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, May 22, 2017

Prayers of the People: Lift Off, Ascension! 7th Sunday of Easter Yr A '17

For Sunday, May 28, 2017, 7th Sunday of Easter, Year A, Readings: Acts 1:6-14, Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36; 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11

       [Jesus] replied..."It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you...When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. [Acts 1:7-8a]

       But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; let them be merry and joyful...Blessed be God! [Psalm 68:3, 36b]

       Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith...God of all grace who has called you to eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. [1 Peter 4:7-9a, 10b, 11]

     Jesus looked up to heaven and said..."I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world...and they have received me and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf...And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world...Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one." [John 17:6a, 8b-9a, 11a]


      The Divinely Human Christ takes his leave of this plane as the apostles watch him be lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. As it says in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds: he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 
       The Feast of the Ascension is one of the five major markers in the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus. The others are his Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. The Ascension is also one of the essential elements of Christian creeds and one of the significant mysteries in the life of Christ. The bodily Ascension into heaven is also understood by some as the expression of Christ's two natures: divine and human. The mythology, the mystical, and the mysterious all combine to fuel the fires of discussion, disagreement, and theological divides across generations and denominations. Typically observed on the 6th Thursday, or 40 days, after Easter, it precedes Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter) and then next is Trinity Sunday.
        The Gospel of John's account of the Ascension, that the Revised Common Lectionary is using for this Sunday, contains a bit of Jesus' human side - he prays to God to protect us now that he is leaving this world - we who were given to him by God and who remain in this world; and he prays for unity in the Church. Samuel Cruz, Assistant Professor of Church and Society at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, has this to say: "A prayer from Jesus asking for protection via unity of the church, provides a great source of comfort to his followers...[it] is powerful because it emerges from his personal experiences as a man...[as when] a parent prays for his or her child, we know that the motivations behind that prayer are deep and primal. Likewise, the deeply loving petition in our favor requested by Jesus is greatly treasured." The Living Jesus does care greatly for his followers then and now. For our part, let us return this great comfort by devoting ourselves to prayer as the apostles did while waiting for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Let us follow Peter's instructions to cast all our anxiety on God because our adversary, the devil, even in the form of seemingly benign earthly temptation, could easily devour our good intentions, carrying us away from what we are called to do in this life. With some prayer, discipline, and faith, we, too, will be restored, supported, and strengthened by God for that day when we are raised and Lift Off to the highest heights of heaven to live eternally with the Ascended Jesus. Blessed be God! To God be the power forever and ever. AMEN!
        
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God of All Grace, Jesus, glorified You in his earthly life and prayed for our protection out of his humanity. Fortify our faith that we may be steadfast and resist the worldly temptations prowling around us, looking to devour our fragile promises to You.

                                                Christ, Ascended                                              
RESPONSE:               Restore, Support, and Strengthen us

~ O God of All Grace, bolster the character and principles of those in political leadership on this Earth, in this Nation, and in our community, and steady them on the course of justice, mercy, and peace for all the people of Your Creation.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us
                                               
~ O God of All Grace, rest Your healing spirit upon all who are coping with chronic or life-threatening illness, and give rest to all who give them love and care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us
           
~ O God of All Grace, gladden our hearts knowing that those we love who have left our lives, are now risen with all the Saints and the Ascended, Living Jesus. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us

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

                                                Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us
           
~ O God of All Grace, empower the leaders of Your Church with spiritual wisdom and with souls yearning for You. Grant them hearts open to the challenges of being Christ’s emissary to guide us to do Your work in this world. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Holy God of Power and Glory, as we cast our anxiety upon You, re-kindle our desire to reflect upon and rejoice in Your presence, and renew our willingness to be disciplined, in the pursuit of the eternal glory in Christ, in the life You have given us to live.  We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Ascended Redeemer; and the Holy Spirit, our Sacred Sanctifier; who live and reign with You, One God, forever and ever.  Amen.




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