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, June 20, 2017

Prayers of the People: Separation Anxiety, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost '17 Yr A

For Sunday, June 25, 2017, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Readings: Genesis 21:8-21, Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17; Romans 6:1b-11, 
Matthew 10:24-39

       But God said to Abraham, "Do not be distressed because of the boy and...your slave woman...do as [Sarah] tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring will be named for you. I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring...God called to Hagar..."Do not be afraid; lift up the boy...I will make a great nation of him"...God was with the boy... [Genesis 21:12-13, 17b-18, 20a]

       For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, and great is your love for all who call upon you...In the time of my trouble I will call upon you, for your will answer me. [Psalm 86: 5, 7]


       ...all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death...so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life...So you also much consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. [Romans 6:3b, 4b, 11]


       So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows..."Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven...I have not come to bring peace, but a sword...whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it."

[Matthew 10:31-32, 34b, 38-39]

            In last week's reading from Genesis, Sarah was laughing - she got caught, denied it, and was brought up short. But happiness was hers in her old age. This week we find a different Sarah, jealous and vengeful, separating the child from his father, Abraham, and willing to allow that child and his mother to die. God calmed Abraham and later Hagar, by telling her, "Do not be afraid." And we are told about this other son of Abraham, upon whom God also founded a nation, that God was with the boy.  
          Paul reminds us that in Baptism we die, to sin that is, and if all goes well with us, we are alive to God in Jesus. And then Jesus tells the disciples (us, too) not to have fear of those who disparage him. Yet although the words those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul are fearsome, Jesus reminds us that even sparrows sold cheaply are valued by God. He says do not be afraid because we are more valuable than many sparrows.  
          THEN, BOOM - where did THIS Jesus come from?! Not bringing peace but a sword, setting family against family, households against one another? Separating us from him if we love others more? We have arrived at Part 2 of Jesus' teaching on what discipleship actually means. Last week we were sheep in the midst of wolves and now we learn what can happen when confronting those wolves, when we pick up His cross and follow Him. He has my attention - he had me at I have not come to bring peace, but a sword... But then, how different is this from what we experience in life when we hold differing opinions with those we love? Political and even religious rhetoric can be fiery and fierce, families and friends stop speaking to one another. The world seems angrier than ever and us vs them boils over all too often into violence. The difference is that Jesus stops us in our tracks in this Gospel with his sword because it begs the questions to ourselves and each other: What really is our life all about? How easily - like sheep - do we bolt headlong into everything but what our Shepherd wants? He doesn't want us to stop loving each other, but we are to love Him more. The glint of the sword blade is a clear warning that being steadfast in faith, acknowledging Him above all else - family, friends, job, lifestyle, etc. - is fraught with far more than separation anxiety, it can be dangerous for a mere human. We are not the sword-carriers, we are bearers of the Word, the Good News. And some days will be easier than others. But this is not a part-time occupation, a Sunday thing, or a Christmas and Easter duty. This is what we sign up for when we call ourselves Followers of Christ. The pay-off is full-time, eternal life. No easy road but if we travel together, we can keep the wolves at bay. Remember that pray without ceasing thing? Start NOW and, oh yes: Do not be afraid.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O Lord, Good and Forgiving, You bid us choose the newness of life in Christ or the enslavement to sin that is death by the true way we live our lives. Keep us grounded, strong in our faith, willing to bear the cost in this life for the promise of Jesus in the next.

                                                O God, Great and Wondrous                                       
RESPONSE:               We lift our souls to Your Mercy

~ O Lord, Good and Forgiving, we beg You again for an end to the violence, quarreling, and jealous power plays that separate us here and across this Earth; and yet we know that such reconciliation must begin in our own lives. Give us the courage to be what we expect of political leaders in this world, across our country, and in our local cities and towns. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God, Great and Wondrous
                                                We lift our souls to Your Mercy

~ O Lord, Good and Forgiving, comfort and help all who are seriously ill, addicted, or homeless, and extra blessings for all who provide support. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                O God, Great and Wondrous
                                                We lift our souls to Your Mercy
           
~ O Lord, Good and Forgiving, we commend those we love to the freedom of eternal life, resurrected and alive in Jesus, never to die again. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                                                O God, Great and Wondrous
                                                We lift our souls to Your Mercy

~ O Lord, Good and Forgiving, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                O God, Great and Wondrous
                                                We lift our souls to Your Mercy
           
~ O Lord, Good and Forgiving, make straight the path of those anointed to guide us in Your Church, when we gather together in unity and hope. In our worship and praise to Your Name, and especially in our daily life, fortify us in our discipleship, as we seek to be worthy of Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God, Great and Wondrous
                                                We lift our souls to Your Mercy
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  O Lord, our God, rescue us from the desert of denial, open our eyes to the wellspring of the Spirit, awaken our hearts to live first for Christ, and companion us to walk unafraid in Your Light and Love. We ask in the name of Christ Jesus, our Sin-Bearer, and the Holy Spirit, our Fount of all Wisdom, who together with You are One God, now and forever. Amen.









All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Prayers of the People: Sheep Shifting, 2nd Sunday after Pentecost '17 Yr A

For Sunday, June 18, 2017, 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Readings: Genesis 18:1-15 (21:1-7); Psalm 116:1, 10-17; Romans 5:1-8, Matthew 9:35-10-8 (9-23)

      Now Sarah said, "God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me." [Genesis 21:6]

      How shall I repay the Lord for all the good things he has done for me? 
[Psalm 116:10]

      Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...and we boast in our hope...but we also boast in our sufferings...[that] produces endurance...and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit... [Romans 5:1-6]

      Jesus went about...proclaiming the good news...curing every disease...he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said..."The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest"..."See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves...But the one who endures to the end will be saved."  [Matthew 9:35-38; 10:16]

      Sheep are as good or better at flocking together as their feathery avian counterparts and just as skittish when disturbed. Unlike the birds of the air, sheep have limited directional options and will frequently scatter helter-skelter when frightened. The shepherd's job to calm them is all the more difficult and important as the shepherd must continually shift the flock to different pastures for feeding and safety. But it appears that sheep do come to trust their shepherd and to recognize and remember both animal and human faces and, along with a keen sense of smell, the comfort or danger they represent. The behavior of the flock is communal and spontaneous - impulsive and reactionary - to threats real and merely perceived. How like sheep we humans are, except that our sense of "smell" doesn't always tip us off to the many wolves in our midst.  
      When Jesus, as our Good Shepherd, sent the disciples - and us by extension - out like sheep into the midst of wolves with the admonishment to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves it wasn't with the understanding that all will be easy and comfortable. In fact, then as now, the assignment is quite frightening and dangerous. The key tools for our success at attaining a share in the glory of God are wisdom and innocence. Innocence, it must be said, is NOT about being naïve or dimwitted. It is about paying attention to surroundings, who or what is lurking in them, and keeping ourselves and each other from the clutches of sin. 
      The wolves of this world are many, but there are billions upon billions of sheep. The importance of our flocking together as a community of Christ was never more crucial as now.  Jesus was clear when he says later in Matthew: For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them [Mt 18:20]As the body of Christ, each endowed with specific gifts from the Holy Spirit, we are called to labor in the fields of the LORD to build up the Kingdom and ultimately to share in God's glory, through the sacrifice of Jesus. Our community is our safe haven, in Christ's presence, to learn from, comfort, and guide one another around the wolves of temptation and through life's difficult times. As we flock together we also reap the benefit of joyful times. God gave laughter to Sarah, and to us in many and various ways. While we may not always feel like whistling as we work, we can seek pause to enjoy our life together, gather others lost and alone in their fields, and continually shift ourselves and our fellow sheep, out of the dens of wolves, and back onto the path of hope that leads to the Heavenly Pasture of life everlasting. Hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given us.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ God of Hope and Harvest, arouse and provoke us in heart and in mind to labor in Your fields, sow to the Spirit, and reap the plentiful bounty to grow our Family of Faith.

                                                Compassionate Lord                                      
RESPONSE:               Quicken our trust in You

~ God of Hope and Harvest, keep us wise, fervent, and convincing in our quest to support justice and peace by speaking Your truth to misguided power, wherever found, in the halls of governments across this World, this Country, and our Community, on behalf of all the sheep in Your pasture. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Compassionate Lord
                                                Quicken our trust in You
                                               
~ God of Hope and Harvest, grant comfort and endurance to all who suffer from disease, difficult treatments, and desperate circumstance and renew the strength of their caregivers. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Compassionate Lord
                                                Quicken our trust in You
           
~ God of Hope and Harvest, in praise and thanksgiving, our hearts thrive in the joy of our loved ones who now live again, sharing in the eternal glory of Your heavenly courts. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Compassionate Lord
                                                Quicken our trust in You

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

                                                Compassionate Lord
                                                Quicken our trust in You
           
~ God of Hope and Harvest, inspire again, all who lead us on our journey to You, as faithful Witnesses of the love and presence of Christ, through their prayer and service in His name. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Compassionate Lord
                                                Quicken our trust in You
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds:  Holy God, Almighty and Everliving, safeguard our souls from the devouring wolves of temptation in this life, that we may be filled with the innocence and wonder of holy laughter, and spend our human time in thanksgiving and service for Your gift of Salvation. We ask through the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus, our Christ, and Your boundless love from the Holy Spirit, who together with You are One God, forever and ever.   Amen.







All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Prayers of the People: Knowing God or No-ing God? Trinity Sunday, '15 Yr B

for Sunday May 31, 2015, Trinity Sunday, Yr B, Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8, Ps 29, Romans 8:12-17, John 3:1-17   
 IMAGE Only, UPDATED 06/06/17 (Yr A)
       
How is a mystery explained? And if explained, it is no longer a mystery. The mystery of the Trinity is nothing if not confounding. One God/Three Persons - separate yet one, equal with different roles that are ultimately the same, belief in one is meant to be belief in all and the One that is the same but different. 
        Franciscan theologian Richard Rohr tells us that "...the Western Church overemphasized the individual "names" Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but not so much the quality of the relationships between them, which is where all the power and meaning lies!" And further, "The real and essential point is how the three "persons" relate to one another--infinite outpouring and infinite receiving..."
      Rohr tells us that "...Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist who was a major contributor to quantum physics and nuclear fission, said the universe is 'not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think...' The doctrine of the Trinity is saying the same thing: God is not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think...Perhaps much of the weakness of the first 2,000 years of reflection on most of our doctrines and dogmas is that we've tried to understand them with a logical or rational mind instead of through love, prayer, and participation itself..." Perhaps we are called, as one mystic suggested, to be almost a fourth person in the flow of God...[to read the piece in its entirety, click the link: Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation, The Trinity]
      If rational knowing all about God becomes the substance and goal of our faith, aren't we merely reducing God to our level and then dismissively no-ing to all that God is? How more engaging to know that mystery is always unfolding?
      One of my favorite ways to attempt understanding is through a piece of a 6th century creed from Dublin known as Tírechán’s Creed ~ when speaking of God it says:

He has a Son who is co-eternal with himself;
   and similar in all respects to himself;
   and neither is the Son younger than the Father,
   nor is the Father older than the Son;
   and the Holy Spirit breathes in them.
And the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are inseparable.

   Got it now?

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Holy, Holy, Holy - Lord, Savior, Sanctifier, as Jesus did with Nicodemus, undo our certainty and need to know all there is about You. Grant us openness of mind, sincerity of heart, and willingness to come to You as unknowing, to allow the wind of the Spirit, the redemption of Christ, and our birth from Above, to move through us in Your many and miraculous ways.

 Mighty God in Three Persons
RESPONSE:  We worship You in the beauty of holiness

~ Holy, Holy, Holy - Lord, Savior, Sanctifier, in a world filled with the smoke of confusion, let us answer “Here we are; send us” to speak Your voice with clean lips, to bear witness for truth and justice for all Your people, in the halls of government everywhere. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Mighty God in Three Persons
We worship You in the beauty of holiness

~ Holy, Holy, Holy - Lord, Savior, Sanctifier, help those bowed low by illness, addiction, or loneliness to know the embrace of Your strength, and give comfort to all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

Mighty God in Three Persons
We worship You in the beauty of holiness

~ Holy, Holy, Holy - Lord, Savior, Sanctifier, lift the hearts of those deep in the woe of grief and help us each to remember the Christ-promise of eternal life given to all who believe. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Mighty God in Three Persons
We worship You in the beauty of holiness

~ Holy, Holy, Holy - Lord, Savior, Sanctifier, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

Mighty God in Three Persons
We worship You in the beauty of holiness

~ Holy, Holy, Holy - Lord, Savior, Sanctifier, for our earthly Guides who help us find our way to faith in the things of heaven, we give great thanks. Lift them on their own journeys that, together, we will rise to Your eternal glory. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Mighty God in Three Persons
We worship You in the beauty of holiness


The Celebrant adds: Abba, Redeemer, Advocate, let us live each day as the heirs of Your eternal Kingdom in deep faith free from mere superficial belief. Help us to seek the constant newness of Christ revealed, and to experience the great love that brought about the salvation of this world. We ask through each and all of the Three Eternal Persons in the sacred mystery of the Holy Trinity, who are One God, and reigns forever and ever.  Amen.





Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Prayers of the People: Thinking Outside the Triangle, Trinity Sunday '17 Yr A

For Sunday, June 11, 2017, Trinity Sunday, Year A, Readings: Genesis 1:1-2:4a, Canticle 13, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, Matthew 28:16-20

        In the beginning...God created the heavens and the earth...God said, "Let there be light...called the dry land Earth and the waters seas...Let the Earth put forth vegetation...and living creatures of every kind...Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness" and God saw everything that he had made, and...it was very good. [Genesis 1:1]

        Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we will praise you and highly exalt you forever. [Canticle 13 from the Song of the 3 Young Men]

       The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. [2 Corinthians 13:13]

       Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them...And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." [Matthew 28:16-20]

         A mystery, if explained, is no longer a mystery. The mystery of the Trinity is nothing if not confounding and controversial. One God/Three Persons - separate yet one, equal with different roles that are ultimately the same, belief in one is meant to be belief in all and the One that is the same but different. Got that?
        Franciscan theologian Richard Rohr tells us that "...the Western Church overemphasized the individual "names" Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but not so much the quality of the relationships between them, which is where all the power and meaning lies!" And further, "The real and essential point is how the three "persons" relate to one another--infinite outpouring and infinite receiving..."
        Rohr tells us that "...Niels Bohr, [a Danish physicist who was a major contributor to quantum physics and nuclear fission] said the universe is 'not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think...' The doctrine of the Trinity is saying the same thing: God is not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think...Perhaps much of the weakness of the first 2,000 years of reflection on most of our doctrines and dogmas is that we've tried to understand them with a logical or rational mind instead of through love, prayer, and participation itself..." Perhaps we are called, as one mystic suggested, to be almost a fourth person in the flow of God...[to read the piece in its entirety, click the link: Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation, The Trinity]
        If rational knowing all that God is becomes the substance and goal of our faith, aren't we merely reducing God to our level and then dismissing all that God is? Otherwise, how does one claim to have faith[see John 20:24-29, Doubting Thomas] 
      One of my favorite ways to attempt a kind of explanation/understanding is through a piece of a 6th century creed from Dublin known as Tírechán’s Creed ~ when speaking of God it says:

He has a Son who is co-eternal with himself;
   and similar in all respects to himself;
   and neither is the Son younger than the Father,
   nor is the Father older than the Son;
   and the Holy Spirit breathes in them.
And the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are inseparable.

       If we think outside the Triangle that was developed to try to contain and explain, perhaps we can arrive at the beginning where all things are possible with God. So, now that the mystery of the Trinity is solved, any questions?

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Divine and Blessed Trinity, You have created the heavens, the earth, all means of life, and, in Your own Image, humanity. You have granted us the redemption of our sins, and set the fire of Pentecost within us. All that keeps us from a life wholly dedicated to you is ourselves.

                                                All Glory to our Triune God!                                         
RESPONSE:             Let us praise You and highly exalt You forever

~ Divine and Blessed Trinity, with our God-given intellects, the love of Christ, and the courage of the Spirit, we each have abilities to exhort the leaders of this World, this Nation, and this Community, to answer Your call to serve the best interests of ALL people, and this planet, with justice, mercy, and in peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                All Glory to our Triune God!
                                                Let us praise You and highly exalt You forever
                                               
~ Divine and Blessed Trinity, grant extra grace of hope and healing upon those who are ill in mind, body, or spirit, and continuing strength and perseverance to those who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                All Glory to our Triune God!
                                                Let us praise You and highly exalt You forever
           
~ Divine and Blessed Trinity, our heartfelt thanksgivings rise with those who have left this earthly experience, lifted into eternal joy and bliss, as reward for lives well lived in You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                All Glory to our Triune God!
                                                Let us praise You and highly exalt You forever

~ Divine and Blessed Trinity, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                All Glory to our Triune God!
                                                Let us praise You and highly exalt You forever
           
~ Divine and Blessed Trinity, bestow peace of heart, strength of mind, and courage of conviction for all You have called and blessed as guides for our souls in this life. Hold us fast as we journey together toward everlasting life in Your Holy of Holies. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                All Glory to our Triune God!
                                                Let us praise You and highly exalt You forever
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Eternal and Infinite Whole, One and All, we are each endowed with Your essence to guide us in all that we do, and think, and pray. Embolden our souls to limit mere temporal diversions and seek our ultimate fulfillment in humble service to Your call. We beseech You as our Most Holy Creator, our Messiah Christ, and our Sacred Spirit, Who together are One God, forever and ever.  Amen.




All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com