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.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Prayers of the People: You called? 2nd Sunday after Epiphany and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

for Sunday, January 18, 2015, 2nd Sunday after Epiphany and Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr., Readings: Yr B, 1 Samuel 3:1-20, Ps 139:1-5, 12-17; Reading from Rt. Rev Quintin E. Primo, Jr.*, [1 Cor 6:12-20], John 1:43-51    

Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before,“Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  
[1 Samuel 3:10]
...Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”...Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
 [John 1: 43-46]
              We're all invited, we've all been called ~ what is our RSVP?  I show up at church fairly regularly, give to charity, help people from time to time, I even pray and sometimes it isn't just for Divine intervention to get myself out of a jam. But, taking in the readings for this Sunday - have I really answered THE CALL? Have I turned my life over to God, truly followed Jesus, and listened to the Holy Spirit? God knows. 
         Would it were easier to be like young Samuel and merely follow the instructions of an elder. Or to be like Philip, readily follow Jesus and then invite the slightly snarky Nathanael to simply "Come and see." It is time again to consider how I am to live my life. It is never too late to begin - even Constantine, the first Roman Emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, declared Christianity as a state religion, built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Old St Peter's Basilica, convened the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 from which we still use the Nicene Creed, wasn't baptized til his death bed; or St. Augustine of Hippo who said in his Confessions [written between 397-400] that in the early days of his conversion he asked God to make him chaste and continent (self-controlled) but not yet.  SO, when does YET arrive? Or, how many times have I waved it away? God knows.
        What will it mean for my life, how will I have to change, what will others think, am I ready? God knows. Speak, Lord, for I, that is, - um, er - I, your (slightly frightened) servant, is listening. I'm more or less ready to come and see. And, just maybe I'll even be able to pass along the invitation to  someone else to come and see, someday. God knows.
          
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, You have searched us, known us, and named us from even before we were in the womb. Tingle our ears and awaken our hearts that we may hear again, listen, and follow Your call to us. Let our faith be as full as a child’s, our vision as clear as our brother Martin’s, and our fortitude as steadfast as our brother Quintin’s, that we may claim You as our own as You claim us as Yours.

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer           
RESPONSE:  May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart

~ All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, in a world of turmoil, hatred, and fear, let us dream no longer but rather, actively seek justice, mercy, and peace from all who govern, dictate, or hold Your people hostage in any way. Let us be among those who make freedom ring from every corner of this earth. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer
May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart

~ All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, caress the hearts and minds of those who suffer from sickness, addiction, and depression, and give strength to those who give them care. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer
May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart

~ All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, whisper words of hope to those who are grieving and give them a glimpse of the heavenly mountain top where all Your people live for eternity. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer
May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart

~ All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer
May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart
                       
~ All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, we give You special thanks for those lead us in Your church and guide us on our journey to You. Grant them wisdom, insight, and hope, and guide them to embolden us to follow and reflect You with our thoughts, words, and actions in each and every day. We pray especially for: add your own petitions and in memory of the witness of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bishop Quintin Primo.

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer
May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart
 
The Celebrant addsAlmighty Lord of Justice and Righteousness, give us the courage to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bishop Quintin Primo to seek the path of Christ in our lives, and to believe that through our individual and collective actions, we will overcome violence, oppression, and intolerance and be a force for unity and equality for all. We ask through Your Son, Jesus Christ who calls us to follow Him, and through the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, who together with You reign as One God, One Lord of All now and forever.  Amen.

The Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew in Wilmington, Delaware was formed as an intentionally diverse congregation and celebrates the legacy of Dr. King on this Sunday, and also that of the Rt. Rev. Quintin E. Primo, Jr, who many of us were privileged to know. This is a reading from his autobiography. For more information on this unusual faith community, see www.ssam.org

*A reading from “The Making of a Black Bishop”
   by the Rt. Rev. Quintin E. Primo, Jr. [1913-1998]
       Thinking of novel ways to serve the diocese (Rochester, NY) ...on behalf of St. Simon’s Young People’s Fellowship, we sponsored an annual diocesan-wide choral evensong service for Episcopal young people. The attendance grew from less than 100 the first year to more than 500. The event was designed to accomplish two purposes: to revive the beautiful and once popular sung evening prayer worship service held in many Episcopal churches during the 30’s and 40-s...; and, to provide safe, congenial, and non-threatening surroundings for black and white urban and suburban, small town and rural, middle-class and underclass, and sometimes “no class” young people to socialize, discuss racial and social problems, and proffer practical solutions. Participating clergy persons, youth advisers, parents and the young people themselves benefited enormously from their open discussions and shared experiences.
       For example, one morning in Chicago, a young white priest came to my office and asked my secretary to see me “for two minutes. The thought-to-be- stranger identified himself by saying, “Bishop Primo, as a high schooler and teenager, I participated in your yearly choral evensong services for young people at Simon’s in Rochester, New York. I was so inspired by them and you, that I with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, decided to become a priest and professional counselor. I want to thank you again, and let you know that I am available to serve as a weekend supply priest should you need me….”
       A few weeks later, the incident was repeated. This time it was a U.S. Marine Chaplain form Virginia, who was in Chicago on business. Entering my office, he said, “I have little time as a taxi is outside waiting to take me to O’Hare Airport. However, I felt could not leave Chicago without seeing you and telling you that I was a teenager when you were at St. Simon’s…..Father Dan Bennett brought me up twice to your annual choral evensong service for young people. I learned a lot about racial understanding and tolerance, and now I am a champion of human rights for all.” I was deeply touched by the Chaplain’s surprise visit and testimony of what those evening prayer services, discussions and socializing had meant to him. I knew there were others who had had similar experiences that I would never know about; it supported the fact that if you reach diverse people in their attitude and behavioral formative years and bring them together for positive and enlightening interaction, the seeds of racial tolerance, unity and understanding can be models and references that impact the remainder of their lives and those with whom they come in contact.



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