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 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 na├»ve 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.







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