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 26, 2016

Prayers of the People: Bloom Where You're Planted, 20th Sunday after Pentecost, Yr C

For Sunday, October 2, 2016, 20th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Lamentations 1:1-6, Psalm 137, 2 Timothy 1:1-14, Luke 17:5-10 


By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered you, O Zion. [Ps 137:1]

...I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you...for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. [2 Timothy 1:6-7]

The Apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." [Luke 17:5-6]

Exiled. Uprooted. Replanted. So many of God's people experience this cycle more than once in a life, and for some on our Earth it is continuous. For those fortunate enough to have only a moment of true life upheaval, it may be difficult to be entirely empathetic despite all good intentions. While the grief expressed in the poem of Lamentations and even in the Psalm can be moving, if we read with the eyes of those looking at current news reports from around the globe, it may seem far removed from everyday life in our own corner. That said, I certainly and always have a visceral reaction to the last line in Psalm 137, which is meant as a curse to the predators from Babylon who decimated Jerusalem, uprooted, exiled, and replanted - stole - the people of Israel from their homeland. I commend you to read it for yourself and see that however understandable the emotion, it mirrors the abject cruelty that seems to run rampant in our world today by thought, by word, and by deed in large and in small ways. Yet within the Psalmist's frustration and curses lives a kernel of hope that all the desolation will end as they remember Jerusalem and keep the future alive through that memory. 
        But it is, certainly and always, the Gospel, with a little help from the 2nd letter to Timothy, that gives us our focus - the apostles ask Jesus to "Increase our faith!" Jesus reminds them, and all of us, that all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed and we would be able to command whole trees to uproot themselves and be replanted in the sea. It is a metaphor worth pondering. Even in our own day some varieties of mustard seeds are nearly as small as the period at the end of this sentence yet they hold within themselves the ability to produce enormous trees. Imagine then, how great our own eternal future if we remember, in days of exile and uprootedness, and in times of feeling securely and well planted, that we already have all we need within us. The good treasure, our holy calling, the grace...has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus. If you want to have faith, the seeds within you have already sprouted with the help of the Holy Spirit. It is also important to remember that having true faith doesn't mean freedom from doubt. It just means to dig a little deeper, pray a bit more often, spend time with the Word and Sacraments, rekindle the gift of God that is within and in so doing the fertile seeds within will take root, grow, and bloom, wherever you are planted.  

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, open our hearts and minds that we may rekindle the gift of You that lives within us, even with only a fragment of faith and hope.

                                                  Lord of Power in Love
RESPONSE:           We are called and saved by You

~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, transfuse compassion and humane action into the conscience of each and every leader of this planet, this country, and this community, for the plight of political refugees, all victims of systemic violence and bigotry, and all who feel they live in exile even in their own land. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Power in Love
                                                We are called and saved by You
                                               
~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, unburden all who live with chronic pain and distress in body, mind, or spirit, and give rest to the hearts of those who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Power in Love
                                                We are called and saved by You
           
~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, lift the veil of grief for all who sit and weep, by the joy of memory for those now freed from earthly bondage, living anew in the glory of Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Lord of Power in Love
                                                We are called and saved by You

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

                                                Lord of Power in Love
                                                We are called and saved by You
           
~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, nurture all who toil in this temporal garden encouraging spiritual growth by planting seeds of faith, large and small, in the souls of all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Power in Love
                                                We are called and saved by You
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Holy and Mighty God, uproot any doubts in the teachings of Christ, as we strive to live according to Your purpose, and guard the good treasure of life eternal entrusted to us. We ask through our Jesus, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit, living within us, who together with You are One God, now and forever.  Amen.




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