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 24, 2015

Prayers of the People: Straight to the Heart, 14th Sunday after Pentecost

for Sunday, August 30, 2015, Year B, Pentecost 14, Readings: Song of Solomon 2:8-13, Ps 45:1-2, 7-10; James 1:17-27, Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23

       [Jesus] said to them, Isaiah prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines. 'You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition." 
       Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come... [Mark 7:6-8, 14]

        The language of the readings this week is rich, provocative, and even sensual. The Song of Solomon is clearly a magnificent and moving love poem and the Psalm carries the romance along enticing us with idyllic images saying that the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad. [Ps 45:9] 
        The writer of James tells us that it is through God's generous act of giving that we are brought to birth by the word of truth and are directed to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger...we are to be doers of the word, and not merely hearers. [James 1:17a, 18a, 19, 22a]  But, as always, it is Jesus who speaks bluntly to the Pharisees who make human tradition and precepts into idolatrous doctrine even as they abandon the commandments of God. He tells the rest of us by way of addressing "the crowd" that it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come... [Mark 7:14]  
        In our own time and "religious practice" when the "tradition" and ritual are the end rather than the means to holiness, when purpose and origin are lost or forgotten, when the "why" of it is no longer considered, we have lost the integrity and intention of the worship of God. We have ceased to be conscious - we are merely hearers, not doers. We are desensitized, sterilized, and removed from receiving and giving the deep, abiding love of God.  
       Jesus yanks me into awareness that my commitment has become shallow and I hearken back to Ps 51, verses 2 and 10 in particular: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin...Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 
        We are given these extraordinary words of love this week to deepen our relationship to God with gladness and singleness of heart [Book of Common Prayer, p. 365] , to be unstained by the world, and to act on behalf of those less fortunate. As we recommit ourselves to the acting within God's commandment, let us welcome with meekness the implanted word that will save our souls as it goes straight to each of our hearts.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Sovereign God, Generous and Giving, stir our hearts with noble intentions that we may be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slower to anger. Infuse our souls with Your perfect love.

LORD of Lights
RESPONSE: Let us hear Your Beloved Voice and be doers of Your Word

~ Sovereign God, Generous and Giving, impart a purity of purpose to all those who govern Your peoples in all places, that they may be free of hypocrisy and filled with justice and mercy. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

LORD of Lights
Let us hear Your Beloved Voice and be doers of Your Word

~ Sovereign God, Generous and Giving, nurture the hope of those in distress with the pain of illness, depression, or addiction, and give strength to those who provide for their daily needs. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

LORD of Lights
Let us hear Your Beloved Voice and be doers of Your Word

~ Sovereign God, Generous and Giving, soothe the wounds of those who grieve even as the Court of Heaven opens in a festival of everlasting joy for those we love. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

LORD of Lights
Let us hear Your Beloved Voice and be doers of Your Word

~ Sovereign God, Generous and Giving, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

LORD of Lights
Let us hear Your Beloved Voice and be doers of Your Word

~ Sovereign God, Generous and Giving, continually revitalize those who bring us Your Word and Sacraments, that they may move us from the idolatry of mere human precepts to honoring Your commandments with each action of our lives. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

LORD of Lights
Let us hear Your Beloved Voice and be doers of Your Word


The Celebrant adds:  Almighty God, we are anointed by Your Oil of Gladness and called to keep ourselves unstained by the world. Fortify our resolve to cleanse our own hearts as we think, pray, speak, and act on Your implanted Word that has the power to save all of our souls. We ask through the perfection of Jesus, our Christ and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who together with You, reign as One God, now and forever. Amen.




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