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, August 15, 2017

Prayers of the People: The Heart of the Matter, 11th Sunday after Pentecost, '17 Yr A

For Sunday, August 20, 2017, 11th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Readings: Genesis 45:1-15, Psalm 133, Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; 
Matthew 15:(10-20), 21-28

       Joseph said to his brothers... "I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt...I will provide for you [in the land of Goshen]... and now your eyes...see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you...And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them... [Genesis 45:4, 11a, 12a, 15a]

       Oh how good and pleasant it is when brethren live together in unity. [Psalm 133:1] 

       I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!...For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. [Romans, 11:1a, 29]  

       Then [Jesus] said, "...But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart..." [Matthew 15:18a]
       But [the Canaanite woman] came and knelt before him,  saying, "Lord, help me." [Jesus] answered, "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." [Matthew 15:25-28]

      She is my hero. That Canaanite woman, that impure, foreign, woman, that non-Jew, that Gentile. I can imagine the scene - the disciples' rolling eyes and knowing looks of the she's one of them sort; their collective groans and oh please expulsions of breath in frustration, and finally asking Jesus to send her away as her shouts were annoying them. Can you see her, too? She's worrying about her child, seeking the help of the man she knows can work the miracle she and her child seek. Yet in her greatest moment of need, or perhaps because of it, she of the lowliest stature, risks all to get a response from Jesus who then dismisses her, in effect, telling her she's no better than a dog. She gives a highly unexpected response that is food for thought for any of us who have diminished anyone - especially those we think of as not one of us - by a thought, a look, a comment, or especially an action that seeks to elevate ourselves above another. Jesus answers the ubiquitous question, What Would Jesus Do? THIS, THIS is what Jesus did: he heard her speak her truth to his power, and he acclaimed her for her faith and healed her daughter.  
       And Joseph is also a hero to me. Sold into slavery to a foreign land by his own jealous brothers and then rising to an exalted position in the court of the pharaoh. Let me count the ways of revenge he might have used on them. But he didn't. He found himself in a position to help his family despite their actions against him. He forgave them. He gave them his love and protection. 
       God has created us one and all and gives us the free will to make what we can out of our human condition. Some days, some times of life, are clearly better than others for each of us yet we all are God's chosen children. Luckily for the human race, God didn't give me or any of us the job of deciding who is the right sort, who is acceptable, or who belongs with the dogs. 
       Paul tells us, the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. God, in Jesus, did give me the responsibility of giving voice to faith, to use the gifts well, and to answer the call from the good in my heart, even if some days all I have are the crumbs of hope. Yet it is faith, however fragile at times, that is the key that opens the door and reveals the heart of the matter.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Eternal God, Most High, by and in Your Creation, everyone is Your beloved. Free us from the rancor and hostilities of an us and them world, and fill us with the inner peace and the confidence of faith, to see others as ourselves and know they, too, are completely Yours, never, ever discarded by Your choice.

                                      Jesus, Son of God        
RESPONSE:   Grant us Your Peace

~ Eternal God, Most High, grant us the tenacity to sway the minds and hearts of the leaders of our Planet, our Nation, and our Community, to the ways of justice, integrity, and peace, that we may all live as You intend, kindred souls called to Your purpose. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                    Jesus, Son of God
                                    Grant us Your Peace
                                               
~ Eternal God, Most High, lighten the burden of all who are in the pit of despair, chronic pain, or serious illness, and preserve the health and patience of those who give care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                    Jesus, Son of God
                                    Grant us Your Peace
           
~ Eternal God, Most High, our thanksgivings allay the earthly pain of loss knowing that our loved ones live again, received with the ecstatic grace of everlasting life in You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                    Jesus, Son of God
                                    Grant us Your Peace

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

                                    Jesus, Son of God
                                    Grant us Your Peace
           
~ Eternal God, Most High, bestow an extra measure of blessing on our spiritual leaders for the innumerable ways they care for us and work to strengthen our faith in You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                    Jesus, Son of God
                                    Grant us Your Peace
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds:  LORD of All Blessing, LORD of All Life, open our ears to hear our hearts, open our hearts to hear Your Voice, and open our mouths to speak only Your love. We ask, in great faith, through Jesus, the Master of our Table, and the Holy Spirit, the Guide of our Souls, who together with You are One God, now and forever. Amen.

                                    Jesus, Son of God
                                    Grant us Your Peace



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. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

Monday, August 7, 2017

Prayers of the People: That Sinking Feeling, 10th Sunday after Pentecost '17 Yr A

For Sunday, August 13, 2017, 10th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Readings: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105:1-6, 16-42, 45b; 
Romans 10:5-15, Matthew 14:22-33

       Now Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was a child of his old age; and he had made him an ornamented tunic...his brothers...hated him. [Genesis 37: 3, 4b - Jewish Study Bible]

      Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name, make known his deeds among the peoples...let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. [Psalm 105: 1, 3b]

      For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. [Romans 10:12]

     But when the disciples saw [Jesus] walking on the sea, they were terrified...But...Jesus...said, "...it is I, do not be afraid." Peter [said]..."command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." [Peter] became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught [Peter], saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  [Matthew 14:26a, 28-, 30b, 31-32]

      Jacob made his son, Joseph, a "an ornamented tunic," or, "a richly embroidered robe," or, a "long robe with sleeves" depending on the translation you read. The differences in description are because the Hebrew itself is not clear. But the story is known far and wide, by believers and non-believers alike, as Joseph and his coat of many colors, the coat being a symbol of a father's great love for his son and the jealousy wrought by extreme sibling rivalry. God is with Joseph throughout his entire ordeal and despite his brothers' treachery, Joseph survived many hardships and was able to repay his brothers in surprising ways as we'll soon see. 
      The constancy of God is a continuing theme in the Jacob saga and throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, no matter the whims and wastes of those God loves. The Psalmist reminds us to call upon his name and to search for the Lord and his strength.
      Paul tells us that God in Jesus is Lord of all, of everyone, whether Jew or Greek or whatever the color of your coat - this was a shocking idea in those times, a notion that God doesn't dismiss or exclude those people who aren't one of us was quite radical - no wonder Paul ended up in prison! Imagine if we felt that way today - oh, wait, that happens as much today as ever. It leads to the kind of betrayal Joseph's brothers visited upon him, it encourages violence, irrational hatred, and divides neighborhoods and nations. Yet Paul is adamant that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved [Romans 10:13].  Furthermore, we are the ones who are to proclaim Christ to all.  
     Just as God is Lord of ALL, regardless of human categorization of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, status in life, etc., Jesus calls - requires - us all to be out of the boat to get our feet wet in the realities of life's unpredictable times, tides, and weather. Nothing easy about it - just ask Peter. But praying for the trust to believe in our hearts, to speak our faith out loud in words and actions and bring Christ to others, will help us find the strength we need to pull ourselves and each other up from that sinking feeling of fear and doubt. Jesus bids us Come, and together we will know and share the calmer seas of the Good News. 

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Infinite Merciful God, You are the Constant who will guide us through the calm and chaos in the seas of our earthly life if we but believe in our hearts, and call upon Your Holy Name. Amplify our faith, remove our doubts and fear. Grant us the willingness and determination to answer’s Christ simple call, “Come.”

                                                Jesus, our Lord
RESPONSE:             Our Strength and our Refuge

~ Infinite Merciful God, empower us to employ the Gospel message with the leaders of our World, our Country, and our Community, in seeking the great expansion of peace, health, and well-being for all of Your people everywhere. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, our Lord
                                                Our Strength and our Refuge   
                                               
~ Infinite Merciful God, soothe the hearts and minds of all who struggle with chronic illness, pain, or anxiety, and renew the stamina for those who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, our Lord
                                                Our Strength and our Refuge   
                                                           
~ Infinite Merciful God, we offer our prayers of thanksgiving and praise for the new life of our loved ones who have now reached the glorious and eternal shores of heaven. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Jesus, our Lord
                                                Our Strength and our Refuge   

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

                                                Jesus, our Lord
                                                Our Strength and our Refuge   
           
~ Infinite Merciful God, we ask Your special blessing for those among us who choose and are chosen to live their lives in service to You, bringing us Your Word and Wisdom. Grant them spiritual vitality and an even keel as they sail through all the waters ahead, known and unknown. We pray especially for: add your own petitions                                                          
                                                Jesus, our Lord
                                                Our Strength and our Refuge  


The Celebrant adds: Almighty and Everliving God, You created us all in Your image, in coats of many colors, and bid us always to turn to You in each hour of life. Let us eagerly answer Your call with courage and conviction, in tempest and tranquility, in this life and the next. We ask this through Jesus, our Teacher, and the Holy Spirit, our Shield, who together with You, live as our One God forever and ever. 





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. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Prayers of the People: Cloudy with a Chance of Reign, The Transfiguration '17 Yr A

For Sunday, August 6, 2017, Transfiguration, Year A, Readings: Exodus 34:29-35, Psalm 99:5-9, 2Peter 1:13-21, Luke 9:28-36

        [Moses] came down from Mount Sinai...with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand...Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God...When Moses had finished speaking with [Aaron and the Israelites] he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the Lord...he would take the veil off until he came out. [Exodus 34:29-30, 33]

      ...they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud.  [Psalm 99:6b, 7a]

      We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven...So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. [2 Peter 1: 18-19] 

      Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. [Luke 9:28-31]

            It was a miracle of God in which Jesus is not the one performing but the one receiving. Jesus took several disciples to the mountain to pray. We don't know if Jesus knew this moment was coming. His three companions were certainly blasted awake from the sleepiness that was about to overtake them as suddenly, at this moment, at the top of the mountain, in a near-blinding all-encompassing cloud, that Human and Divine meet, when Jesus is the immediate conduit between heaven and earth, when the temporal and eternal spark a dazzling display of transcendent, Majestic Glory all in the sight of the chosen disciples who then bear witness to the prophecy confirmed. 
          Moses and Elijah appear, representing the Law and the Prophets, converse with Jesus about his coming departure at Jerusalem, then they vanish. God speaks again, as at the Baptism of Jesus, to say that Jesus is God’s beloved Son and to tell the chosen disciples (and us!) to listen to him. Luke, in the original Greek, carefully chooses exodus as the word to describe the departure of Jesus. Through this new Exodus, the departure of Jesus in death and resurrection, a new order, that of the Messiah, is established, leading God's people out of the bondage of sin and into the true and eternal promised land of the Kingdom of Heaven.
         The Transfiguration is a critical piece in the significant events in the life of Jesus. The others are his Baptism, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. It is at this moment that Christ is confirmed by God as His Son, the Chosen, to those present. The mission of the disciples is then fully inaugurated in their own minds and they spend the rest of their lives in Christ's service and spreading the Gospel. It is this moment, in this spectacular cloud, that the Reign of Christ, our King, begins. It is this moment, now, that we must emerge as if from a cloud to listen, to learn, and to chance to live into the Reign of Jesus, by our thoughts, our words, and our actions. God knows we are marked as Christ's own forever. It's time again that we know, too.  


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ God of Majesty and Glory, upon Your Sacred Mountains you gave Moses the Law for our instruction and transfigured the Being of Your Son, Jesus, as the shining example for our lives. Rise in our hearts as the morning star as we seek to lift the Gospel veil to listen, and then to live according to Your Word.

                                                Beloved Jesus, Face of God                            
RESPONSE:             Transfigure us for Your Service

~ God of Majesty and Glory, transform the hearts, the souls, and the minds of the leaders of this world, this nation, and this community, so that their judgments are unclouded by personal ambition, and they legislate justice with wisdom, tempered with mercy for all.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Beloved Jesus, Face of God
                                                Transfigure us for Your Service
                                               
~ God of Majesty and Glory, comfort all who are ill, weary, or anxious, with Your Presence and grant unfailing strength of body and heart to all who care for the weakest of Your children. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Beloved Jesus, Face of God
                                                Transfigure us for Your Service
           
~ God of Majesty and Glory, we give You thanks for those we love who are now received into the holy whirlwind of Your divine radiance, to live again with You in the glory of Christ Jesus forever. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                                                Beloved Jesus, Face of God
                                                Transfigure us for Your Service

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

                                                Beloved Jesus, Face of God
                                                Transfigure us for Your Service
           
~ God of Majesty and Glory, endow with fortitude and vitality all who are chosen and anointed as the exemplars of Your Word and Will, our spiritual beacons on the sacred path. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Beloved Jesus, Face of God
                                                Transfigure us for Your Service
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds:  God of gods, Lord of lords, infuse us with greater strength and purpose to faithfully reaffirm our covenant with You. May our lives and souls be purified through the dazzling brilliance of the Transfigured Christ, and the mystical breath of the Holy Spirit, who together with You reign as One God, now and forever.  Amen.





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. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

Monday, July 24, 2017

Prayers of the People: Great Mustard, Bad Fish 8th Sunday after Pentecost '17 Yr A

For Sunday, July 30, 2017, 8th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Readings: Genesis 29:15-28, Psalm 105:1-11, 45b; Romans 8:26-39, 
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
       When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, 'What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?' [Gen 29:25 NIV]

       Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name; make known his deeds among the peoples...let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Search for the Lord and his strength... [Psalm 105: 3-4a NRSV]

       If God is for us, who is against us?...Who will separate us from the love of Christ?...neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, not things present, nor things to come...will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:31b, 38 NRSV]

        Jesus [said]: " The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed...like yeast...like treasure hidden in a field...[and] like [a pearl] of great value...[and] like a net that...caught every fish...when it was full, they...put the good into the baskets but threw out the bad. [Matthew 13:31, 33, 44, 45, 48-49 NIV]

      A continuing family drama this week: The deceiver is deceived. But to Jacob’s good credit (he often needs all he can get), he chose to work hard and faithfully to win the hand of lovely Rachel, and, even though it was a bait and switch scheme by Laban (did Jacob understand the irony of sibling substitution?), he also honored his commitment to work an additional seven years after two weddings in two weeks. In using imperfect people to show us to ourselves, we also see that we, like Jacob, are still counted among all those that God loves, regardless of our flaws.
       Jesus lets loose quite a barrage of parables to further explain the kingdom of God in everyday illustrations for that time and some in our own. There is something for everyone to do whether we are planting tiny mustard seeds to grow into large trees for nesting birds and human food, mixing yeast with flour to expand the dough of life, finding buried treasure in the field of an everyday experience, or discovering a pearl so perfect that we choose to sell all we own to buy it. And there are times when we must allow ourselves to be caught like fish in a net, and the goal of that moment – and every other – is to be sorted into the baskets with the good fish rather than thrown out with the bad.
        One message here is that there is no perfection in humanity but in choosing well, our smallest efforts can grow and yield a large return. We must remember that God is always present and search for the Lord and his strength, as the Psalmist tells us, and sometimes that requires some digging. Paul tells us that to be separated from the love of God through Jesus, even with all of our faults, is nearly impossible. After all, If God is for us, who can be against us? Only ourselves! And the choice to be separated would have to be our own.
       The Spirit of God, if we open ourselves in faith, is the yeast that expands our understanding, our relationship, and the willingness to seek God’s purpose in all that we do. The love of Christ is what blends us all, as Christ’s own, together, and God gathers the yield of all the harvest. Some days in God’s Creation are better than others yet God is the constant that draws us. All we have to do is decide: Which part of the harvest do we choose to be – great mustard or bad fish?

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God of Strength and Presence, we receive the smallest seeds, the yeast that gives rise, and the hidden treasures of everyday life, which are only a few of the markers of Your bountiful love. Guide us to seek and discover the many ordinary and miraculous ways that Your Creation fills our souls beyond measure when we open ourselves in faith.

                                                Spirit of God                                    
RESPONSE:             Help us in our weakness

~ O God of Strength and Presence, excite the willingness of the political leaders of our Planet, our Nation, and our Community to provide life’s basic necessities for Your neediest people, ethical and practical legislation for all those they govern, and globally beneficial partnerships across the Earth. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Spirit of God
                                                Help us in our weakness
                                               
~ O God of Strength and Presence, ease the burden of illness, injury, or despair for those who suffer, and bring relief to those who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Spirit of God
                                                Help us in our weakness
           
~ O God of Strength and Presence, we hold closely in our hearts all who have traveled to the end of their human experience, now shining in the radiance of Your glorious light, peacefully and joyously nesting in Your heavenly tree of eternal life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 
                                                Spirit of God
                                                Help us in our weakness

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

                                                Spirit of God
                                                Help us in our weakness
           
~ O God of Strength and Presence, bestow the gift of grace-filled respite for all who are called to lead us in Your church. Let us pray, worship, and work together for all that is good, according to Your purpose, and out of our love for You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                Spirit of God
                                                Help us in our weakness
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  O Lord, our God, as You are always for us, nothing can separate us from the enduring love of Christ but ourselves. Catch us in Your ample net and draw us out of the troubled waters of our own making, that we may find our way into the good basket of Your Kingdom of Heaven. We ask through Jesus, our Hope and our Savior, and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Counselor, who together with You are our One God, forever and ever. Amen.




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. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Prayers of the People: We have met the Enemy... 7th Sunday after Pentecost, '17 Yr A

For Sunday, July 23, 2017, 7th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Readings: Genesis 28:10-19a, Psalm 139:1-11, 22-23; Romans 8:12-25, 
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

      And the Lord stood beside him and said, "...Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go...for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place - and I did not know it!" ... He called that place Beth-El. 
[Genesis 28:13a, 15-16, 19a]

      Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You trace my journeys and my resting-places and are acquainted with all my ways...Look well whether there be any wickedness in me and lead me in the way that is everlasting. [Psalm 139:1-2, 23]

      
When we cry, "Abba! Father!" is is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then...heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ...But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." [Romans 8:15b-17a, 25]

            [Jesus] answered, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels...The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect...all causes of sin and all evildoers, and...throw them into the furnace...Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. [Matthew 13:37-42a, 43a]

        "Pogo" was a daily American newspaper comic strip by Walt Kelly that ran from 1948 to 1975. Set in the Okefenokee Swamp in the deep south, it used animal characters that portrayed human characteristics, and often mixed comedy with social and political satire. On the second Earth Day, in 1971, Pogo the possum is trudging through the swamp with his friend, Porkypine. In this two panel rendering, the characters bemoan the state of the swamp with the overwhelming amount of rubbish that has been dumped in it, and Pogo utters a now iconic phrase that captures us all too well: We have met the enemy, and he is us.
        We are often, in so many ways, our own worst enemies. Jacob is frequently a victim of his own schemes (learned at his mother's knee) as he, in this case, runs away from his angry twin, Esau, never to see his mother again. Even the sometimes daunting, sometimes comforting verses of Psalm 139, belie a part of our less than honorable human nature that appears in the verses we usually leave out of our liturgical readings - see verses 15-18 for those days when a harsh cathartic venting feels necessary! Paul speaks to our inward groaning and mortal struggles to avoid the deeds of the body as he exhorts us to hope for what we do not see as then we wait for it with patience.
         But it is this parable of Jesus, often known as the wheat and the tares [noxious weeds that resemble the wheat sprouts], that offers us a lesson in prudent personal agronomy. It takes an experienced farmer/gardener to know the difference between seedlings that grow into the desired plants and those that produce invasive, destructive weeds. The Master of this field wisely leaves well enough alone as at maturity, the reapers will have no difficulty in distinguishing the wheat from the weeds. While the Master of this story blames an enemy for the deliberate seeding of tares in his field, we can look to ourselves for the crop of noxious weeds we produce. Each time we point a finger in hate - however self-righteous and correct we believe we are - and each time we judge and belittle those we believe to be the enemy of our personal agenda, and every time we decide who is an undesirable useless plant growing where it isn't wanted, and especially, when we believe we know who God will - or should - burn, we sow another seed of soul-destroying rubbish in our own spiritual ground reducing it to an unholy swamp. The message is pretty clear - and always difficult - it's not our job to reap the harvest and separate the weeds from the wheat. We are called to be the good seeds - the children of the kingdom - to be fruitful and nourish the fields of the Lord. In growing strong in Christ together, we will crowd out temptation, resist and lessen the impact of the weeds in God's Creation. The true and fertile seeds of the Spirit are ready to sprout. When we meet the enemy again, let her/him not be us.
          

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Abba! God! You have traced our journeys from the womb and know well our hearts and thoughts. Keep us from the causes of sin to labor with patience in Your fields, as joint heirs with Christ to a fruitful harvest, in Your Kingdom of life everlasting.
                                               
RESPONSE:             Spirit of Hope
                                    Lead us together

~ Abba! God! Kindle the light of mercy within the hearts and souls of all who serve the governments of our world, our country, and our community. Grant them courage to clear the choking tendrils of injustice, greed, and war from the lives of all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Spirit of Hope
                                                Lead us together
                                               
~ Abba! God! Relieve the pain and despair from those who suffer with illness, injury, or addiction, and sustain the strength of those who give support. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Spirit of Hope
                                                Lead us together
           
~ Abba! God! We lift up and release those we love into Your joyous welcome, to shine like the sun in Your Eternal Kingdom. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Spirit of Hope
                                                Lead us together

~ Abba! God! We pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                Spirit of Hope
                                                Lead us together
           
~ Abba! God! We commend to You, with gratitude, those who have committed their lives to us in Your service. Bless, inspire, and uphold them as they work with us in Your Creation and guide us always toward You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Spirit of Hope
                                                Lead us together
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds: O God of Promise and Glory, sow in us a longing to take the wings of each morning to search and know our own hearts, clear the weeds of sin and doubt, and to prosper our spiritual ground as the Beth-El we each are called to be. We ask through Jesus, our Strength and our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom and Comfort, who together with You reign as One God, now and forever. Amen.



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