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, February 29, 2016

Prayers of the People: L ST and FOUND, 4th Sunday in Lent, Yr C

For Sunday, March 6, 2016,  Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C, Readings: Joshua 5:9-12, Ps 32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32


        The Manna ceased on the day [the Israelites] ate the produce of the land... [Joshua 5:12a]

        Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin is put away...Great are the tribulations of the wicked; but mercy embraces those who trust in the LORD. [Psalm 32:1, 11]

        If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away... 
[2 Cor 5:17a]

        But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found. [Luke 15:32]

                The Israelites have finally arrived after wandering through the desert with the daily arrival of manna for sustenance. God brought them through, even after the transgressions of their ancestors, into a new life in the land of Canaan.
          Paul tells us that when we find our way to Christ we are made new with the gift of the ministry of reconciliation and he entreats us to be reconciled to God.        
        And in Luke's Gospel we have the grumbling Pharisees and Scribes complaining of Jesus' dinners with sinners, so he told them the parable of the Father, Son, and Angry Brother, also known as the parable of the Prodigal Son. Yes, yes, we know it inside and out but given that it is still Lent, sacrifice a moment to thoughtfully revisit this ancient story.  
       Perhaps you had a role-play experience with it at some point and chose one of the 3 characters to live in. If not, try it out. Read as if you are the lowly son and discover his feelings of hunger, fear, regret, and whatever else you might name before and after he humbles himself to return home. Then read again as the welcoming father; know his tears of joy and relief at seeing his son appear in the distance. Once more, as the elder brother. Who of us cannot appreciate his feelings of betrayal, anger, jealousy. He's been steadfast and true and who gets the glory - spoiled little brother, that's who!
        The Israelites seemed lost but were always known by God. Yet they must have felt a sense of being "found" when the travel ceased and the new homeland blossomed into food and settlement. We are new again and again when we return to Christ and repent of our sins - not in despair but in the joy of finding wholeness and feeling true of heart. And the Father, Son, and Elder Brother - we have each been all three in one way or another. Let us remember it knowing that God always welcomes us home and always celebrates our return, no matter how many times we wander off as if on our own. And in the darkest times of life amid loss, regret, or hopelessness, God always knows us and forgives us. God is never the one who leaves. Even when we can't forgive ourselves, we are forgiven and redeemed by God - if God can forgive me, who am I not to forgive myself? But we must remember that we cannot find what we do not look for. Seek and the L ST will soon be FOUND and everything old [will have] passed away.
          

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God of Mercy, remind our souls of Your eternal, loving Presence and patience. Whether we are lost in the darkness of life, or too immersed in its treasure, You wait for us to turn in Your direction, and rediscover our true selves in You.

Most Faithful Lord
RESPONSE:           Your forgiveness always awaits our return        

~ O God of Mercy, renew a right spirit of peace, justice, and humanity in ourselves and in all who lobby, legislate, and rule, throughout this World, this Country, and our Community. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Most Faithful Lord
Your forgiveness always awaits our return

~ O God of Mercy, restore the hope and wholeness of those who are trapped in the urgencies of serious illness, addiction, or homelessness, and re-double the compassion of all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

Most Faithful Lord
Your forgiveness always awaits our return

~ O God of Mercy, repair the heartfelt wounds of those who mourn, as all of Heaven celebrates and rejoices at the arrival of those who died on earth, and now live again for all eternity. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Most Faithful Lord
Your forgiveness always awaits our return

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

Most Faithful Lord
Your forgiveness always awaits our return

~ O God of Mercy, help us to find refreshment in the fellowship of faith, and walk with those You have called to Your service. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Most Faithful Lord
Your forgiveness always awaits our return
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds: God of the Lost and Found, kindle our desire to reconcile ourselves in Christ as a new creation, and spare us from all that we think we deserve. Grant us the willingness to seek, find, and above all, trust in Your enduring embrace. We ask through Jesus, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier, who together with You, are One God, now and forever.  Amen.



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