Monday 8th March 2021
Today is a celebration of two important events – Commonwealth Day and International Woman's’ Day. Commonwealth Day is an annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations and International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. These are both important occasions. They take us beyond the confines of our experience, broaden our vision and remind us that we are part of one worldwide global community.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
One of the problems facing the Christian faith in the first quarter of the twenty first century is our small mindedness. In this we reflect the ‘individualism’ which has been such a defining mark of recent history. At it most negative, it views self as the centre of the universe. All that matters is me – my beliefs, my needs, my goals, my ambitions etc. Hopefully, with the renewed emphasis on community and our dependence on each other that has grown out of the pandemic, a more balanced outlook will emerge!
When it comes to our personal belief, we sometimes forget that we belong to something so much bigger than our limited personal experience. The apostle Paul reminds us that we are fellow citizens with all God’s people. Note the word all. There is little wriggle room for rejecting or judging those who do not share the narrow confines of our personal tastes and convictions! Paul also tells us that we are members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Think about this! Our faith reaches back thousands of years, to the original revelation of God that came through ancient Israel! We are part of a great spiritual family that stretches beyond the confines of history, race, culture, and gender – all joined together by Jesus the cornerstone of our faith.
ay God save us from the limitations of our small mindedness!
A prayer for the Commonwealth of Nations
We gather in the spirit of unity and diversity of our commonwealth.
We give you thanks, O Lord, for the faithful stewardship of Her Majesty the Queen,
and pray that you continue to grant her,
and all who lead with her,
your blessing, wisdom and support.
We thank you, Father, for your image and likeness
that is equally bestowed upon all humanity.
So may the value, sacredness of every life
and the dignity of all humanity
fill every part of our communities.
Build bridges of hope and common cause in all our people;
(Rev Ian Black)
A prayer for International Women’s Day
Lord, make me an instrument of peace:
Bless all women who daily strive to bring peace to their communities, their homes and their hearts. Give them strength to continue to turn swords into ploughshares.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love:
We pray for all women who face prejudice, inequality and gender disparities. Help us see and to face the discrimination against women in all the many forms it may take.
Where there is injury, pardon:
Comfort all women who suffer from the pain of war, violence, and abuse. Help them to become instruments of their own reconciliation and peace.
Where there is division, unity:
Forgive all women and men who let differences breed hate and discrimination. Let your example of valuing all of creation help us to see that we are equal partners in the stewardship of your world.
Where there is darkness, light; where there is untruth, truth:
Comfort all women who struggle in the darkness of abuse, poverty, and loneliness. May we stand with them in light to acknowledge their suffering and strive to remove the burdens of shame or embarrassment.
Where there is doubt, true faith:
We pray for all women who live in fear of their husbands, fathers, and forces that control their lives. Help them to be empowered to be their true selves through your everlasting love and faith.
Where there is despair, hope:
We pray for all women who live in the despair of poverty, violence, trafficking, slavery, and abuse. May the light of your love bring them hope.
Where there is sadness, new joy:
Help us to see the strength and goodness in all women and men.
Transform our hearts to celebrate the love and grace of all people.
And may we be blessed with the courage to follow our own path of love for you and all sisters and brothers.
May God the Father,
who does not despise the broken spirit,
give to you a contrite heart.
who bore our sins in his body on the tree,
heal you by his wounds.
May the Holy Spirit,
who leads us into all truth,
speak to you words of pardon and peace.
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.