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, July 11, 2017

Prayers of the People: Groundings, 6th Sunday after Pentecost '17 Yr A

For Sunday, July 16, 2017, Readings: Gen 25: 19-34; Ps 119:105-112; Romans 8:1-11; Mt 13:1-9, 18-23


       The children struggled together within her...the Lord said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided..." [Genesis 25:22a, 23a]

         Your word is a lantern to my feet and a light upon my path. [Psalm 119:105]

           To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace...But you are not in the flesh; You are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  [Romans 8:6, 9]

         Let anyone with ears listen! ...for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word...yet such a person has no root...and immediately falls away...As for what was sown among thorns, this is one who hears the word but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word, understands it, who indeed bears fruit... [Matthew 13:9, 20a, 21a,b; 22, 23a]

           This week, among other things, we have twins who fight, parents who play favorites, and the Divine Master Gardener at work. 
      The story of Jacob, whose narrative will take nearly half of Genesis, begins. He and his twin, Esau, struggle together in the womb and far beyond and the telling of it has all the hallmarks of a compelling and contemporary family drama. Hero and anti-hero in one, Jacob's significant life begins with his name in Hebrew that basically means "heel", from his holding on to his brother's heel at birth. It also comes from the same Hebrew root that means "cheat" and so he is, quite often, a heel who cheats. The family dynamics are quite fascinating as we will see going forward but there is, I believe, an important continuing theme undergirding the narrative itself that repeats from Genesis to Jesus to Paul ~ the flawed and sometimes despicable humans that move the people of God are all chosen by God and gifted with the free will to obey or not. Many of those who play the larger roles find themselves in thorny patches on rocky roads diverted from their appointed mission by the lure of earthly distractions, intemperance, or a volatile nature. Yet they are brought to us in Scripture, remembered for their deeds and misdeeds, as human as we are, and, like us, with depths and shallows, tragedies and triumphs, ordinary and extraordinary depending on the day, the dilemma, and the choices made.
        We, too, are created and chosen by God with the seeds of the Spirit planted within us. It would seem that all we need to do is till, tend, water, feed, and weed for a bountiful harvest of God's love, Christ's salvation, and life eternal. But, of course, it's not always quite so simple. Farming is tough work, a 24/7 job on and in the ground. Great soil, good weather, and hard work should yield a good crop. But even excellent farmers have epic failures despite their best efforts. We, as all those who came before and all who come after, will encounter feasts and famines, droughts and floods, rocks, thorns, and pestilence, within the span of our lives; some of it through no fault of our own and some by our willing neglect and impetuous choices. But, the Spirit of God dwells within us and when we are shaken back to that consciousness, it is never too late to replenish the soil, enrich it with the nutrients of prayer and penitence, and nurture the deep roots that always remain. Whatever is on the surface of our temporal acreage at any given time, the Word of God will ground us if we will hear and understand.           
        A dandelion can flower in all manner of groundings, and a desert will erupt in blooms with the slightest moisture. Whenever the Word penetrates my awareness, I must try, try again to clear the rocks, cut back the thorns, and cultivate those deep roots that are the ground of my being; to be fruitful and multiply the good yields of my soul, to belong to Christ Jesus again and forever.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Holy God, Ground of our Being, Your Word is a lantern to our feet on the journey of this mortal life. Grant us eyes to see and ears to hear Your call to us, each and together, to seek the fertile path of the Spirit, to listen deeply, understand, and to willingly live and act upon Your Will.

                                                Lord Jesus, our Christ
RESPONSE:              Deepen our roots in You

~ Holy God, Ground of our Being, sow the seeds of grace and goodness in the hearts of the leaders of this world, our nation, and our community. Divert them from the way of thorns into the arable terrain of fairness, honor, and integrity. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord Jesus, our Christ
                                                Deepen our roots in You
                                               
~ Holy God, Ground of our Being, comfort and heal all who struggle with illness in body, mind, or heart, and ease the burden of those who care for them. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Lord Jesus, our Christ
                                                Deepen our roots in You
           
~ Holy God, Ground of our Being, we commend to Your hand, all who have left this world for Your Kingdom where there is no death, only life everlasting in the fullness of joy. We pray especially for: add your own petitions  

                                                Lord Jesus, our Christ
                                                Deepen our roots in You

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

                                                Lord Jesus, our Christ
                                                Deepen our roots in You
           
~ Holy God, Ground of our Being, plant a grower’s vitality within those chosen and anointed as the tillers of Your verdant fields. Guide them to model and inspire spiritual growth in each other, in ourselves, and in our community of Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord Jesus, our Christ
                                                Deepen our roots in You
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds:  Lord of Creation, our Divine Gardener, weed our hearts free of the lure of temporal pleasures that chokes away our spiritual birthright of salvation. Cultivate our willingness to tend and nurture Your Word and Presence within us for a fruitful yield; a soul-fulfilling harvest to last eternally. We ask this through Jesus, Sower of the Word, and the Holy Spirit, Wellspring of Wisdom, who live and thrive together with You as One God, now and forever.  Amen.





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