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, March 28, 2017

Prayers of the People: Hope and Old Bones, 5th Sunday in Lent '17 Yr A

For Sunday, April 2, 2017, 5th Sunday in Lent, Year A, Readings: Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 130, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45

        The hand of the LORD came upon me...He said to me "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know." Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them: O dry bones hear the word of the Lord...I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you...and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD." [Ezekiel 37:1a, 3-5, 6b]

       Out of the depths have I called to  you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice...For there is forgiveness with you...I wait for the LORD; my soul waits for him; in his word is my hope. [Psalm 130: 1, 3a, 4]

        But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. [Romans 8:10-11]

        Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I m the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die." [John 11:24-26]

       Have you ever been in a true desert sand storm? I have not but I know those who have. They tell me it's blinding, abrading, choking, and all around frightening. The dunes shape-shift so swiftly as to bury and lay bare concurrently. When the particles settle, the air is so dry it's nearly electric. Flesh peels off limbs in sheets and, in the aridity of the desert, you cannot tell the old bones from the new.
       The bones of Ezekiel's valley were very dry and their hope was lost as they felt cut off completely. Martha and Mary, still alive in the Gospel, also felt cut off and lost at the death of their beloved brother, so painful a loss that Jesus also wept. Who among us cannot understand that while shedding an ocean of tears in the midst of immediate grief, there can be a sense of emptiness that feels as dry and as deep as the sands of the Sinai?
       There aren't many of us, I suppose, that expect Jesus to call our loved ones out of the grave and restore them to full life and health, certainly not in this life. Yet that is what the stuff of hope is made of. Paul reminds us that in this life, setting our minds on the flesh is death to eternal life. We are to set our minds on the Spirit which is life and peace. No, it isn't easy, especially in the times of life when we feel blown about as in a sandstorm. But no matter the age of our bones, hope is always the best antidote to despair and the best place to find hope is in a community of faith. We all believe and hope in different ways for different outcomes, but in a community, our bones can come alive as we wait upon the LORD to gather us.The Word is our hope, through Christ, the Resurrection and the Life.


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O GOD, Giver of Life, unbind us from the earthly desires that dry our souls through to our hearts and bones. Set our minds on the Spirit of life and peace, that we may seek, believe, and follow Christ Jesus, who is the Resurrection and the Life.

                                                 Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier                 
RESPONSE:              Your Word is our Hope

~ O GOD, Giver of Life, place Your hand on the hearts of those who lead this planet, this nation, and this community. Fill them with virtue, empathy, and honor for the benefit of all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier
Your Word is our Hope
                                               
~ O GOD, Giver of Life, bestow Your healing touch upon all in ill-health, emotional turmoil, or in despair. Grant them, and those who give them care, rest for today and hope for tomorrow.  We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier
Your Word is our Hope
           
~ O GOD, Giver of Life, let our tears be dried and our grief released, for as Jesus called Lazarus from his tomb, You call our loved ones to the joy of new and eternal life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier
Your Word is our Hope

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

Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier
Your Word is our Hope
           
~ O GOD, Giver of Life, animate the spirits of those sent to us to lead Your Church as they prophesy Your Word, and bring us together into the Light of Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier
Your Word is our Hope
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds: O Lord our GOD, breathe into our mortal bones and awaken us from the death of sin, as our waiting souls turn toward the radiance of Your mercy, forgiveness, and everlasting life. We ask through Jesus, Your Son, the Holy Spirit, our Guide, who together with You are One God, now and forever. Amen.






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