s no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

“All the more reason then for God’s people to continue faithfully in prayer. And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides.

“If Sunday at 7pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn’t been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/c5YS3mv06R4

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic, states:

“We come now to a significant place in the long journey that we have made over these past months and the place we have come to is where the season of Advent begins.

“The season speaks of Hope and, though it begins with a recognition that we still face the darkness, brings with it the promise of light. The first Sunday in Advent will, in years past, have echoed to the singing of ancient and inspiring words:

O come, O come, Immanuel/and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here/until the Son of God appear.
The words express the longing of the people of God to know the coming of God amongst them. In anticipation of this promise being fulfilled, the people of God sing out:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you O Israel.

“In our hearts, the promise still resonates and so we await the coming of God. Indeed, we may say that the season of Advent is a season of waiting and anticipation and one that yields the promise of God: ‘From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.’ (Isaiah 64: 4) We wait and we pray.”

We pray:

God of the Advent promise,
We come on our journey to the place where the promise is renewed.
Even in the darkness,
We look for the light of your presence to be revealed.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of the Advent promise,
We come on our journey to the place where hope is renewed.
Even in the midst of all that we have faced in times past,
We trust in the hope that does not disappoint.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of the Advent promise,
We come on our journey to the place where we must wait for a time.
Even though we have waited in times past,
We gladly do so again trusting that our waiting shall yield the coming of God.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of the Advent promise,
We come on our journey to the place of anticipation.
Even though we do not yet see,
We anticipate the good gift that you will offer.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of the Advent promise,
We come on our journey to the place where we resolve to journey on. .
Even though we have travelled through hard times,
We go forward, trusting in the promise: Immanuel, shall come to us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Amen

Kirk’s Advent Calendar to bring ‘Bright Hope for Tomorrow’

The countdown starts as Advent begins on Sunday 29 November running until Thursday 24 December. This year, people from across the Church of Scotland are joining together to look forward to ‘Bright Hope For Tomorrow’ through our Advent Calendar.

The Church of Scotland's Bright Hope For Tomorrow Advent calendar image
Advent will be marked with a mixture of stories, videos, reflections and prayers from congregations.

Meaning ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’, Advent is a time of prayer and preparation for the coming of God’s Son. It is also a time when many look outwards to the needs of others, spreading joy with friends, families, local communities and further afield.

This year will feel very different to previous years, as Covid-19 restrictions continue across Scotland limiting our opportunities to meet and worship in person. However, we hope that our Advent calendar will help spread a little hope and joy during these dark days.

Bright Hope For Tomorrow

Bright Hope For Tomorrow is the theme of the Church of Scotland’s 2020 Advent Calendar, based on the lines ‘Strength for Today, Bright Hope for Tomorrow’ from the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness, ” Lord, unto me!

Sharing faith, joy and love

On Sunday 29 November we will get things underway with an introductory video on our website from the Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, and will then continue on Tuesday 1 December through our next four weeks. We invite you to sign up for a daily email or check our online Advent Calendar for some daily inspiration.

Throughout the season we’ll bring you stories that highlight how church members around the country and further afield are planning to celebrate the birth of Jesus and sharing their faith, joy and love.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, invites everyone to share in this year’s Advent.

“We’re facing up to what will be a very different Advent but perhaps, therefore, it’s all the more important that we travel through it together. The Church’s Advent calendar gives us an opportunity to do just that,” Dr Fair said.

“You can sign up so that each day of Advent you’ll get a notification for that day’s instalment, whether it’s a reading, prayer, video message or a short reflection.

“I’d like to encourage as many folks as possible to share in this. Pausing together each day in an otherwise hectic schedule is crucial for our own well-being and for our sense of oneness. May the result of it be that we are truly ready for Christmas when that time comes.”

This year for our daily Advent offerings we have collected moving, thought-provoking and encouraging stories sourced from our Church of Scotland congregations. They will include:

  • Inspiring stories and reflections – of creative events and personal experiences from individuals and groups across the Kirk.
  • Videos – Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair will introduce Advent, followed by a few extra surprises throughout the season.
  • Prayers – a selection of prayers from people from across the Church.

Sign up for your daily reminder

You can sign up for a daily reminder email straight into your inbox with a link to that day’s Advent window. Sign up below:https://thechurchofscotland.adventcalendar.com/

Scottish Christians join in prayer

This Sunday (22 November), as new level restrictions have been introduced across Scotland, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Woman's hands holding a Bible

As with previous weeks during lockdown, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion – such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn’t one of them,” Dr Fair said.

“The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing’ and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.

“It can be hard to keep going when there’s no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

“All the more reason then for God’s people to continue faithfully in prayer. And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides.

“If Sunday at 7pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn’t been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/-EeB1yyDgGg

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic (a copy of which will be available here soon), states:

“The imagery of the shepherd is woven into our understanding of the way in which the living God cares for us: ‘I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flocks when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.’ (Ezekiel 34: 11-12)

“These words speak to us and resonate in the depths of our soul. They do so because they speak to our longing to know that, in all we face, God watches over us and searches for us when we are lost. The words speak to us, especially in difficult times, and resonate profoundly in days of darkness.

“The times in which we live are difficult indeed and dark for many. At such a time as this, we still ourselves and listen for the voice of the One who calls us by our name. The Shepherd calls us by our name, even in the darkest of times, and comes to journey with us. The Shepherd journeys until, in God’s good time, the darkness yields to the promise of the One who comes to reign as King forever.”

We pray:

Good Shepherd,
Speak to us at this time
And hear us when we call to you.
Answer our call
And come to journey with us.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Good Shepherd,
Search for us when we are lost
And gather us safely into your presence.
Speak to the depths of our fears
And still our anxious hearts.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Good Shepherd,
Stand with us in the midst of these times
And do not forsake us.
Search for the lonely and the anxious
And embrace them in your love.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Good Shepherd,
Strengthen us when we stumble
And renew us when we are weak.
Stand with all who are made in your image
And who reflect your goodness.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Good Shepherd,
Support us when we suffer
And bring healing when we are wounded.
Strengthen us that we might strengthen others
And be with them in all we face together.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Good Shepherd,
Speak once more to our hearts
And offer us vision and hope for days to come.
Go before us Shepherd King
And lead us into the future that you hold in your hands.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Amen

Join in prayer this Sunday

This Sunday (15 November), Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cross on a rock in the sea

As with previous weeks during lockdown and the phased easing of restrictions, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion – such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn’t one of them,” Dr Fair said.

“The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing’ and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.

“It can be hard to keep going when there’s no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

“All the more reason then for God’s people to continue faithfully in prayer. And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides.

“If Sunday at 7pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn’t been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/-LxIfgJMD8Y

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic states:

“‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ In the Gospel of Matthew, these words are spoken to the servants who have wisely used the talents entrusted to them.

“In our reading of the Parable of the Talents, we remember that the meaning of the word ‘talent’ has subtly changed. Originally, the reference is to a measure of weight and we learn from this that the weight of money entrusted to the servants is considerable indeed. In our contemporary reading, we are more apt to think of ‘talent’ in terms of gift and ability, and we read and mark this subtle distinction carefully. (Matthew 25: 14-30)

“In these unprecedented times, we are conscious of the very considerable investment that has been made in sustaining the community and society of which we are a part. In facing the challenges that are before us, we are again conscious of the work of those who seek, on a daily basis, to renew the health and well-being of our community and society.

“We act with them and pray for them. Indeed, we are all called to use that which has been entrusted to us to serve and bear witness to the love, grace and mercy of God. We do so trusting that, at the last, we shall hear the words: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’”

We pray:

Faithful God
And giver of all good gifts,
We thank you for the gift of life entrusted to us
And for the knowledge that we are made in your image.
In these times, may we bear witness to the gift you have given to us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God
And giver of all good gifts,
We thank you for the gift of family and of friendship
And for the companions who join us on the way.
In the community in which we share, renew the ties that bind us together.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God
And giver of all good gifts,
We thank you for those who serve within our community and society
And who, by their work, sustain our common life.
In these times, strengthen and renew them in all they do,
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God
And giver of all good gifts,
We thank you that you call us to serve and to bear witness
To your love, grace and mercy.
In the community of the faithful, may we never forget this calling.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God
And giver of all good gifts,
We thank you for all those who through their talent,
And by their research, give hope to the world.
In these times, may we share generously the fruit of that hope.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Faithful God

And giver of all good gifts,
We thank you that you reveal your life to us
In the community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In the life to come, may we hear: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Amen

Scottish Christians join in prayer

This Sunday (8 November), as we begin the season of Remembrance, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A book and a cup of tea on a tray outside in the woods during Autumn

As with previous weeks during lockdown and the phased easing of restrictions, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion – such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn’t one of them,” Dr Fair said.

“The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing’ and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.

“It can be hard to keep going when there’s no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

“All the more reason then for God’s people to continue faithfully in prayer. And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides.

“If Sunday at 7pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn’t been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/TfZUe_1SsyQ

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic (a copy of which will be available to read here soon) states:

“The season of Remembrance invites us, at one and the same time, to look back and to look forward. As we look back, we recall those who have gone before us and, on a broader scale, the human tragedies that have scarred our world.

“The tragedy of human conflict continues to scar the lives of so many at this time and so our act of remembrance has an immediate resonance in present times.

“As we look forward, we affirm the living hope that is founded in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In affirming this hope, we resolve to live our lives shaped by that hope and so our resolve has an immediate resonance in present times. Remembrance of the past and hope for the future shape our lives in the present.

“In the Gospel of Matthew, we hear of what it is to live as those who pray ‘thy Kingdom come’ and who anticipate the coming of the Kingdom.

“Jesus said: ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.’ (5: 43-45 a)

“In these challenging times, we are invited to embrace the teaching of Jesus anew and to live in the present as those whose lives are shaped by ‘the life of the world to come’.”

We pray:

Living God,
We come before you
To look back and to remember.
In our remembrance,
We give thanks for the lives of those who have gone before us
And who have shaped the world in the light of your Kingdom.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
We come before you
To look forward and to affirm
The hope founded in the resurrection our Lord Jesus Christ.
May we journey hopefully in these times
And live lives shaped in the light of your Kingdom.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
We come before you
To remember those whose lives have been scarred
By past conflicts.
Grant to us grace to live as peacemakers
And strength to break down the barriers of division.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
We come before you
As we journey forward
And face the challenges of our times.
Grant to us that we may live
As those whose lives are shaped by the life of the world to come.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Amen

Remembrance Sunday

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Join us in prayer this Sunday

This Sunday (1 November), as new tiered restrictions have been announced across Scotland, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hands holding a candle

As with previous weeks during lockdown and the phased easing of restrictions, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion – such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn’t one of them,” Dr Fair said.

“The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing’ and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.

“It can be hard to keep going when there’s no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

“All the more reason then for God’s people to continue faithfully in prayer. And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides.

“If Sunday at 7pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn’t been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/-vFcIdXNwuI

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic (a copy of which will be available here soon), states:

“As we enter into the season of Remembrance, we are especially conscious of those whose lives have shaped our lives, but who are no longer with us. In one sense, their absence serves to highlight the significance of all that they have given to us.

“Equally, we recall those who have shaped the life of our Church and of our community and the faith that they have passed on to our generation. The hymn writer captures well the thanksgiving of the Church at this time:

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

“The vision unveiled in the Book of Revelation sees the ‘great multitude… from every nation’ gathered before the throne of God ‘and before the Lamb’. For those who have endured, the Lamb ‘will be their shepherd…and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’ (Revelation 7: 9-17).

“Our faith invites us to embrace that vision and, in turn, to share the vision with others. In this season of Remembrance, we share the promise of the enduring presence and healing of God.”

We pray:

Living God,
We come to your presence
And we are conscious that we do not come alone.
We come in the company of the saints of God
And the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
We come to your presence
And we remember those who have given life and nurture to us.
We remember those who are no longer with us
And we give thanks for their lives.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
We come to your presence
And we pray for those who have suffered loss at this time.
We ask that they will know the presence
Of the One who will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
We come to your presence
And hear again the promise of your enduring presence.
We ask for ourselves, and for others,
That we might know the promise of healing of God.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
We come to your presence
And we recall the hymns of faith that echo in our hearts.
We lift up our hearts and anticipate the praise of heaven;
Offered to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Amen

Scottish Churches weekly call to prayer

This Sunday (25 October), as restrictions continue across Scotland, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Man's hands holding a Bible

As with previous weeks during lockdown and the phased easing of restrictions, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“I’m delighted to have read that in the last couple of months online searches for ‘prayer’ have increased dramatically,” Dr Fair said.

“But reading about what prayer is and how to do it is only the start of it. After that it’s time to actually pray.

“And what better than to join with brothers and sisters from across the nation at 7pm on Sunday to pray our way through this ongoing crisis. I commend it to you and look forward to being with you, in Spirit, on Sunday evening.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/6XZ-mJGPIxg

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic, states:

“The question asked of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is simple: ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ (22: 36).

“It is a part of a series of questions asked of Jesus and the purpose of the questions is to ‘entrap him’ (22: 15). At this point we might ask: How many commandments are there in the Law of Moses? In an ancient tradition, the answer is 613 and in the 12th Century a great Rabbi of the time set out the 613 commandments in detail.

“In other words: Answering the question that Jesus is asked is potentially difficult and complex. How dowe make sense of so many laws and regulations? The answer that Jesus gives takes us to the heart of the commandments: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind… You shall love your neighbour as yourself’ (22: 37-39). In his summary, Jesus says: ‘Everything hangs on these two commandments’ (22: 40).

“In a society necessarily shaped by law and regulation, the answering of questions in relation to them can at times seem potentially difficult and complex. In the midst of the complexity, we hear again the commandments to love God and neighbour and affirm that everything hangs on these two as our indispensable guide.”

We pray:

Lord our God,
We turn to you,
As the One who has spoken in times past,
And ask that that you would speak to us in times present.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
In our response,
We listen for your Word
And the call to love you with heart and soul and mind.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
In the living out of our response,
We offer all that we are,
Knowing you have given all through Christ our Lord.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
We turn to you,
As the One who has made us in your image,
And who makes our neighbour in that same image.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
In our response,
We journey with our neighbour
And seek to love them as you command.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
In the living out of our response,
We stand together with our neighbour,
Knowing you stand together with us through Christ our Lord.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Amen