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 1, 2014

Prayers of the People: No Smote-ing, 13th Sunday after Pentecost

for September 7, 2014, 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Readings: Exodus 12:1-14, Ps 149, Rom 13: 8-14, Mt 18:15-20

        The Old Testament God got to pass through town on an overnight mission to strike down the first born of the enemies of the ancient Hebrews. Jesus says we're supposed to work through conflict by facing each other and pointing out faults? Neither one sounds like a great idea to me, especially since God seems to have had a change of heart over multi-milennia.
        Conflict resolution is a tricky business in the best of times and the pointing out of faults is fine when you yourself have none. But if we each look deeply enough into that troublesome person, most of us can see ourselves - think about how you would want to be approached if your behavior or attitude was a problem for someone else. Paul tells us yet again as Jesus did, "Love your neighbor as yourself." I used to hear that as "love your neighbor as you love yourself" and, of course, if one has difficulty loving oneself it would be apparent in the way s/he treats others. Yet in the fuller sense, I now read it as written - love your neighbor as your self. THAT person is YOU - so love her/him, love you = love you, love him/her. Unity/community, two or three or more brings Christ's presence. Oh sure, that's much easier, isn't it?  Well, it gives us a place to start; a new song to sing. "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law." [Romans 13:10]    
      But the world is full of fanatics, psychotics, and sociopaths. I'd paint my doorpost with whatever God wants if that would protect me and those I love, but it seems God has us in a no smote-ing zone now. I have trouble liking some people let alone loving them, especially the people that want to do serious harm. I can't change what anyone else does, I can only change my response. I guess, in lieu of a smote from God, I'll just have to pray that someone will love them and that God will turn my eyes to see into those people, too. 

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Most Holy God, Giver of Life, Your Love will pass over our sins and guide us to redemption through Christ. Help us to keep ready to follow Your call as we close the door to the sinfulness of our past-selves, and open our now-selves to love one another unconditionally. May our doorposts and lintels always gleam with the radiance of the Light of Jesus, our Savior.

                              Let us sing to the LORD a new song 
RESPONSE:   Let us gather together with Christ in our midst

~ Most Holy God, Giver of Life, Love fulfills Your law, therefore, empower to us to assure that we give love and do no wrong in the lives of any of Your children. Embolden us to give witness of our expectations to those who lead us in our World, our Country, and our Community, to act through the strength of Your Love for the safety, wholeness, and health for all of Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                        Let us sing to the LORD a new song 
                        Let us gather together with Christ in our midst
                       
~ Most Holy God, Giver of Life, help us comfort those who know the pain of illness, the relentless demand of addiction, and the hardship of losing a sense of home. Let us not forget the caregivers who also need our support.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                        Let us sing to the LORD a new song 
                        Let us gather together with Christ in our midst

~ Most Holy God, Giver of Life, for those who have tasted the bitter herbs of mourning, grant peace of heart and an easing of grief through the knowledge of their loved ones blossoming in the eternal sunshine of Your Life beyond living.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions
 
                        Let us sing to the LORD a new song 
                        Let us gather together with Christ in our midst

~ Most Holy God, Giver of Life, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, silently or aloud…

                        Let us sing to the LORD a new song 
                        Let us gather together with Christ in our midst

~ Most Holy God, Giver of Life, prepare a special place in Your eternal kingdom for those who lead us in Your Church, who pray with us and for us, preach Your word to us, guide us on our path to spiritual growth, and shepherd us through the ups and downs of community life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
 
                        Let us sing to the LORD a new song 
                        Let us gather together with Christ in our midst

The Celebrant adds: The light of Christ is a weapon against the darkness of evil, sin, mistrust, and anger.  Let us see ourselves through the eyes of Jesus, in our weaknesses and our strengths, as mirrors of each other, with love, and tenderness in heart-filled understanding.  We ask Your blessings through Christ, our Redeemer and Messiah and through the Holy Spirit, our Fount of Wisdom, who live and reign together with You, our One God, Timeless, Immortal, and Infinite.    Amen.





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