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, March 20, 2017

Prayers of the People: Amazing Mud, 4th Sunday in Lent, '17 Yr A

For Sunday, March 26, 2017, 4th Sunday in Lent, Year A, Readings: 2 Samuel 16:1-13, Psalm 23, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41

        But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." [1 Samuel 16:7]

        Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. [Psalm 23:6]

        Once you were in darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light - for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. [Ephesians 5:8-14]

        "...As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When [Jesus] said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the [blind] man's eyes saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. [John 9:5-6]

       The mud that Jesus used on the blind man's eyes made me ponder once, if Jesus knew he could make the blind man see, why not snap his fingers or simply say "you can see now"? But then, symbolism - when recognized or at least intuited - is important even if not always understood completely. (Do you ever wonder if any of the Pharisees tried this mud idea later?). 
       Although Jesus explains that this man had not sinned, nonetheless his eyes were opened to sight after he washed clean - perhaps as in the waters of Baptism washing us clean of sin? The name Siloam, we are told means Sent, as Jesus was and is sent by God to open our eyes to see the light, to believe and follow the life God calls us to. None of us is perfect but we are forgiven - as is David who, as we know from his later story, was far from perfect (and so there is hope for me!).
       The choosing of David by God, in the passage from 1 Samuel, is merely the beginning of the compelling story of this man. The "blind man" is unnamed and his story is brief, but David begins his reign fresh from his pastures as a young shepherd and has a long and often muddled life. The Psalm appointed for this week is attributed by some traditions to David himself, but surely whoever authored it understood the divine symbolism inherent in shepherding.
       Paul speaks to the Ephesians, and ultimately to us, exhorting us to awaken from the sleep of the darkness, live as children of light, and try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Things are always easier to see in the light though not necessarily more clearly. The Pharisees used a different lens to "see" what Jesus was trying to tell them - they didn't seem to get the whole picture. God tells Samuel that the LORD does not see as mortals see...the LORD looks on the heart. 
       This is a good week to try to see what is in my heart, what blinders are on my eyes, and what darkness I invite into my life. I can use this Psalm as a personal prayer and plea as I speak the "my, and the I, and the me" for myself, and then I can take those personal pronouns and replace them with the name of someone else as a prayer for her or him or them. It might also be a good week to change up a familiar hymn a little. How about something along the lines of:
Amazing Grace Mud, how sweet the feel of Christ massaging my eyes. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
       
*I commend you to a wonderful little book titled, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller who, as a real contemporary shepherd, unpacks all that the psalm speaks of in relation to how a shepherd cares for sheep as God cares and (tries to) lead us.


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Eternal Shepherd, Merciful and Just, You chose David in his youth and us from the womb, knowing our full potential and looking on all we hold in our hearts. Lead us from the blindness of self-pride to the clarity of eyes opened to life in You.

                                                O God of Truth and Light
RESPONSE:             Deliver us from the blindness of sin

~ Eternal Shepherd, Merciful and Just, awaken the inner vision of those who lead us in this World, this Country, and this Community, so they will see themselves as You see them, and begin to shepherd their own flocks with compassion, integrity and principle. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God of Truth and Light
                                                Deliver us from the blindness of sin
                                               
~ Eternal Shepherd, Merciful and Just, comfort and revive the souls of all who suffer with physical or emotional trials, and impart Your calming spirit to those who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                O God of Truth and Light
                                                Deliver us from the blindness of sin
           
~ Eternal Shepherd, Merciful and Just, soothe the hearts of all who grieve as our departed loved ones now live again in the delight of endless green pastures, dwelling in Your House forever. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God of Truth and Light
                                                Deliver us from the blindness of sin

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

                                                O God of Truth and Light
                                                Deliver us from the blindness of sin
           
~ Eternal Shepherd, Merciful and Just, set Your Spirit upon all who are anointed to guide Your Church along right pathways, as we walk together seeking the fruit of the light. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God of Truth and Light
                                                Deliver us from the blindness of sin
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  O LORD our God, Your goodness and mercy overflows our cup of life when we choose the blessings You set before us. Release us from the darkness we make for ourselves to see the eternal table of love that You have prepared for us. We ask this through Jesus our Christ, True Light from True Light, and the Spirit of all that is Holy, who live and reign with You, one God, forever and ever. Amen.






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