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Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Prophet and the Losses: Relating to Islam and Islamists

This evening the Revd Dr Sam Wells preached on The Prophet and the Losses: Relating to Islam and Islamists. The sermon will be available to read shortly by clicking here. My thoughts on British Shared Values and Faith, which have some synergies with this sermon, can be read here.

The intercessions I prepared to complement this sermon follow:

Eternal God, one God, living and subsisting in yourself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, we adore you for you have spoken to us; every nation and tribe and language and people. You did not abandon either Ishmael or Isaac and we therefore pray in trust for your continued care of the faith communities which have grown from their seed. We stand in awe and gratitude for your persistent love towards each and all of your children: Christian, Jew, Muslim, as well as those with other faiths. As Christians, Jews or Muslims may we remember, and profoundly affirm, what we share as children of Abraham, people of our Books and as monotheists. Strengthen our resolve to share common ground by living face to face and side by side in peace with one another.

Jesus, whose death is a fundamental statement of the centrality of nonviolence, you experienced in person torture and death as a prisoner of conscience. You were beaten and flogged and sentenced to an agonizing death though you had done no wrong. Be now with prisoners of conscience throughout the world. Be with them in their fear and loneliness, in the agony of physical and mental torture, and in the face of execution and death. Stretch out your hands in power to break their chains. Bless all those, like Amnesty International, trying to secure their release. May the ways of peace and diplomacy prevail over acts of violence and aggression. Be merciful to the oppressor and the torturer, and place a new heart within them. Forgive all injustice in our lives, and transform us to be instruments of your peace, for by your wounds we are healed.

Holy Spirit, who makes Christ and his benefits present to us now and who is therefore active in bringing many from East and West to sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God, we pray for all who are working for peace in the tangled conflicts of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria and other nations today. For international leaders holding a thread of control, for the politicians holding a thread of power, for the religious leaders holding a thread of authority, for the fighters holding a thread of influence, and the citizens clinging to a thread of hope. We pray particularly for refugees like the Rohingya caught up in issues beyond their community and unable to fi8nd a place to lay their head. Give to them a home and to us: understanding that puts an end to strife; mercy that quenches hatred; forgiveness that overcomes vengeance; the strength it takes to listen rather than to judge; growth in trust rather than fear of the other; the courage and persistence to try again and again to make peace even when peace eludes us.

Holy Trinity, within whom love is constantly exchanged and shared, may we experience the extension of that exchange in shared conversation and action with those of other faiths. In the spirit of that exchange we pray using words from the Sufi poet Rumi, asking for a world in which through love all that is bitter will be sweet, all that is copper will be gold, all dregs will turn to purest wine, all pain will turn to medicine. That through Love the dead will all become alive and the king turn into a slave. We also share in the Shabbat prayer crying out for rest from pain and turmoil and hard service. May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease; when a great peace will embrace the whole world. Then nation shall not threaten nation and humankind will not again know war. For all who live on earth shall realize we have not come into being to hate or destroy. We have come into being to praise, to labour and to love. Compassionate God, bless all the leaders of all nations with the power of compassion. Fulfil the promise conveyed in Scripture: "I will bring peace to the land, and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you. I will rid the land of vicious beasts and it shall not be ravaged by war." Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream. Let peace fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.


Eric Whitacre - Hope, Faith, Life, Love.

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