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 19, 2016

Prayers of the People: The Ticket for Your Destination, 19th Sunday after Pentecost, Yr C

For Sunday, 25, 2016, 19th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15; Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16; 1 Timothy 6:6-19, Luke 16:19-31 

       He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High...shall say to the Lord, "You are my refuge and my stronghold, my God in whom I put my trust." He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter. [Ps 91: 1a, 2-3a]

       But those who want to be rich, fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil...But as for you...[f]ight the good fight of the faith...As for those in the present age who are rich, command them...to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life. [1 Timothy 6:9-10a, 11a, 12a, 17a 18-19]

       But Abraham said, "Child remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony..." He said, "Then father, I beg you to send [Lazarus] to my father's house...that he may warn them, so that they will not come into this place of torment." Abraham replied, "They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them." [Luke 16:25, 27-29]

       This is one of those times when several phrases so common and familiar appear that foreheads are slapped and exclamations made, "OH, so THAT'S where that comes from!" 1 Timothy gives us: 

-for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it. 
-For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. 
-Fight the good fight... and for Handel's "Messiah" fans, 
-King of Kings and Lord of lords. 

       Then in Luke comes the more precise wording that leads us to the more remembered: 
...thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future...

       All of the readings for this week give us the itinerary we need to reach the final destination of our choosing. Even in Jeremiah, though not quoted above, we find plans for the future; hope for the long term. Although we don't get the full text of the Psalm this time, it nonetheless just repeats in my head as I hear it set to the music and lyrics of Michael Joncas' click to hear: On Eagles Wings, that takes me to a younger and comforting place.  But it is Timothy who gives us clear definitive steps to take us to the life that really is life. We are to pursue godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. And Jesus, in the parable in Luke's Gospel tells us that we have been given all the instruction we need for eternal life through Moses and the prophets - and for us as Christians, Jesus is the foremost Prophet as our Redeemer. All we need are eyes to see and ears to listen.
       And there are many subtleties amidst the clarity. Money itself is not evil - it is the love of money that is the issue. When do we realize that our needs fulfilled has turned to desire for more and more and more? Ironically when the "more" falsely seems so easily available to the many, more and more of humanity falls into desperate poverty, fueling rage, violence, and war. The western "lottery economy"* gives otherwise rational people a heightened and sometimes addictive and ruinous clamoring for the apparent lifestyles of reality-tv celebrity. One spin of the wheel, one more right number, one roll of the dice, one more square to scratch and you, too, will be rich beyond measure.    
       Nothing new here - see Timothy again: But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires... We, the people of God, never seem to have those eyes and ears aimed properly. We are often oblivious to the movement of our own desires, longings, and eagerness to have much more than we need. But Timothy shows us the way again as we, and especially the already rich, are gently admonished not to set our hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God...and the instruction is to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share. And therein lies the path to storing up our treasure in heaven. Life is busy, life is full, life is hard, life has its good days and its not so good but, all in all, whether you are feeling like Lazarus or the Rich Man, LIFE.IS.SHORT. Where are we headed? We select our own destination by the way we plan our trip. We already hold the ticket.

*A nod and thank you to A.K.A. Adam, Tutor in New Testament, Oxford University, Oxford, England for his term "lottery economy."


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY
Leader:  ~ O God Most High, You give life to all that is ~ seen and unseen. Deliver us from the snare of all worldly temptation, and guide us to fight the good fight of the faith in Christ Jesus.

                                                  Lord Almighty         
RESPONSE:           Let us put our trust in You

~ O God Most High, for all who hold political office or other authority over Your people on this earth, whether by fair election, heredity, or imposition, we ask Your blessing and inspiration. Infuse their hearts with the spirit of justice, mercy and peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord Almighty
                                                Let us put our trust in You
                                               
~ O God Most High, impart hope to the hopeless, love to the loveless, and lighten the burden of pain and anguish for all who suffer in any way. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Lord Almighty
                                                Let us put our trust in You
           
~ O God Most High, shelter and ease the hearts that grieve, as our loved ones, carried to Abraham by the angels, now live again in Your eternal comfort, salvation, and glory.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord Almighty
                                                Let us put our trust in You

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

                                                Lord Almighty
                                                Let us put our trust in You
           
~ O God Most High, may all those ordained as our prophets to exemplify Your purpose in this world, experience the grace of Your continual presence. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord Almighty
                                                Let us put our trust in You
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds: O God, our Refuge and our Stronghold, give us eyes to see and ears to hear all the ways You have shown us to seek wealth in this life by being rich in good works and generosity. Help us store up our treasure in the true and eternal life to which we are called. We ask through Jesus, our Sovereign King of Kings, and the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Breath in our souls, who together with You are One God, now and forever and ever.  Amen. 





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