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, October 10, 2017

Prayers of the People: RSVP, 19th Sunday after Pentecost '17 Yr A

For Sunday, October 15, 2017, 19th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Readings: Exodus 32:1-14, Psalm 106: 1-6, 19-23; Philippians 4:1-9, 
Matthew 22:1-14
      But Moses implored the LORD his God...And the LORD changed his mind about the disaster that he had planned to bring on his people. [Exodus 32:11a, 14]

      Hallelujah! Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. [Psalm 106:1]

      ...stand firm in the Lord...The Lord is near. Do not worry...but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace that passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
[Philippians 4:1b, 6-7]

      The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited...but they would not come...they made light of it and went away...Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready but those invited were not worthy'...those slaves...gathered all whom they found...But when the king came in...he noticed a man...not wearing a wedding robe...the king said...'bind him...and throw him into the outer darkness...' For many are called but few are chosen. 
[Matthew 22:1-14] 

           Back in the desert, the Israelites are restless. Moses hasn't come back from God's mountain soon enough to suit them. Just like any group of unruly children left with a not-so-responsible babysitter, or petulant adults who can be as bad or worse, there is a lot of the familiar grumbling and complaining but it quickly escalates into a huge party centered around a golden calf built by Aaron (the unhelpful babysitter) with their melted gold jewelry. They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt [Psalm 106: 21]. God is, to put it mildly, not pleased. Moses is able to implore God to calm God's wrath and prevent a disaster. But humans are humans and there is no doubt in my mind that some of the grumbling continued even if there was no more overt defiance on their journey.
        Matthew tells a Jesus parable of a king's wedding banquet where the guests declined and even made light of the invitation. Even after a second invitation was issued, the invitees refused and killed the king's own messengers. The king destroyed them and their city as retaliation but was still determined to fill the banquet hall and people out on the streets were all invited. The perplexing part is that one guest wasn't dressed properly infuriating the king who had him bound and thrown where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus then tells us that many are called but few are chosen. I realize that trying to understand this allegory through the lens of my everyday life, I'm surely missing the point. Others who are more learned and wiser than me will likely have a clearer and more theological explanation but what comes to me hearkens back to the Exodus story. We can be chastened or even frightened into submission and obedience even if that "obedience" is half-hearted and insincere. But if I dress my heart and soul with the proper attire of prayer and supplication with thanksgiving as Paul tells us, the peace of God that passes all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. The more I pray and attend to an honorable, just, and pure mindset, the more of God's peace I will receive, through both the most difficult and the most delightful days of my short temporal existence.
         Upon self-reflection I re-discover too many golden calves in my life that call me away from the ultimate invitation, making light of the purpose for which I was created, dismissing the gift of being called and chosen. Avoiding the temptations of the something shiny syndrome is no easy task for this imperfect mortal but a quote I read somewhere sums it up for me: "When I hear people say, 'Life is hard', I ask, 'Compared to what?'" Time for me to RSVP ~ Dear God, I accept! Please send directions, again.


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O Good and Merciful Lord, we are all invited to Your heavenly banquet, yet along the way we are easily tempted to worship something shiny instead of You. Grant us strength to stand firm in Your always present love through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Let us remember that if we experience Your absence, it is we who have turned away from You.

                                                O God of Peace
RESPONSE:             Guard our hearts and minds in Christ

~ O Good and Merciful Lord, visit Your saving help upon us, to prevail upon our elected leaders to act with justice and mercy for the health and safety of all Your people and our planet, our country, and all the villages, towns, and cities in Your Creation. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God of Peace
                                                Guard our hearts and minds in Christ
                                               
~ O Good and Merciful Lord, shine Your light and whisper Your comfort into the shadows of those suffering through illness, emotional trials, and natural and human-made disasters. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                O God of Peace
                                                Guard our hearts and minds in Christ
           
~ O Good and Merciful Lord, joyfully receive those we love into the sunshine of Your grace upon grace, into the fullness of Christ, the very expression of Your love for us all. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God of Peace
                                                Guard our hearts and minds in Christ

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

                                                O God of Peace
                                                Guard our hearts and minds in Christ
           
~ O Good and Merciful Lord, refresh and excite those who are called to lead us in Your Church and inspire us to learn, grow, and live in and through Christ by thought, word, and action. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God of Peace
                                                Guard our hearts and minds in Christ
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds:  O God, Most High, Divine Architect of All Life, guide us to follow all that is true, honorable, and just, in excellence and purity, as You would have us do to be among Your chosen. We ask for Your continuing patience as we pledge ourselves again to Jesus, our Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Companion, who together with You, live and reign as One God, now and for eternity. Amen.





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