Friday 3 September

God our creator,
you feed your children with the true manna,
the living bread from heaven:
sustain us through our earthly pilgrimage
until we come to that place
   where hunger and thirst are no more;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Mark 9.14–29
When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. He asked them, ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ Someone from the crowd answered him, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.’ He answered them, ‘You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You spirit that keep this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!’ After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’

Psalm 144
    Blessed be the Lord my rock,
   who teaches my hands for war and my fingers for battle;
    My steadfast help and my fortress,
      my stronghold and my deliverer,
      my shield in whom I trust,
   who subdues the peoples under me.
    O Lord, what are mortals that you should consider them;
   mere human beings, that you should take thought for them?
    They are like a breath of wind;
   their days pass away like a shadow.
    Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
   touch the mountains and they shall smoke.
    Cast down your lightnings and scatter them;
   shoot out your arrows and let thunder roar.
    Reach down your hand from on high;
   deliver me and take me out of the great waters,
      from the hand of foreign enemies,
    Whose mouth speaks wickedness
   and their right hand is the hand of falsehood.
    O God, I will sing to you a new song;
   I will play to you on a ten-stringed harp,
      You that give salvation to kings
   and have delivered David your servant.
      Save me from the peril of the sword
   and deliver me from the hand of foreign enemies,
      Whose mouth speaks wickedness
   and whose right hand is the hand of falsehood;
      So that our sons in their youth
      may be like well-nurtured plants,
   and our daughters like pillars
      carved for the corners of the temple;
      Our barns be filled with all manner of store;
   our flocks bearing thousands,
      and ten thousands in our fields;
      Our cattle be heavy with young:
   may there be no miscarriage or untimely birth,
      no cry of distress in our streets.
      Happy are the people whose blessing this is.
   Happy are the people who have the Lord for their God.