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 12, 2016

Prayers of the People: Mammon ~ not a French title for your Mother, 18th Sunday after Pentecost, Yr C

For Sunday, 18, 2016, 18th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1, Psalm 79:1-9, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 16:1-13

       For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead?  [Jeremiah 8:21-22a]

       Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your Name; deliver us and forgive us our sins, for your Name's sake. [Psalm 79:9]

       For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all... [1 Timothy 2:5-6a] 

       Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?...You cannot serve God and wealth. [Luke 16:10-11, 13b]

       Wealth and power. The hallmarks of success and prosperity; the American Dream, the primary aspiration that our western culture teaches. Once achieved, then we can work out the details of faith, hope, and charity.
      Americans are far from alone in this dream. Mammon, the ancient term for material wealth gained through greedy pursuit, has been portrayed as a god, an idol, and even the devil from earliest time. Martin Luther referred to Mammon as "the most common god on earth."  The more modern term is simply wealth, but there is a serious distinction between those who would be greedy or dishonestly wealthy, and those who would use their wealth to honestly and faithfully prosper others. Many of us are a little bit guilty of pursuing wealth. Few of us haven't bought lottery tickets, filled out chance tickets for millions, dribbled money into slot machines, and fantasized about all we would get and do if we won. Yet formal studies say that nearly 70% of those who win big payoffs are bankrupt within 7 years. Too much of a good thing, or a bad thing? A case of "when all we want isn't enough?" 
       Self-examination is key when Jesus calls us to account on how faithful and honest we are in little and big matters. What is truly our intent? Is a little lottery dreaming sinful? Hardly, unless it takes up many waking minutes or harms financially or otherwise. The question is: if we're unfaithful or dishonest with ill-gotten gains, who would entrust us with the true riches? The writer of the letter of Timothy (most likely not Paul, but does that really matter?) tells us that leading a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity is right and acceptable in the sight of God...who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:2b-4). Whether or not that seems realistic in combative, angry, and violent times isn't the point. Life is difficult, often more so for others than ourselves, but we all have bad days, weeks, or even years. And serving wealth on behalf of ourselves isn't the path to inner peace, godliness, or dignity. Oh it may look and even feel good on the surface, but we each know the little discomforting niggle of conscience even if we try to ignore it. Jesus is never clearer than in this Gospel. We cannot serve two masters; we cannot serve God and wealth. Is there a balm in Gilead for sin-sick souls? Yes ~ Jesus Christ, our Lord. Let others worship Mammon; let our faithfulness to God be ever increasing.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Compassionate Lord, guide us on our journey to truth, faithfulness, and honesty in Your sight, in all that is very little and all that is very much. Keep our hearts open, eager for You, and far from indifference toward all humanity and all Creation.

                                                    O God, our Savior
RESPONSE:             Deliver us and forgive our sins

~ Compassionate Lord, bestow the qualities of empathy, benevolence, and decency upon all who are leaders, and those who would be, on this Planet, in this Nation, and in our Community. Instill integrity and honor in those who hold authority over all of Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God, our Savior
                                                Deliver us and forgive our sins
                                               
~ Compassionate Lord, allay the anxiety of all who suffer in pain of body, mind, or soul, and give strength to all who are committed to their care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                O God, our Savior
                                                Deliver us and forgive our sins
           
~ Compassionate Lord, dry the fountain of tears from the eyes of all who weep in grief, as the glory of Paradise now welcomes and enfolds those now transformed into eternal life and joy. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God, our Savior
                                                Deliver us and forgive our sins

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

                                                O God, our Savior
                                                Deliver us and forgive our sins
           
~ Compassionate Lord, we celebrate and give thanksgiving for the special gifts of all who have been chosen, anointed, and faithfully devoted their lives and ministries among us, in Your Name. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God, our Savior
                                                Deliver us and forgive our sins
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  God of Infinite Abundance, Your divine love is the truest form of riches available in our lives, the healing balm for our sin-sick souls.  Amplify our desire and intent to serve only You, in every thought, word, and action. We ask through Jesus, our Divine Mediator, and the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Truth of our very being, who together with You are One God, forever and always.  Amen.







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