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, March 8, 2016

Prayers of the People: Nard Enough, 5th Sunday in Lent, Yr C

For Sunday, March 13, 2016, 5th Sunday in Lent, Year C, Readings: Isaiah 43:16-21, Ps 126, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-8 

        Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters...Do not remember the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth... [Isaiah 43:16, 18-19a] 

        The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed. [Psalm 126:4]

        For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things...in order that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. [Philippians 3:8b-9]

        Six days before the Passover...Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. [John 12: 1a,3]

        The tension is building as if in a novel. Every thought and phrase expressed reveals a clue to what is coming - if we didn't already know. Six days before Passover  ~ time is running out. Jesus came to Bethany ~ a scant two miles' walk to Jerusalem. Mary anoints his feet with an expensive perfume made of nard and that sets off Judas and the Gospel writer is very clear about the thieving Iscariot's character and coming betrayal. 
        The fragrant nard itself is symbolic. It was customary for the household to prepare for the feet of the guests to be washed as a practical and hospitable welcome. This particular perfume was worth a fortune, maybe as much as or more than a year's wages for a worker and this gesture would have seemed quite excessive by normal standards. Of course this was far from a normal moment. Perhaps this was further fuel for Judas to pass on to the assassination plotters, the Chief Priest and Pharisees. But Jesus was clear that Mary's act of love meant more; it was a foreshadowing of his death and burial. The ritual of burial involved precious spices and oils and the anointing of the body always began with the feet.
        We know what is coming. Those reclining and serving at table that night did not - save Judas. Yet there is much ahead in the short time Jesus has left. A seemingly small albeit extravagant moment at a gathering of friends, not so much in ordinary times, but it was nard enough to kick off a deadly series of events that changed the world forever. Pay closer attention in the coming readings. Even if very familiar, God is about to do a new thing again and there is much to hear, to learn, and to live.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O Lord of the Way and the Path, release us from the false piety of mere righteousness in Your law, and awaken us to the freedom of knowing and living each day in Christ and the power of His Resurrection.
                                                                                        
                                                O God in Christ Jesus
RESPONSE:           Help us to press on in Faith   

~ O Lord of the Way and the Path, break down the walls of governments all over this world, this country, and this community, that we may disperse a contagious fragrance of peace, tolerance, justice, and mercy, to all people formed by You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God in Christ Jesus
                                                Help us to press on in Faith

~ O Lord of the Way and the Path, restore the fortunes of hope to all who are poor in body, mind, or spirit, and revitalize all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

O God in Christ Jesus
                                                Help us to press on in Faith

~ O Lord of the Way and the Path, console those who weep and mourn, as those now returned to the prize of life in You, are celebrated with heavenly shouts of joy. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God in Christ Jesus
                                                Help us to press on in Faith

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

O God in Christ Jesus
                                                Help us to press on in Faith

~ O Lord of the Way and the Path, enliven the hearts and souls of all who guide us on life’s journey toward eternity, that they may share with us the joy of being Christ's own, even in the darkest of times. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God in Christ Jesus
                                                Help us to press on in Faith
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds: God of Great Things, seal the wounds of our earthly life with the ointment of Your saving grace; let us be the spring of Your new work in Creation, and shoulder the sheaves of everlasting salvation. We ask through Jesus, our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier, who together with You reign as One God, forever and ever. Amen.



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