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, January 15, 2018

Prayers of the People: Fish Tales, 3rd Sunday after Epiphany '18 Yr B

For Sunday, January 21, 2018, 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, Year B, Readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:6-14, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, 
Mark 1:14-20

     So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord...And he cried out, "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. 
[Jonah 3:3a, 4b-5]  

    For God...alone is my rock and my salvation...my safety and my honor...and my refuge. [Psalm 62:7a, 8b]

    I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short...for the present form of this world is passing away. [1 Corinthians 7:29a, 31b]

   As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea...And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. [Mark 1:16-17]

     I love the Book of Jonah! In an early part, he tries to hide from God, running off to a ship in the opposite direction of where God is ordering him to go. Then, thrown overboard by the crew, he gets caught in a whale of an experience! (I just had to go there) After praying to God and being granted his release from the fish, he finally, if grudgingly, goes where he is told to go and tells the people what God wants them to hear. He is so convincing that the people hear, believe, and repent. Later in this story, Jonah - who never wanted to be a prophet -  is actually angry because God changes direction and decides not to destroy the city after the people overthrew their own evil ways because of Jonah's prophecy.  Such a human response: wait, what, you're NOT going to kill them? But I said what you told me to say...  The book leaves us as it finds us with Jonah still unhappy.      
          Paul, who thought that the Second Coming of Jesus was imminent, grimly but accurately reminds even us now that our time in this life is short and we need to pay attention to how we are living.      
         And then there is Jesus who calls the next group of disciples - Simon, Andrew, James, and John - to leave their current lives NOW and follow Him. Can you even imagine walking away from your life as you know it, from family, and responsibilities, and all that you have worked for because someone like Jonah, Paul, or Jesus says you must? What level of trust does that require? I cannot quite grasp it, and yet, there is this nagging from the still small voice inside that I can do better, I can answer the call, I can live a life that calls others to see, respond, and join me in the net cast by God. It does sound a little fishy to an un-faith-filled ear, but then, is there a better way to be caught? Tick-tock...

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God, our Rock and our Salvation, You call us through Prophets and Teachers, through the Gospels of Jesus, and from within our very souls through the Voice of the Holy Spirit. Open our ears and hearts to recognize that our appointed time has grown short. Let us, in the fleeting breath of our human existence, hear again, trust, repent, and leave our nets to follow You.  

                                                     Lord Almighty                            
RESPONSE:                  Help us hear, believe, and heed Your call

~ O God our Rock and our Salvation, grant us the courage to walk the true path of discipleship and bring to account for restitution, the leaders of this World, this Country, and this Community, for the words and actions that diminish the lives of all Your people instead of enhancing them. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Lord Almighty
                                                       Help us hear, believe, and heed Your call
                                                      
~ O God our Rock and our Salvation, impart and sustain hope for all laid low by illness, homelessness, or despair, and encourage all who provide support. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                                       Lord Almighty
                                                       Help us hear, believe, and heed Your call
             
~ O God our Rock and our Salvation, lighten the hearts of those who grieve as You receive our faithful departed with open arms in everlasting love and light. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                       Lord Almighty
                                                       Help us hear, believe, and heed Your call

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

                                                       Lord Almighty
                                                       Help us hear, believe, and heed Your call
             
~ O God our Rock and our Salvation, we ask Your favor upon all You have chosen to lead us in Your Church. Fill them with the words and actions that will cause us to re-think, re-work, and re-direct our lives toward You. pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Lord Almighty
                                                       Help us hear, believe, and heed Your call
             

The Celebrant adds:  O God, our Safety and our Honor, urge our complacent wills to become the faith-filled and trustworthy lure, that calls others to follow with us, as the fishers of people Jesus asks us to be. Reconcile us to Your heart and steadfast love through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who together with You, live and reign in the bliss of eternal life, now and forever.  Amen.




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