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 2, 2015

Prayers of the People: Lift Ticket, 5th Sunday after Epiphany

for February 8, 2015, 5th Sunday after Epiphany, Year B, Readings: Isaiah 40: 21-31, Ps 147: 1-12, 21c; 1 Cor 9:16-23, Mark 1:29-39   

Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? [Isaiah 40:21]

...but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles... [Isaiah 40:31]

The LORD lifts up the lowly, but casts the wicked to the ground. [Ps 147:6]

...Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever...[Jesus] came...and lifted her up. Then the fever left her... [Mark 1:30-31]

         The book of the prophet Isaiah introduces the readings for today - more specifically, in scholarly/theological terms, this piece is from Deutero-Isaiah or Second Isaiah. The book of this prophet is written in three distinct parts and most likely by three distinct authors. This piece is sometimes called the "Book of Consolation" as it speaks to an audience of those in a long exile out of Jerusalem which for some was not too bad and for others just terrible. This piece is filled with non-judgmental, hope-filled language of restoration, rebuilding, and renewal. God reminds us that we have heard this before, that God has always promised to remain with us and, as during the Exodus, God's power never fails, never grows faint or weary. In a poetic turn not only are we protected by the wings of God, but God gives those in exile and us wings of our own to lift us out of our weakness and weariness, an unusual and profound gift. What are we to do with them?
         The Psalmist reminds us of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the gathering of the exiles to return home, and how God recognizes and heals the wounds and broken hearts, God lifts up the lowly. We are all to sing praises, sing with thanksgiving, make music upon the harp for all that God has bestowed upon us.
         Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians tries, in his way that is not always easy for us to understand, to tell us to meet people where they are in order to offer the way of the Gospel. He's also giving us some insight into how difficult things can be in congregational life with competing factions, different understandings, and varying ideas on how things should be done. What Paul is trying to tell them - and us - is that we need to listen, not judge, see what concerns people and welcome everyone. A true balancing act that we have difficulty with in our own time.
         And Jesus, lifted up Simon's mother-in-law and she was freed from the fever. Her response was to honor Jesus in the way she knew how. Isn't that what we each must do?  
         Let us honor the gifts of God, the healings, words, and works of Jesus, and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, by accepting our wings, soaring to new heights of commitment, and proclaiming the message. Haven't you heard? We have the ticket.
 
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ God of Abundance and Wisdom, You call us all and each by our names, and offer us wings like eagles to soar into eternal life. Let us learn to meet others where they are, for their sakes and Yours, so that we may invite them to join with us, as they are, to share in the freedom of Your abundant love.

Transcendent, Immanent, Preeminent LORD
RESPONSE:  Lift us in grace again that we may know You as from the beginning

~ God of Abundance and Wisdom, as we strive to live into the Gospel that is freely given us, let us remind those in authority over Your people of the limits and transience of human power. The time is now to prosper those who are living lowly in this world, this country, and our community.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions
Transcendent, Immanent, Preeminent LORD
Lift us in grace again that we may know You as from the beginning

~ God of Abundance and Wisdom, bind the wounds and heal the hearts of those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit and give strength to those who give them care. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Transcendent, Immanent, Preeminent LORD
Lift us in grace again that we may know You as from the beginning

~ God of Abundance and Wisdom, receive in joy those who have left the exile of this mortal life for Your everlasting paradise, and shelter their loved ones from the tempest of grief. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Transcendent, Immanent, Preeminent LORD
Lift us in grace again that we may know You as from the beginning

~ God of Abundance and Wisdom, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

Transcendent, Immanent, Preeminent LORD
Lift us in grace again that we may know You as from the beginning

~ God of Abundance and Wisdom, renew and empower those who invite us all to the sacred feast at Your table to hear the Holy Gospel of Christ proclaimed. Grant them Your gracious favor that we all may share in Your blessings and always enduring love. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Transcendent, Immanent, Preeminent LORD
Lift us in grace again that we may know You as from the beginning

The Celebrant adds: Omniscient, Abiding LORD, restore and elevate our eternal souls that we may be freed from the fevers of sin to fervently serve You, each in our own best way. We ask this through Jesus, our Healer, and the Holy Spirit, our Comforter who live and reign with You as One God, beyond the ages of ages. Amen.



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