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, September 14, 2015

Prayers of the People: The Question Is..., 17th Sunday after Pentecost

for Sunday, September 20, 2015, 17th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, Readings: Proverbs 31:10-31, Ps 1, James 3:13-4:3, Mark 9: 30-37

          For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed. [Ps 1:6]
          But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth...But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy...And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. [James 3:14, 17-18]
          ...for [Jesus] was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again." But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him...Then they came to Capernaum; and...on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. [Jesus]...said to them, "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all." Then he...said to them, "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me." [Mark 9:31-32, 33a, 34b, 35b, 37]

          In a culture that teaches that one must strive to thrive through success, achievement, wealth, power and position, it is exceedingly difficult to avoid the traps of envy, ambition, conflict, distrust, and so on. Fear of asking questions is also prevalent - one learns early in school to be fearful of being labeled stupid if one asks a seemingly dumb question. Surely one only wants to ask the "right questions" and not give too much information away to those with whom one competes. As the writer of Mark tells us this week, even the chosen disciples were afraid to ask Jesus to explain what he meant by all the talk about being betrayed and killed and rising again. But then, there they were asking and arguing among themselves about which one of them was the greatest of them all. 
          Righteousness is one of those words we hear a great deal of from the Bible - we can guess by its sound that it means to be "right" with God and in truth it does mean that, to lead a life that is pleasing to God, someone whose actions God would find to be justified and ethical. We are told very specifically what happens to those who sit in the seats of the scornful [Ps 1:1]  and are boastful and false to the truth [James 3:14b] . And Jesus gives the disciples, and us, the terms of a righteous life: Be last, not first, a servant of all, and those they welcome in the name of Jesus will be welcoming God into their midst, thereby drawing themselves closer to God. So, the question is, what am I waiting for? 


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ LORD of Truth and Righteousness, refresh our souls in the human struggle to balance our earthly needs, wants, and promises with our yearning to live in faithful closeness to You, our God.  

Holy God, Just and Merciful
RESPONSE: Keep us from envy and selfishness; draw us to You

~ LORD of Truth and Righteousness, enliven our spirits to stand together as we intentionally seek ethical and principled governing by the leaders of our world, our country, and our community. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy God, Just and Merciful
Keep us from envy and selfishness; draw us to You

~ LORD of Truth and Righteousness, especially cherish those who suffer debilitating pain in body, mind, and spirit and envelop the stalwart hearts of those who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

Holy God, Just and Merciful
Keep us from envy and selfishness; draw us to You

~ LORD of Truth and Righteousness, illuminate the dark corners of this earthly life for those who are grieving, as You gather those newly departed from us, into the gleaming expanse of eternal life with You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy God, Just and Merciful
Keep us from envy and selfishness; draw us to You

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

Holy God, Just and Merciful
Keep us from envy and selfishness; draw us to You

~ LORD of Truth and Righteousness, quicken the minds and hearts of those who share Your wisdom with us, who free us from the fear of asking questions about our faith, and delight with us in the building of a diverse worshiping community dedicated to Your never-ending glory. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy God, Just and Merciful
Keep us from envy and selfishness; draw us to You


The Celebrant adds:  Benevolent LORD, Infinite and Immanent, quell our pridefulness that we may come to You as selfless, loving, and welcoming servants of all Your people, all Your children. We ask through the glory and sacrifice of our Savior Christ Jesus and the splendor of the Spirit Most Holy, who together with You, are our boundless and eternal God, forever and ever. Amen.




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