Sunday, 4 September 2016

The new way through violence

Prayers of intercession from Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church
4 September 2016

Loving God of all creation we give you thanks and praise for all your great love which you have shown to us. Above all we praise you for the new way through violence which you opened before humanity in the crucifixion of your son Jesus Christ. When we look at the world in which we live, we see so often people living with pain and suffering, fear and failure, threat and uncertainty. We pray for all those whose lives are dominated by the powers of sin and death. May your new way to life be true for them, as hope and justice displace despair and defeat.

We pray especially this day for all those who live under occupation. We think of the Palestinians in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank, we think of those in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, whose homelands have been taken by extremist forces. For all those whose homes have been taken from them by force, we offer our prayers of intercession and our willingness to stand in solidarity with their suffering. We pray especially for all those who work to achieve peace and reconciliation.

Especially, we think of our charity for this year, the Amos Trust. We thank you for the concert held here in this building last night, with the Palestinian youth drama team, and for all the work that is being done to promote unity amongst divided peoples, and to help those young people grow up in a world of peace and reconciliation rather than war and division.

So we pray also for the work that is being done by London citizens, to bring young people stranded in Calais, across the borders into our country, so that they and their families may have new lives. Great God of new life, we commit ourselves to the path of hospitality and inclusion, and we thank you for the opportunities our own freedom and democracy gives for us to speak out for others. We pray especially for the campaign attended by Ruth and Dawn this week, that the Home Office will swiftly grant access visas for the most vulnerable people stranded on our borders.

As we have shared bread and wine this day, we have been reminded of the great feast of your coming kingdom. And in our own sharing, we catch a glimpse of the great redistribution that is part of your vision for a renewed humanity. Help us to be generous to all, and to see your image reflected in each created human soul; help us to see the spark of divine life in each person, and to remember that it was for every person that you were prepared to give your all. May the cross make it true for us, and in our world, that the wall that divides us is broken down.

Give us compassionate hearts that we might live and work for your coming kingdom, that all may be included, and none kept out. So we name of the divisions that blight humanity, divisions of ethnicity, social standing, gender, and sexuality, and we say before you that we will not live at ease while such divisions remain part of our world. Reach out through us, your people, to those whom others would seek to exclude. May it be true in our lives, and in our life together, that your kingdom banquet of welcome and celebration is open to all, that all may see how great is the love that you have for them.

We offer these prayers in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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