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, August 31, 2015

Prayers of the People: Grand Opening, 15th Sunday after Pentecost

for Sunday, September 6, 2015, Pentecost 15, Year B, Readings: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; Ps 125; James 2:1-10, [11-13], 14-17; Mark 7: 24-37


My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?...What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works?           [James 2:1, 14]

"But she answered [Jesus], "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." Then he said to her, "For saying that, you may go-- the demon has left your daughter"...Then looking up to heaven, [Jesus] sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. [Mark 7:28-29, 34-35]

          Consciousness, mindfulness, awareness, attentiveness...faithfulness... are these not the keys to living out our faith in God? I'm not always aware of how unaware I am in the rush of the day, the list to be completed, life speeding by at warp. Then James asks if I really believe....well, sure, when I'm conscious, mindful, aware, faithful and, in church, more or less. I have to think about what I believe, sometimes. Yet at other times I'm absolutely certain but don't have time [don't take time] to do much about it.
         The readings this week are filled with instruction, images, warnings, and questions I'd prefer to think about later. And yet, for me, the overarching theme this week is Jesus saying, "Ephphatha" - "Be opened."  I can be fairly tightly wound at times and this miraculous phrase gives me a pause, a moment to breathe, a release of the self-imposed binding. The writer of James is trying to open us to act on what we say we believe, as faith must be also be accompanied by action. Even the Syrophoenician woman opened herself - in an unexpected way for a woman of her time - to speak back to Jesus. Was he merely testing her or was he in turn also opened by her candor and so removed the demon from her child? As Jesus healed the man who was deaf and couldn't speak clearly, he also heals us, right now, in this moment. By these words we, too, can be opened to new insight, new consciousness. We were created to live and act in faith, to be as God wants us to be, to reap the harvest of eternal life, to love and treat [all] our neighbors as if they were us. Let us renovate our understanding of what we really believe and have a grand opening, a new flowering, to our active faith in God consciously, mindfully, aware, attentively, faithfully.
  
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O LORD of Goodness and Mercy, in the midst of a busy life we often forget to be consciously aware of Your love and Your presence. Awaken our desire to turn to You in all things, to be as generous to others as You have been to us, and to use the life You have given us to live as a reflection of our true and abiding belief in You.  

 Dear God in Whom we say we trust,
RESPONSE:  Open our true hearts to live, speak, and act with faith   

~ O LORD of Goodness and Mercy, empower us to be heard by all who wield power in the halls of government on our planet, in our nation, and in our community. Let us work to hinder injustice, turn aside those with crooked ways, and sow the seeds of benevolence, dignity, and humanity for all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                    Dear God in Whom we say we trust,
                                    Open our true hearts to live, speak, and act with faith

~ O LORD of Goodness and Mercy, envelop with Your healing grace all who are lost in serious illness or chronic despair, and strengthen the resolve of all who give them loving support.  We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                    Dear God in Whom we say we trust,
                                    Open our true hearts to live, speak, and act with faith

~ O LORD of Goodness and Mercy, surround those who mourn with the peace of knowing that their beloved has found the eternal bliss of life everlasting with You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                    Dear God in Whom we say we trust,
                                    Open our true hearts to live, speak, and act with faith

~ O LORD of Goodness and Mercy, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

                                    Dear God in Whom we say we trust,
                                    Open our true hearts to live, speak, and act with faith

~ O LORD of Goodness and Mercy, as we come to the end of one season and the beginning of another, re-excite the spirits of those upon whom we depend to shepherd us on our journey to You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                    Dear God in Whom we say we trust,
                                    Open our true hearts to live, speak, and act with faith


The Celebrant adds:  Creator God, Constant and Steadfast, grant our ears to be opened to hear Your Word, and our tongues released to speak our faith plainly, as we walk in Your ways to do the work You have given us to do. We ask in the name of Jesus, our Glorious Lord, and the Holy Spirit, our Holy Comforter, who together with You reign as one God from before all time and for evermore. Amen.





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