Today's Psalms

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

In this week’s service we focus on one of the miraculous signs which is recorded in the Old Testament.

Our scripture reading is from the First book of Kings, and tells the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Though they were many, they could encourage their supposed god, Baal, to light a fire under the prepared sacrifice. Elijah, however, although on his own and although he had poured water over the firewood, was able to call on the Lord our God, who immediately sent fire.

And the people believed.

Our song is What Marvels the Lord Worked for Us, a version of Psalm 126 – another reminder of the fact that God daily works miracles in the world – and the psalm itself is a part of Psalm 86 and again underlines our belief in the Universal and paramount God: “There is none like you among the Gods. Nothing compares to the things you have done.”

In the modern world, we tend to be more sceptical, trying to bring scientific interpretations on all things. But as our Opening Antiphon says, God is the God of the “unknown, the unexpected, the unexplained”. History suggests that one day, the “unknown, the unexpected, the unexplained” may be explained, and a little more of God may be uncovered – but he will still remain God over all.

Transcript

Introductory Prayer

May the Lord open our minds, hearts and mouths to sing and speak his praise. Alleluia. Amen

Song

What Marvels the Lord worked for us

Opening Antiphon

O Great God of the unknown, the unexpected, the unexplained and inexplicable, be with me. When you help me it will be the help that I do not expect; it will be the answer that flies in the face of all that I have thought to be possible.

God of new solutions, be always at my side

Psalm 86: 1-12

For the Lord is great, rich in mercy, abundant in love, and has done wondrous things
O Lord, put your ear near me so you can hear me: for I am poor, and in need.
Save my life, for I have been good and holy. Keep me safe, for you are my God and I am your servant, who trusts in you.
Lord, be merciful to me, for I call out to you all the day long.
Be joyful in the soul of your servant, because I lift up my soul to you.
For you, Lord, are good and forgiving. You are lavish in your mercy to those who call on you.
Open your ear to my prayer, listen to my voice when I plead to you.
I will call on you in that day when I am in trouble, and you will answer me.
There is none like you among the Gods. Nothing compares to the things you have done.
All the nations you have made will come and before you and will glorify your name.
For you are great, and you alone, O God, do wondrous things.
Lord, teach me your way and I will walk surrounded by your truth. Make my heart fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; and I will glorify your name for all time.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it is, always has been and always will be, through the infinite ages. Amen.
For the Lord is great, rich in mercy, abundant in love, and has done wondrous things

Scripture Reading

1 Kings 18:16-39


So Ahab went to meet Elijah. And it happened that when Ahab saw Elijah he accused him of causing unrest among the people. And Elijah answered “I have not troubled your people. It is you – you and your household have forgotten the Lord’s commands, and you have followed Baal and the gods like him. So now, go and get all your people together on Mount Carmel. Bring the prophets of Baal – there are 450 of them – and all 400 prophets of Asherah who dine at Jezebel’s table.”

So Ahab sent for all the people, and for the prophets, and gathered them on Mount Carmel. And Elijah stood up and said “How long will you vaccilate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; if Baal is god follow him.” And the people did not say a thing.

Elijah went on “I alone am left as a prophet of the Lord. But there are 450 prophets of Baal. So let us have two bulls. They can have one, and cut it in pieces and put it on some unlit firewood. Likewise, I shall prepare the other bull, on unlit firewood. You call on your gods, and I shall call on the name of The Lord. And the God who answers by lighting the fire under their bull – he is God.”

The people agreed to the idea.

So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal – choose one bull for yourselves, and prepare it first (for there are lots of you!) and call on the name of your god. But don’t light the fire yourselves. So they took the bull which had been given them and prepared it; and they called on the name of Baal from dawn to the middle of the day saying “Baal, hear us!”. But no one answered. And they leaped around the altar which they had made. And when it got to the middle of the day Elijah mocked them, saying “Call louder! After all, he is a god – maybe he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is away. Or perhaps he is asleep and needs waking.”

So they cried louder, and cut themselves with swords and lances (which was their way) until the blood gushed out. They went on past the middle of the day until the time of the evening sacrifice, but heard nothing. No one answered or paid attention.

And Elijah said “Come near me.” And the people came to him at the altar of the Lord, which was broken and in disrepair. And Elijah took 12 stones – the number of the tribes of Jacob, to whom the Lord had said “You shall be called My People” – and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and round it he made a trench big enough to hold two seahs (about six gallons) of seed. Then he arranged firewood around the altar, and laid the pieces of the bull on the wood, and said “Fill four pitchers of water on the sacrifice”, which they did. Then he told them to do it a second time, which they did – and a third time. So the water ran all round the water and in the trench.

And as the time of the evening offering came near, Elijah the prophet said: “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, make it known today that you are God, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your command. Hear me, Lord, hear me – so that these people may know that you are the Lord God, and that you have turned their hearts back to you. And the Lord’s fire came down and consumed the sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones. And it licked up the dust and the water that was in the trench.

And when the people saw it they fell on their faces and said “The Lord IS God, the Lord IS God!”.

Canticle: The Magnificat

O Lord our God, great is your name in the highest heavens
My soul magnifies the Lord’s greatness, and my spirit rises within me at the thought of God my Saviour.
As he has seen the humility of his servant, so future generations will all call me blessed.
Glorious and powerful, he has made me stronger: and his name is holy.
Never-ending mercies fall on all who fear him.
In his strength he has wielded strength; he has undone the proud through their own self-importance.
From their seats of power the mighty have been thrown; he has lifted the humble.
In his goodness he has given food to the hungry; cowering, the rich have been sent away with nothing.
All his people, from ancient times, have been supported by him: that was the promise he made to Abraham, and all our ancestors, for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it is, always has been and always will be, through the infinite ages. Amen.
O Lord our God, great is your name in the highest heavens

The Prayers

O God, the God of miracles and wonders, who created the science which we know and the mysteries which we have yet to fathom, be with us. Teach us to listen, to learn and to understand, so that we may be open to learning more from you and about you
With your people, we pray

We pray for the poor, the needy. The outcast and the lost. The refugees, those in prison. Those who suffer injustice and those who are hungry. In all things on this earth, may your Kingdom come to right the wrongs, to vanquish those who are downtrodden, to lead to the Day of the Lord
With your people, we pray

We pray for ourselves, that listening to God\’s word and by understanding the needs of God\’s people and his world, we might do his will. Lord, through your love, teach us to tell the world of your love
With your people, we pray

We pray for the sick, especially those who are suffering from Covid. Those who are ill with it now, those who are still coping with its after-effects; those who are coping with the effect it has had on them and on the world. Lord of healing, may your Spirit come on those who are ill
With your people, we pray

We pray for the dead, especially those who have been known to us. May they all find a home in the heaven which is promised to all humankind, where conflict and need are unknown, where all tears are wiped away and where rest and peace are the reward which await us
With your people, we pray

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

May the Lord keep us day and night in his care, safe in the hope of eternal joy. Amen