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, February 24, 2015

Prayers of the People: You Can't Take It With You, 2nd Sunday in Lent

for March 1, 2015, Second Sunday in Lent, Year B, Readings: Gen 17:1-7, Ps 22:22-30, Romans 4:13-25, Mark 8:31-38
For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?
[Mark 8:36]
A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out
and get more stuff. 
  [George Carlin]
            Strive! Accomplish! Acquire!  Isn't that what life in our culture is all about? Sure I know I "can't take it with me" but while I'm here there's so much I want. What's wrong with having nice things and living well - actually, there's not so much wrong  but the real question is: when is enough, enough?
          Having it all may be more of a sacrifice than we realize. So much effort and stress is required for attaining more and more and more to the detriment of our spirits and souls. Do we need  the newest iPhone, the next Smart TV, the most encompassing cable tv bundle with 500+ channels and the ability to record hundreds of hours of such soul-enriching content as anything with "Housewife" in the title, beach volleyball, or promoting ego satisfaction among stage parents, and so very many ways to shop for stuff? 
          Indeed we are meant to enjoy life and not merely endure it. Part of the enjoyment is in truly realizing, and accepting, that not all of the reward of a life in Christ comes after we die. Living more simply without a false sense of need for possessions can free us to savor the beauty of God's presence in the simple pleasures of a sunset, a child's glee, a piece of music, or the fulfilling moment of giving peace to another's soul through a smile, a meal, or just listening. We do know what we're to do, we just need to do it! God's Covenant bestows eternal grace and it is always available through simple faith. Let us work together to experience God's grace as we follow Christ and live our faith through the Gospel.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Almighty God, Giver of Life, You call us into existence; You know us each by name. Open our hearts to share in the righteousness of the faith of Abraham. Guide us to know deeply that Your Covenant with all generations rests on Your gift of never-ending grace.
 
LORD of Promise, LORD Most High
        RESPONSE:      Our God in whom we put our trust

~ Almighty God, Giver of Life, while earthly government may be rooted in human authority, grant us divine inspiration to encourage right action by political leaders on behalf of all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

LORD of Promise, LORD Most High
Our God in whom we put our trust

~ Almighty God, Giver of Life, may those who suffer in body, mind or spirit, or whose life circumstance is filled with woe, feel the warmth and light of Your holy presence and restful peace in their souls.   We pray especially for: add your own petitions

LORD of Promise, LORD Most High
Our God in whom we put our trust

~ Almighty God, Giver of Life, give solace to those in the depths of mourning even as You, and all of Heaven, raise a joyful shout of welcome to those now returned to eternal life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

LORD of Promise, LORD Most High
Our God in whom we put our trust

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

LORD of Promise, LORD Most High
Our God in whom we put our trust

~ Almighty God, Giver of Life, grant extraordinary wisdom to those who lead us in Your Church, that we may hear Your Word through their voices and turn our lives to You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

LORD of Promise, LORD Most High
Our God in whom we put our trust


The Celebrant adds:  God of Abraham, Sarah, and all Your People, strengthen our resolve to follow the Gospel path that we may reap high profits in spirit and forfeit the temporary, transient, and false treasure of our human experience. We ask this through Jesus, Son of Man, and the Holy Spirit, Source of Wisdom, who together with You, reign as One God, now and forever. Amen.





Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used, with attribution, as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Meditation Moments in Lent: And the Reward goes to...


          Wait a minute - what exactly does reward  mean for my life?  Maybe it's an accolade, a gift, or a blessing. Perhaps it's personal satisfaction, affirmation, or an acquisition? Are we talking spiritual reward or earthly? Maybe I should try and figure out how to define the idea of "reward" for myself. Why am I so busy worrying about a reward?
          Is it just the culture of western life that pushes us to expect to be either rewarded or punished, even by God? Certainly a lot of interpretations of theology seems to be geared that way: Eternal life or eternal damnation. No wonder more and more people are becoming skeptical of religion. Is all the reward of a faith-filled life posthumous?  

But many people want to look upon God with the eyes with which they look upon a cow; they want to love God the way they love a cow that you love because it gives you milk and cheese. This is how people behave who want to love God because of external wealth or inner comfort; but they do not love God properly: rather, they love their self interest.   ― Meister Eckhart*

Dear Creator of Me ~ 
       As the first full week of Lent begins, I want so very much to be on the right track, do the right things, think the right thoughts. I want to love you the right way. How do I do that, how will I know I'm doing it the way I'm supposed to? Do I have to wait 'til I die to find out?
      Help me pause in my anxiousness about being correct in how I follow all the rules and simply rest my spirit in you. Encourage me to give up seeking the reward of you and take on being the gift of you. For this week, my simple prayer will be: Show me your ways O LORD, and teach me your paths. [Psalm 25:3]   Let me truly discover how virtue is its own reward.   amen.



*Meister Eckhart von Hockheim [c. 1260 – c. 1327] was a Dominican priest, German philosopher, theologian, and mystic who had more than a brush with controversy. Some of his teachings were labeled as heresy and he was brought before the Inquisition. Since the 19th century, interest in Eckart's teachings have been quite popular and he is now considered a "great mystic". 









Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Meditation Moments in Lent: Frederick Douglass ~ Prophetic Witness

            We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen! All for the glory of God and the good of souls! The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand.            
~ Frederick Douglass 1817-1895*


Will it ever be more than an "Us vs Them" world where we use the name of God as a weapon to justify all manner of inhumanity towards others? Where we choose to reject, demean, dismiss, cast out, or enslave others who don't look like or think like or believe like us? Where the few, for their own sense of power and personal gain, deliberately mislead the many who follow blindly into thoughts, words, and deeds that promote mistrust, deception, hatred, and all too much violence? Are we, the many, too self-absorbed to realize how easy it is to fall into unconscious group-think "understanding" and apply derogatory categories and labels that define our relationships with those other  than ourselves? 

Holy Lord of Heaven and Earth, 
         In this sacred time of Lent, grant me the strength of character and the courage of conviction and action of Your Servant, Frederick. Move me to go beyond merely knowing  what is right and good to being  right and good, and further, to doing  right and good in Your name for all the people of this world, especially in my own community. Help me to push beyond the barriers of my own making, to see through the halos and shadows imposed by others but accepted by me. Guide my heart to remember that we are each and every one the essence of Your Creation. And most of all, when I am in the midst of a moment of anger, doubt, fear, or uncertainty, help me to thoughtfully respond rather than mindlessly react out of arrogance or a false sense of superiority. Push me to take the time to breathe in Your Spirit and the love of Christ and Your saving help again that I may exhale grace into the space around me.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.   amen.



*Born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Douglass ultimately escaped and, as an ardent abolitionist leader, social reformer, renowned orator and author, the power of his pen and speech, at the very least, decimated the prevailing argument that people of color were intellectually inferior.  Becoming a licensed lay preacher in the A.M.E. Zion Church in 1839, his phenomenal biography would be amazing for anyone and all the more so for an escaped slave. He so impressed the Irish and English on a tour there, that funds were raised by British supporters to purchase his freedom from his owner in 1846. He returned to the US as a free man. The US Episcopal Church celebrates Douglass as a Prophetic Witness on the Liturgical Calendar for February 20.   See the following:  Frederick_Douglass  




Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meditation Moments: Spring Cleaning Begins - Ash Wednesday


I do not think you should get rid of your sin until you have learned 
what it has to teach you.
                                                                                                                                       [Richard Rohr, O.F.B*]

          Here we are again at Ash Wednesday as Lent begins the Christian 40-day journey to Easter. Some will give up chocolate, junk food, or alcohol as an expression of penitence. Others will take on a new prayer or meditation discipline for the period, and some will be well-intentioned, begin in good faith, but falter along the way - not unlike "New Year's Resolutions." Some, of course, won't give Lent any particular attention.
        Some of us will receive ashes on our foreheads - which can be a stark and somber emblem of our individual and collective mortality - from dust we came and to dust we will return. It is also a graphic symbol of our faith commitment, our team logo, a temporary tattoo of our family crest, the sign of the Presence of Christ - the Light of the World. 
        Let's not make this Lent a dark and dreary trudge through the wilderness of gloom and doom. Life is a gift of God, a treasure, a miracle. While we must take the time to examine our sins and acknowledge the everyday idols that lead us astray, let us also do as Fr. Richard Rohr suggests - learn what our sins can teach us about ourselves. We go through much of life unconsciously and we can't get rid of something we don't know we have. Lent is a time to look closely and discover what we've been hiding in the basement of our souls. Just like Spring cleaning - or Fall if you're in the southern hemisphere - it's time to awaken to the best of ourselves, re-discover what it means to commit our lives to Christ, and throw the sin out with the trash. Let us repent with eagerness, with attention and intention, let us turn toward the Light and thrive. (by the way, repent actually means to have a change of heart, a new consciousness, and more importantly, to turn toward God.)

Let us pray from Psalm 51:

11Create in me a clean heart, O God, *
    and renew a right spirit within me.
12Cast me not away from your presence *
    and take not your holy Spirit from me.
13Give me the joy of your saving help again *
    and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.

amen.


*Fr. Richard Rohr [1943- ] is a Franciscan priest, the inspirational author of more than 20 practical books on contemplative prayer, Christian mysticism, spirituality, the Perennial Tradition, etc., and is internationally recognized as an ecumenical teacher and speaker having shared presentations with Sr. Joan Chittister, The Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, the Dali Lama, Pastor Rob Bell, and so many others. He is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he resides.  See http://www.cac.org for more information.



Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Prayers of the People: From Water to Wilderness, First Sunday in Lent

for February 22, 2015, First Sunday in Lent,Year B, Readings: Gen 9:8-17, Ps 25:1-9, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:9-15

God said to Noah and to his sons with him, "As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you...and every animal of the earth with you...and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh."  [Genesis 9:9-11, 15b]

...in the days of Noah...in which a few, that is, eight persons
were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you... [1 Peter 3:20b-21a]

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan...And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan... 
[Mark 1:9,12-13a]

        In this week's readings we travel from the receding waters of The Flood, to the baptismal waters of the Jordan, and on into the wilderness. 
        God makes a covenant (a promise) with Noah and his sons, and, the rainbow will be given as a sign by God and for God to remember the terms God has established. Who knew God needed a post-it reminder, just like the rest of us?
         1st Peter tells us that our baptism is an appeal to God for a good conscience - in effect, we promise, through baptism, to be faithful.  Jesus is driven into the wilderness by the Spirit after his baptism, and Lent, of course, mirrors the 40 days of his experience.
         The wilderness in our day can be anywhere that we feel lost and alone or isolated by others, but that may be different from the type of experience Jesus had. Lent is a designated opportunity to engage with Jesus by intentionally entering a sort of spiritual wilderness to repent (which actually means to turn toward God), to examine our faith and to find ways to be more dedicated to God wherever we are in our life circumstances. It is a time to recognize and acknowledge all those earthly temptations, those temporal enticements, and everyday idols that distract us from our good intentions and draw us away from committing ourselves to a life more centered in Christ. We need not take this journey alone, we can walk the path together through individual and communal prayer, meditation, and reflection. There are innumerable resources in bookstores, online, in churches, libraries, etc., and many people are looking for a companion on the way. Instead of just giving up chocolate, wine, or smoking, let's take on this wilderness journey together. Let us wait on each other as angels waited on Jesus, in our own space, in our own time, yet together in Christ.  Have an idea of how to, or, need an idea? Email me [see below] and let us, God's people, pray...


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ All-Loving, Forgiving God, Your eternal covenant embraces all humankind, this Earth, and all living creatures. Help us to elude distracting temptations and turn our lives to You in faith and trust.

                                 O God of our Salvation
        RESPONSE:   Lead us in Your truth and teach us Your way

~ All-Loving, Forgiving God, as Christ suffered for the righteous and the unrighteous alike at the hands of the unjust, let us be His voice on behalf of all Your daughters and sons, and for our Earthly home. Let us encourage and support the leaders of this world, this country, and this community who diligently work for justice, mercy, and peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God of our Salvation
Lead us in Your truth and teach us Your way

~ All-Loving, Forgiving God, lift the hearts of all who are drowning in the pain of illness, isolation, and desperation, and sustain the energy of those who give them care. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God of our Salvation
Lead us in Your truth and teach us Your way

~ All-Loving, Forgiving God, help us to set aside our grief for those who have died to mortal flesh and give praise and thanksgiving that they are risen in glory and returned to life eternal in You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God of our Salvation
Lead us in Your truth and teach us Your way

~ All-Loving, Forgiving God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

O God of our Salvation
Lead us in Your truth and teach us Your way

~ All-Loving, Forgiving God, whisper Your wisdom to the hearts of those who constantly seek Your Spirit within themselves, and so by Your word, draw us into community and communion in Your Church. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God of our Salvation
Lead us in Your truth and teach us Your way


The Celebrant adds:  Holy and Living God, let us take this time of Lent to walk with Jesus as in a time of spiritual wilderness to examine our faith, our commitment, and to strengthen ourselves against the enticements of all that is not of You. We ask this through Christ, Your beloved Son, and the Holy Spirit, the restorer of Wisdom, who together with You, reign as One God, forever and ever, over all that is Creation.  Amen.





Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Prayers of the People: The Transfiguration, Last Sunday in Epiphany

for February 15, 2015, The Transfiguration, Last Sunday in Epiphany, Year B, Readings: 2 Kings 2:1-12, Ps 50:1-6, 2 Cor 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9

                       The Ultimate
           Mountain Top Experience

         It isn't at all difficult, these days, to imagine the Transfiguration scene given all the special effects available for the making of films and television. How about in 3D IMAX?! But how much credibility do we give it - do we really believe it or, is it just another story
        
         The Transfiguration is one of the five major markers in the life of Jesus along with his Baptism, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. Each moment is spectacular in its own right and each gives rise to disbelief, even among those who were present. 
         I have to ask myself, fairly often, about how faithful is my faith? What impact do these lessons/readings have on my faith, and, perhaps more importantly, on my life, my actions, once I leave the Sunday service?  I have no definitive answers other than I just keep searching, more to discover why I am still searching as much as for answers about my faith.This particular Gospel piece, located high up on the holy ground of the Mountain, reminds me that it's time again to just be enveloped in the mystery, in the shekinah - the cloud of God's glory - and worry less about ifs and whats and whens and just do as God says from the cloud - LISTEN to Jesus. Perhaps if I just listen more and analyze less, then I, too, will have the ultimate mountain top experience when all will be revealed.        

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God of Splendor and Glory, help us remove our spiritual blinders that we may consciously seek to lift the Gospel veil to see, listen, and live according to Your Word.

                                 Jesus, Beloved Face of God
        RESPONSE:  Transfigure our hearts, our minds, and our wills to follow you

~ O God of Splendor and Glory, illuminate the halls of governments across this world with Your saving wisdom and grace. Guide our voices to speak only with love and compassion on behalf of all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Jesus, Beloved Face of God
Transfigure our hearts, our minds, and our wills to follow you

~ O God of Splendor and Glory, enable those besieged by illness or life circumstance to feel Your healing love within and to know the comfort of Your enduring, eternal Presence. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Jesus, Beloved Face of God
Transfigure our hearts, our minds, and our wills to follow you

~ O God of Splendor and Glory, let our departed loved ones be received in the holy whirlwind of Your divine radiance, and may the light of Christ shine through the darkest hours for those who mourn. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Jesus, Beloved Face of God
Transfigure our hearts, our minds, and our wills to follow you

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

Jesus, Beloved Face of God
Transfigure our hearts, our minds, and our wills to follow you

~ O God of Splendor and Glory, ignite the spirits of all who lead us in Your church that they may be a beacon to guide us across life’s troubled waters toward the wholeness of life in You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Jesus, Beloved Face of God
Transfigure our hearts, our minds, and our wills to follow you


The Celebrant adds: God of gods, LORD of lords, infuse us with greater strength and purpose to faithfully reaffirm our covenant with You. May our lives and souls be purified through the dazzling brilliance of the Transfigured Christ and the mystical breath of the Holy Spirit who together with You reign as One God, now and forever. Amen.



Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

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.



Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.