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 29, 2016

Prayers of the People: More than a Hobby for Groupies,16th Sunday after Pentecost, Yr C

For Sunday, September 4, 2016, 16th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Jeremiah 18:1-11, Ps 139: 1-5, 12-17; Philemon 1:1-21, Luke 14:25-33

        So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. [Jeremiah 18:3-4]

        Lord, you have searched me out and known me; You trace my journeys and my resting places and are acquainted with all my ways. Indeed there is not a word on my lips, but you O Lord, know it altogether. [Psalm 139: 1a, 2-3]

        Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to  you and to me...So, if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. [Philemon 1:11, 17]

         For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?...Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? [Luke 14:28, 31]

        From the potter, to the shadow God who sees all, to Paul and Onesimus [oh-nee-see-mus], to another sobering pronouncement by Jesus, it's a busy week in Lectionary Land. Although God in Jeremiah is not happy with the house of Israel in that moment, there is great hope and comfort in the hands of the potter who can reshape and reform the vessels into more useful and pleasing containers. There is much beauty in the appointed verses for this week's Psalm since the really difficult ones are left for us to discover inside our Book of Common Prayer or Bible. 
     Philemon [fuh-lee-mon], quite an amazing little letter in only 25 verses. There are far more paragraphs written about this letter than there are in it and it has a very interesting back-story and questions - is Onesimus a runaway slave? - certainly this piece was used by the great and God-fearing as justification for the horrendous institution of slavery in our own and other shameful national histories. One won't ever know for certain but Paul - following the law and culture of the land and time - reminds us that even in our own time, regardless of this or any other man, woman, or child's status, she, he, they are to be welcomed as a beloved brother or sister.
       And then there's the discomforting Gospel admonishing those of us who would travel with Jesus to hate family and even life itself and give up all possessions or we cannot become disciples. But in pondering and reading all the words such as Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus [Luke 14:25a]  it occurs to me that maybe he was tiring of the party groupies who were merely enjoying hanging out with this celebrity and not quite understanding the full importance of his teaching. This certainly would have gotten their attention as it does mine. Perhaps that was the point. He goes on with the analogy of building a tower - reasonable for us to consider now - who wouldn't begin a building project by estimating the cost? As for warring kings, there are other parallels for us to envision such as the long-term implications of political policy that helps or hinders the lives of any of God's people and Creation itself. 
       Traveling with Jesus isn't all just loaves and fishes. It IS a hard road but who of us are able to imagine the cost of giving up our families and all of our possessions? Last week Paul told us to be content with what we have and in Luke, Jesus was telling us how not to exalt ourselves. I think there is much the same in this week - a recurring theme of Scripture is not getting caught up in earthly delights or gathering wealth or possessions but to focus on the goal of everlasting life in Christ. Prayer, missteps, loving community are all along the way if we use them wisely as tools to help. We are clay in God's hands - unfired, therefore pliable and flexible, not like finished ceramics that are fragile and break beyond repair. The journey is not easy and the cost may be great, but we are never alone and always easily patched up and re-shaped to begin again. This isn't just a hobby for groupies to follow when convenient though sometimes having a hobby is the start of something much bigger. This is a calling and there is a price. We'll have many wrong turns and unholy moments but if our intent is true, we will be whole and more holy when we arrive at our ultimate destination.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Almighty and Boundless God, You know us as no other and from You no secrets are hid. Awaken us as at our earthly birth, that we may re-fashion ourselves day by day, to follow Your will in the lives You have given us to live.

                                                  Lord of All, Giver of Life
RESPONSE:           Refresh our hearts in Christ

~ Almighty and Boundless God, transform the relationship between the leaders of this world, this country, and this community, and those they govern. As a potter re-crafts at the wheel, shape character and morality into each unique and useful vessel, and stamp Your signature of justice, mercy, and peace upon us all. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord of All, Giver of Life
                                                Refresh our hearts in Christ
                                               
~ Almighty and Boundless God, smooth the rough edges from all who are chipped by chronic pain, depression, or a sense of helplessness, and polish the spirit of all who serve their needs. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Lord of All, Giver of Life
                                                Refresh our hearts in Christ
           
~ Almighty and Boundless God, encircle Your healing Hands around the grieving, even as all those we have sent to You, are now new again in the splendor of eternal life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord of All, Giver of Life
                                                Refresh our hearts in Christ

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

                                                Lord of All, Giver of Life
                                                Refresh our hearts in Christ
           
~ Almighty and Boundless God, guide us to partner with all who have dedicated themselves as true disciples of Jesus, who will teach us to count the blessings more than the cost of the work ahead, and how to grow in and share our faith. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord of All, Giver of Life
                                                Refresh our hearts in Christ
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds: Divine Artisan, Master of Creation, keep us as malleable as unfired clay so that You, who formed us in the womb, may continue to form our minds, our hearts, and our souls into worthy receivers of Your love and grace. We ask through Jesus, our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, our Wonderful Counselor, who together with You are 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.