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, April 18, 2017

Prayers of the People: Seen and Unseen, 2nd Sunday of Easter, ' 17 Yr A

For Sunday, April 23, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year A, Readings: Acts 2:14a, 22-32; Psalm 16, 1 Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31

       For David says concerning him, "I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken, therefore my heart was glad...my heart will live in hope." [Acts 2:25-26]

       I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not fall. My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body also shall rest in hope. [Psalm 16:8-9]

      Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead... [1 Peter:3]

      [Jesus] said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."...Jesus said to [Thomas], "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." [John 20:22b-23, 29]

      The Apostle Thomas lives in an infamy of sorts, getting all the blame for his disbelief until his eyes beheld the Risen Lord and touched his wounds. Thousands of years later he has become a label - "a Doubting Thomas"- for those who don't believe something without concrete proof. And yet, he was far from alone in his skepticism. The other Gospel accounts all tell of the other disciples doubting. Luke 23:11 tells of the disciples dismissing the women's account as an idle tale and in Mark 16:11, when Mary Magdalene tells them she had seen the risen Jesus, they would not believe. My personal favorite - in defense of Thomas - is in Matthew 28:17 that says even when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. If you are or ever have been unsure or questioning of this preeminent event in the life of Christ, despite the Gospel accounts and the significance to the whole of Christian theology and practice, you are in good company! Yet the story of Thomas, and the other disciples' initial disbelief, humanizes these men and brings them into this current time, as did Peter's denial of Jesus, and even Judas' betrayal and subsequent angst and suicide. We know these people in our own lives, we are some of them when we struggle to accept and understand all that we are told in the New/Christian Testament and by those who have taught us from the pulpit or in our families. If we aren't questioning the tenets of our faith at various times, then, for me, it seems we don't really know what we believe or why. These Gospel moments allow us to be who we are and relate to the people who were with Jesus and still wondered what this movement was all about even as they moved forward with him and, very likely, even after him.
       Whatever I believe about the Resurrection and its significance to our Christian faith, in moments of wavering I think on the message of David that Peter quotes in the Acts reading and that is paired with the appointed Psalm for this day. It is the crux of the message of, Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah - I must keep the Lord before me, live in hope, and follow the path of life he has shown me, as well as I can, through all of this life's trials. The Presence of Christ is within us, and our faith however shaky at times, is the vehicle that keeps us upright and guides our thoughts and actions. Whether seen or unseen, the results of living in faith, as Christ teaches through the Greatest Commandments [Matthew 22:36-40], will be a gift to others and ourselves, in our mortal time and in the time to come, by receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. [1 Peter 1:9]. I’m reminded of a title of a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer, You’ll See It When You Believe It. For now, for always, Christ IS Risen! Alleluia!   

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord!  Let our hearts be glad and our spirits truly rejoice as we remember, and know again, the fullness of Your Resurrected Presence within us. Thomas saw and believed. Let us simply believe and we will see.

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God                                       
RESPONSE:             Our Strength and our Redeemer

~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord!  Grant us courage to refresh our faith in the eternal life ahead, while we strive in this temporal life to channel the policies of the leaders of this planet, this nation, and this community, toward providing a just, merciful, and equitable life for all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
                                               
~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord!  Soothe the hearts of those who are very ill, anxious, or afraid, and of all who give them care. Surround them each in Your healing embrace. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
           
~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord! May our wonder at the mystery and miracle of Your resurrection, enhance the joy of knowing, that those we have sent ahead, are now risen with You in everlasting glory and peace.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer

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

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
           
~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord!  Refresh the souls of all who guide us in Your Church, and renew their delight in preaching the Good News of our salvation and the message of Your pure love for us all. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Creator of All that is, Seen and Unseen, shelter us when we retreat into doubt, remind us to seek Your Path through this life, to set You always before us, and to forgive as we are forgiven, in the faith of our salvation to come. We ask this through Jesus, our Living and Eternal Hope, and the Holy Spirit, our Wellspring of Wisdom, who together with You, reign as One God, forever and beyond.  Amen.




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