A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.


Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Prayers of the People: Here's the Deal ~ 6th Sunday After Epiphany

Readings:  Deut 30:15-20, Ps 119:1-8, 1Cor 3:1-9, Mt 5:21-37      
  The readings said to me:

        It's All Up to YOU.
      Take It or Leave It.
     What's It Gonna Be?
You CAN handle the truth.
          Make Amends.
  Face the Consequences.
             Grow Up.

       Reductive?  Most certainly!  There is so much that could be and has been said about these (and most other) Scripture readings. Literally multiple trillions of academic tomes, texts, and pages have been published; not to mention sermons over the course of two millennia. But, after all is said and written, I need to know: what does it all mean for me in my life NOW? And Jesus himself, reduced it all into very clear terms in what is sometimes called "The Greatest Commandment" and it is taken in part from the sacred Judaic Shema (sheh-mah) from earlier in Deuteronomy.  We read it most often in Mark 12:29-31 when Jesus was asked "Which commandment is first of all?" and Jesus said:   The first is, Hear,O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these.

               Love God, love your neighbor as yourself - if you do all that then you ARE following the Commandments.  Of course, there is one slight footnote I feel compelled to add - not by way of defense of the sin, only as a clarification for the sake of historical context.  Adultery - ugly though it is - was in that time not exactly what it is now.  Polygamy had existed in the distant past (that is, men could have multiple wives) and had never been specifically repudiated by Jewish Law. And "adultery" only existed if the woman in question was married.  Otherwise, "visiting" non-married women wasn't adultery for him.

               What, for me, is the clear message of the combined readings is God gives us free will to choose the path we take and tells us what to expect as a result of our choice. Think about it.  What road are you on?

                                                      Let Us, God’s People, Pray

Leader:   ~ O God of Mercy and Promise, You offer us the choice of abundant life in You or the emptiness of death to the Spirit.  Our hearts are so easily turned by the gods of human distractions.  Do not forsake us as we find our way from being milk-fed spiritual babies to the solid food of following Your statutes as conscious, intentional adults.     

                      O God our Strength and our Redeemer
Response:  Help us choose to put our trust in You

~ O God of Mercy and Promise, we want those in government to lead us with sincerity and to follow the letter and the spirit of the law of this land as it meets Your law.  We beg for an end to the violence, quarreling, and jealous power plays in our world and yet we know that such reconciliation must begin in our own lives. Give us the courage to be what we expect of our political leaders.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                      O God our Strength and our Redeemer
                     Help us choose to put our trust in You

~ O God of Mercy and Promise, we ask your blessings on those who are seriously ill, aged, or life-weary, and for those who serve their needs and see to their care. Help us all, especially through our weakest moments, to stay on Your path and hold fast to Your ways. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                     O God our Strength and our Redeemer
                     Help us choose to put our trust in You

~ O God of Mercy and Promise, our hearts are heavy with the loss of those who have left us and this life.  Surround those who mourn and hold them close in Your complete love and perfect peace.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions


                     O God our Strength and our Redeemer
                     Help us choose to put our trust in You

~ O God of Mercy and Promise, as planters and waterers in Your field, we are to work together for the common purpose You have given us. Grant those who lead us in Your Church the spiritual maturity to guide themselves, and each of us, away from behaviors borne of human inclination and toward the growth and grace of Your perfect love.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                     O God our Strength and our Redeemer
                     Help us choose to put our trust in You



The Celebrant adds:   O God our Strength and our Redeemer, please hear our prayers and keep us on course to avoid the empty promises and harsh consequences of the life of the flesh.  Help us to reconcile our hearts with one another, begin each day with the sincere desire to seek Your Will, and to have the prudence to choose the blessings and abundance of true Life with You, through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and through eternity.  Amen.






















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