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, September 29, 2014

Prayers of the People: The Mean-ing of Life, 17th Sunday after Pentecost

for October 5, 2014, 17th Sunday after Pentecost, Readings: Exodus 20:1-20, Ps 19, Philippians 3:4-14, Matthew 21:33-46

         The Gospel this week is back in the now infamous Vineyard. This time Jesus tells us a parable about the tenants who are running the place and trounce the owner's representatives who come to collect the owner's share of the produce. One was beaten, one was stoned, and another killed. Another group was sent and were treated the same way. Finally the owner sent his son, believing that, as things are meant to go, his son would be treated with all due respect. But, even the son was killed so the tenants could "get his inheritance." [Mt 21:38b] 
            At first glance, I can't help wondering if some of these tenants had been the disgruntled workers of the previous vineyard parable who worked longer hours for the same pay as those who worked fewer. 
            At second glance, I feel as if I'm reading a headline about a local, national, or even international situation. Three otherwise attractive 20-somethings, one female and two males, randomly accosting and savagely beating a gay couple because, well, they just could. The rapaciousness of corporate greed, racial profiling resulting in tragedy and rage, posters on utility poles portraying children saying "Please don't shoot me" and, have you driven on a highway lately or just down a suburban street? Too many drivers act as if entitled to make the roads as perilous as sitting on a railroad track. In the world at large, the use of crude and foul language is common, violence from the fields of athletics increases, there seems to be a dearth of what once was common courtesy (just read a few comments on any social media or "news" article online), and those are just the highlights. The headlines on air and in print tell us that Life is getting meaner by the moment, as we watch in current locales here and abroad to see that, not unlike in Jesus' own time, brutality, beheading, and butchery are the tools of cowards who know no other way to express their own fear of impotence.
          And then there's the third glance, Jesus is giving a local lesson to the disciples about what is happening then, what is to come, and the ever-watching Pharisees unhappily get the picture about who's who and what's what in this parable. And as they should know, God is pretty clear in Exodus about The Law ~ how we are to behave ourselves and toward one another. But Paul tells us in Philipians:  ...this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. [Philipians 3:13b-14]  We may not be able to make the world less mean, but we can add a little more Christ-meaning to the world.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ God of Creation, Master of the Universe, we, Your humble tenants, often lose sight of our temporal presence on this fragile Earth, our island home. As we strive to accumulate more, our actions seem to show that we value the gift of Your hands ever less. Grant us the care and consciousness to recognize our call to produce the fruits of Your kingdom and give in turn to others as You have given to us.

                                O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer
RESPONSE:     May our words and actions always be acceptable to You
                                             
~ God of Creation, Master of the Universe, climate issues, terrorism, war, violence in our streets, and poverty all surround us. Let us raise our voices to be heard, seeking rational solutions, in the halls of the political leaders in our world, our country, and our community. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer
                             May our words and actions always be acceptable to You

~ God of Creation, Master of the Universe, in Your mercy, enfold those wracked with pain of disease, the anxiety of mental illness, and the throes of addiction. Grant extra energy and compassion to all of their care-givers. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer
                             May our words and actions always be acceptable to You

~ God of Creation, Master of the Universe, lighten the burden of those whose hearts are heavy with grief. But let us lay aside the dirges with the comforting knowledge that those we love are welcomed into the glory of You, our Living God. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer,
                             May our words and actions always be acceptable to You

~ God of Creation, Master of the Universe, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, silently or aloud…

O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer
                             May our words and actions always be acceptable to You

~ God of Creation, Master of the Universe, our prayers ascend for those who are steadfast in their mission in life to help us find our way to You. Imperfect as we all are, we share this journey together, with Your grace and their prayer-filled guidance. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer
                             May our words and actions always be acceptable to You


The Celebrant adds: God of all that is seen and unseen, You are the Cornerstone of our life and faith. Please renew the Psalmist’s promise to revive our souls as we struggle to live into Your perfect Law. We make our humble supplication to the heart of Jesus, the Son who was slain yet lives again, and the Spirit who breathes holy life into our hearts, together with You, as one God, in the forever timelessness of Your Kingdom.  Amen.



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