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, August 4, 2015

Prayers of the People: I Beg Your Pardon, 11th Sunday after Pentecost

for Sunday, August 9, 2015, Year B, 11th Sunday after Pentecost, Readings: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33; Ps 130, Eph 4:25-5:2, John 6:35, 41-51

       The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!" [2 Sam 18:33]

       Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger...Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. [Eph 4:26, 31-32]

      Jesus said, "I am the bread of life"...No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day...Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life...This is the bread of life that comes down from heaven so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever... [John 6:35, 44, 47-48, 50,  51a] 

          The tangled web of intrigue and betrayal in the story of David is the stuff of legend and the subject of nearly salacious fiction in novels and films though there is barely a taste of it over a few weeks of the Sunday lectionary. From triumph to tragedy, love amidst anger, forgiveness is the overarching element - God forgives David; David forgives Absalom; God forgives us all.
            Paul gives us that familiar phrase don't let the sun go down on your anger and tells us to put away the by-products of anger ~ bitterness, wrath, and malice. It's not easy to be tenderhearted and forgiving when someone has broken your trust and your heart. Yet again we see that God, through Christ, forgives them and us.
           In our "real time" of now, it is easier than ever to be goaded into explosive anger by political, religious, and nearly any other subject when there are vicious, reactionary, or merely polarizing opinions voiced by broadcasters, editorial writers, and regular folks on any media outlet you can name.  My God-given life is 'way too short to feed the frenzy. I want to change my anger into positive energy and direct it toward solutions to genuine problems rather than to add more unproductive trash talk. Jesus tells us no less than six times in this Gospel reading, that he is our salvation, our bread of eternal life ~ do we hear it, do we know it, do we believe it yet? Through him, by God, we are forgiven everything, if we only just believe. Then faith will truly change our lives
          Forgiving is hard and may appear to be unrewarding work. But forgiveness does not mean that I or the other have to give up disagreement or even some true anger. Forgiveness doesn't mean that the issue has changed from wrong to right and no relevant punishment is due. Wanting justice is surely part of the act of forgiveness but may not be realized; however, in the act of forgiveness, mercy is paramount.  As the Prayer of St. Francis says, "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned." My satisfaction in forgiving others will be in recognizing that I have also forgiven myself, have tasted the Bread of Life, and freed myself from the useless prison of an angry heart.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God of Forgiveness, help us be quicker to see our own sin before another’s, to move beyond our egos into truth, to turn righteous anger into energy for the work of Christ. Let us believe in and feed on the Bread of Life.

LORD of Mercy
RESPONSE: Help us forgive as we are forgiven

~ O God of Forgiveness, grant us wisdom to overturn bitterness, wrangling, and self-serving malice wherever it is found in the halls of governments, across this planet, this nation, and in our community. Let us work together to build up for everyone, rather than tear down for all. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

LORD of Mercy
                                    Help us forgive as we are forgiven

~ O God of Forgiveness, give Your word of hope to all who wait and struggle with pain in body or soul, and calm the hearts of all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need: add your own petitions


LORD of Mercy
                                    Help us forgive as we are forgiven

~ O God of Forgiveness, hear the voices of those who call out from the depths of grief, and bestow the peace of deeply knowing, that their loved ones are now feasting at the banquet of eternal life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

LORD of Mercy
                                    Help us forgive as we are forgiven

~ O God of Forgiveness, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…add your own petitions

LORD of Mercy
                                    Help us forgive as we are forgiven

~ O God of Forgiveness, bless those entrusted with our spiritual care who call us to worship, study, and pray together as members of one another, as a community in Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

LORD of Mercy
                                    Help us forgive as we are forgiven

The Celebrant adds: Eternal God of Hope, energize our faith and excite our souls to live and act in each and every day as the living legacy of our salvation through Christ. We ask through Jesus, our sacred Bread of Life, and the Holy Spirit by whom we are Sealed for Redemption, who together with You are One God, for the life of this world and forever. Amen.




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