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, October 25, 2016

Prayers of the People: Up a Tree, 24th Sunday after Pentecost Yr C

For Sunday, October 30, 2016, 24th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Isaiah 1:10-18, Psalm 32:1-8, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-14,11-12; Luke 19:1-10

...cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.  [Isaiah 1:16b-17]

You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble, you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. [Psalm 32:7]

We must always give thanks to God for you...because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. [2 Thessalonians 1:3b]

Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost." [Luke 19:9-10]

        I was very fortunate as a child to know two of my great-grandmothers. One of them lived with her "spinster" daughter in a small home that had a parlor with a Victorian settee, lace doily and all - I don't recall that I ever did more than peek into that room. Usually we were in the kitchen when we visited. But I remember clearly there was a framed print on the wall in the small and darkened formal dining room that said: Christ is the Head of this House, the unseen Guest at every meal, the Silent Listener to every conversation. And I remember being afraid of that room because of that plaque, it was very creepy to me as a child to think of the Unseen Guest Listening.  Many years later, when my spinster great-aunt passed away, I asked for and was given that print that I still have tucked away. It's fragile and crumbling and I hadn't thought of it in a long time until I began working with this set of readings. 
        My first thought always when I read the story of Zacchaeus is - what was Mrs. Zacchaeus thinking? Did she give him that look - you know the one, seriously, THIS guy for dinner, and he invited himself? I'm sure she already knew what the neighbors were thinking being less than the popular couple on the block because of her husband's job. Yet here is Jesus calling Zacchaeus out of the tree - to the chorus of nay-sayers and finger-pointers (glad I've never been one of them, well, sort of, mostly not, well, ok, maybe once in a rare while) and telling him Salvation has come to this house...the Son of Man came to seek out to save the lost. Did Zacchaeus think he was lost? How about the grumblers, did they think they were lost? It's much easier for me to point to the other as lost without knowing or accepting when I am lost. Yet in those most lost moments, I cry out to God in despair. I want some kind of magic fix-it, right now! But as I read the words of the Psalmist that God is a hiding place, I remember the Unseen Guest, not as a scary shadow, but a Companion in every moment of the highs, the lows, and the ordinary moments of life. If I remember, then I will be more able to be a better person, point fingers far less often, and work for the betterment of others before myself as Isaiah tells us. If I remember, I will have fewer of the kinds of conversations I wouldn't want Jesus to hear. If I remember, I might realize that I can work to grow my own faith through seeing Christ in others first, and to love even the unlovable (including myself). God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are within us all. We need only remember to reach out in prayer and through all we do in each moment of life. Jesus may be Unseen, but he's always there, even when we're up a tree.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ LORD of Hope and Promise, as You know us better than we know ourselves, guide us to seek and recognize You in others, to find You living deep within us, and to learn to rescue, defend, and plead with more fervor for others than for ourselves.

                                                Forgiving God
RESPONSE:             Preserve us from trouble

~ LORD of Hope and Promise, search again the hearts of us all, especially those who lead in governments globally and locally. Instruct us all in the ways of Christ’s peace, that together we may find the path where peace will grow and spread beyond all barriers and borders. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Forgiving God
                                                Preserve us from trouble

~ LORD of Hope and Promise, lay Your healing hand upon those weary of the pain, anguish, or fears of this life, and hold fast to those who offer caring help. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Forgiving God
                                                Preserve us from trouble
           
~ LORD of Hope and Promise, lighten the darkness for the grieving, as our loved ones return Home to the eternal splendor and glory of new life in Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Forgiving God
                                                Preserve us from trouble

~ LORD of Hope and Promise, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                Forgiving God
                                                Preserve us from trouble
           
~ LORD of Hope and Promise, bestow courage and confidence upon those anointed to call us to Your holy table, that our worship may be true, faithful, and pleasing to You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Forgiving God
                                                Preserve us from trouble

The Celebrant adds:  Lord of Creation, Salvation, and Wisdom, grow our faith abundantly and increase our ability to love one another as we are loved by You. Grant us the grace to embody Your Presence and to serve the world together in Your name. We ask through Jesus our Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Counselor, who together with You are One God, now and forever.  Amen.

        





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