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, January 23, 2017

Prayers of the People: Difficult Simplicity 4th Sunday after Epiphany '17 Yr A

For Sunday, January 29, 2017, 4th Sunday of Epiphany, Year A, Readings: Micah 6:1-8, Psalm 15, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Matthew 5:1-12


        [God] has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? [Micah 6:8]

       Lord, who...may abide upon your holy hill? Whoever leads a blameless life...does what is right...speaks the truth from his heart...[with] no guile upon his tongue...does no evil to a friend ...does not heap contempt upon his neighbor...in his sight the wicked is rejected...honors those who fear the Lord...he has sworn to do no wrong...does not take back his word...does not give his money in hope of gain...does [not] take a bribe against the innocent... 
[Psalm 15]

      But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. [1 Corinthians 1:27-29]

      When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: "Blessed are..." [Matthew 5:1-12]

      The Sermon on the Mount, is recorded in Matthew as the first public act of Jesus and we will follow this first sermon for the next several weeks. This week we hear the Beatitudes in concert with the words of Micah, the Psalmist, and Paul speaking to the church in Corinth, all giving an outline and direction in the ways in which to follow God as God wills and, from the Gospel, to become fully Christian. 
     These Beatitudes, or state of blessedness, are qualities of life that describe what we are to actively work toward as we humbly submit ourselves to the will of God. These eight Beatitudes are not describing eight different groups of people, but rather the states of being that we each may manifest within our lives, the attributes of true discipleship. They name our blessings and the corresponding reward for faithfulness. Jesus lets us know we are blessed in the first part of his sermon so that we are uplifted. As his teachings continue, we know we will be enfolded and sustained by these blessings whenever life turns difficult as long as we are doing all we can to live into the spirit of these states of being.
      As I ponder all the readings for this week, I want to experience the message of God, the Psalmist, Paul, and Jesus and actively improve the areas in my life that need some remedial work in doing justice, letting go of contempt for others, recognizing my weaknesses, and being more constructive in peace-making, among all the other ideals listed.  
      The instructions we are given in these readings are quite simple at first glance. Do this, do that, and all will be well except that these directions seem to be more about being than doing, attitude more than activity but both are necessary. Salvation would be so easy to attain if only simplicity wasn't so difficult.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God on High, Source of All Life, refine and purify our hearts that we may recognize our blessings, choose to be and do with our lives as You require, and walk with You as the embodiment of justice, kindness, and humility.
                                               
                                                Lord of Hope and Joy
RESPONSE:             Strengthen our trust in You

~ O God on High, Source of All Life, attend to those who present themselves in the temples of government in our World, in our Country, and in our Community.  Fill their souls with Your wisdom, truth, and mercy, and divert them from paths of war, greed, and inhumanity. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Hope and Joy
                                                Strengthen our trust in You
                                               
~ O God on High, Source of All Life, we ask for Your healing for all who are seriously ill, anxious, or exhausted, and for those who tend to their needs. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Hope and Joy
                                                Strengthen our trust in You
           
~ O God on High, Source of All Life, turn us from grief as those we mourn are set now free in everlasting peace and a new life in the fullness of Your Salvation and Glory. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Hope and Joy
                                                Strengthen our trust in You

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

                                                Lord of Hope and Joy
                                                Strengthen our trust in You
           
~ O God on High, Source of All Life, grant continuous discernment, wisdom, and prophetic understanding to those who guide Your Church, and to us who worship within it. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Hope and Joy
                                                Strengthen our trust in You
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds:  Holy Lord of the highest Mountains and the lowest Valleys, draw us close to experience Your Presence in each moment, in our success and in our failing, as we strive to seek Your favor and follow Your will in all that we are and all that we do. We ask through the blessings of Christ Jesus, our Redeemer, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our Counselor, who together with You are our One God, now and through eternity.  Amen.





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