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 15, 2014

Prayers of the People: No fair! 15th Sunday after Pentecost

for Sunday, September 21, 2014, 15th Sunday after Pentecost, Readings: Exodus 16:2-15; Ps 105:1-6, 37-45; Philippians 1:20-30; Matthew 20:1-16

      Jesus doesn't do fair, or so it seems to us in this parable of the laborers in the vineyard. Same pay for an hour's work as for a full day - who doesn't get upset about that? Don't those who worked longer and did more work deserve more? No wonder they're grumbling.
         It seems an especially harsh scenario now in these long-awaited days for fast-food workers and others employed in low-wage service industry jobs to be recognized as needing to make a living wage. And yet how many Good Christian People grumble about that possibility?
        Then there are those Israelites having been rescued from generations of horrific slavery. The Red Sea is parted by God so they could escape the Egyptians and now they're all "gimme gimme grumble grumble" to Moses and Aaron, saying "If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt..." [Exodus 16:3, emphasis added]  But when we look through a different lens, one that isn't relying on what one deserves or what is fair it is generosity that shines through. God is generous to the Israelites, providing for their every need, but in their case the unknown is more frightening than the known and so they haven't learned to trust that God will provide. The laborers in Jesus' story aren't happy that the Landowner is simply using his prerogative to be generous. Envy, greed, and judgment loom and things will get worse. Do we ever learn?
         It's a difficult balance to fight for equity and fairness in our temporal life while relinquishing jealousy and anger at not getting what is perceived by ourselves to be deserved.  God isn't leading us by clouds and pillars of fire these days, only by the Word of Christ.  My prayer is to try to find that balance, to cut back on my grumbling, and, oh yes: Dear Lord, please save me from all that I deserve.     (P.S.  News Flash: you're still not getting that rose garden)

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God Most Generous, If only we could remember that Your love for us is limitless even when we grumble about what is fair, who has more than we do, and when we are more interested in judging the faults of others than recognizing our own.

                                Guide us to seek Your strength and presence in every day
RESPONSE:    Teach us again to stand firm in Your Spirit 

~ O God Most Generous, especially in times of war, disease, and great poverty, it is essential for us to remember our own responsibility for the care of ALL of Your people. In the life You have given us to live, we are also charged to engage the leaders in our world, our country, and our community, and require them to temper justice with mercy. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                         Guide us to seek Your strength and presence in every day
                         Teach us again to stand firm in Your Spirit

~ O God Most Generous, as You opened the rock in the desert to provide life-giving waters to Your people; let those suffering in body, mind, or spirit feel the gush of hope and comfort from Your holy embrace. Surround and support also those who give love and care unselfishly in times of great need.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                         Guide us to seek Your strength and presence in every day
                         Teach us again to stand firm in Your Spirit

~ O God Most Generous, we lift up the grief of those who are in mourning to Your gracious care. Help us all feel the pain of loss begin to ease, knowing that our loved ones live on not only in our hearts and memories, but beyond forever in Your eternal home. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
 
                         Guide us to seek Your strength and presence in every day
                         Teach us again to stand firm in Your Spirit

~ O God Most Generous, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, silently or aloud…

                         Guide us to seek Your strength and presence in every day
                         Teach us again to stand firm in Your Spirit
~ O God Most Generous, as the burdens of Moses and Aaron, in leading a sometimes unruly flock, have been passed down to their successors, so to have the joys of fulfilling Your call and worshiping You within a vibrant community of faith.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                         Guide us to seek Your strength and presence in every day
                         Teach us again to stand firm in Your Spirit


The Celebrant adds: O God of Permanence in Eternity, help us who live in the temporal realm, see to the fair and equitable treatment of all of Your people, and yet look within ourselves for the release of judgment, greed, and envy. Help us to live our lives with Christ exalted in all of our thoughts and actions. We ask this grace through Jesus our Redeemer who with the Holy Spirit our Sanctifier, live and reign with You in the enduring, immortal, and infinite expanse of Your holy kingdom. Amen.





















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