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, July 9, 2018

Prayers of the People: King of the Dance ~ 8th Sunday after Pentecost '18 Yr B

For Sunday, July 15, 2018, 8th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, Readings: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Psalm 24, Ephesians 1:3-14, Mark 6:14-29

       David danced before the LORD with all his might...So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 
[2 Sam 6:14-15]

      The earth is the LORD's and all that is in it, the world and all who dwell within...who can stand in this holy place? Those who have clean hands and a pure heart...not pledged to falsehood nor...fraud...Who is this King of Glory? The LORD, strong and mighty... [Psalm 24:1, 3a-4, 8a]

     Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places..In him we have redemption, through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace...you...when you...had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the...Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory. [Ephesians 1:1-3, 7,13,14]

      When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it." [Mark 6:22]

         Bringing the Ark of the Covenant to his own city has King David leaping and dancing in the procession with sheer joy. Yet the ecstasy and glory of the happy journey expressed in this reading does leave out a puzzling piece that is between the verses we are given for today ~ the sudden demise of Uzzah, which sparks David’s anger with God and then leaves David afraid. The reading then pops in three months later. David dances again giving offerings to God and generous gifts of meat, bread, and cake to all the people of Israel who have re-gathered. It’s always interesting, for me, to read what is skipped over by the appointed lessons, as well as what is included that seems to interrupt the intent of the reading. For example, in the middle of what we are given today, is a curiously ominous sentence that takes place in the later celebration: …Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. [2 Sam 6:16] But if we look back at her story earlier in 1st and 2nd Samuel, we can begin to understand her heart, as God surely does.
         Later on in the story of Israel comes Herod Antipas, a son of King Herod the Great, now the local ruler in Galilee. The famous dance of his daughter left him and his guests so well pleased and entertained that Herod rashly and boastfully promised her anything, even half his kingdom. When she consulted charming mommy, daughter dearest asked Herod for John the Baptizer’s head. Herod, it seems, actually liked listening to John even if fearful of him. But more fearful was he of the appearance of weakness in front of his guests, and dancing back his own grief over the request, Herod relented and John soon arrived served up on a platter, having parted company with the remainder of his body.
        But Paul, in this letter to the church in Ephesus, while cooling his heels in a Roman prison, is singing a different tune. This reading is one long sentence in the original and may well have contained parts of a hymn that the locals would have known. Paul tells the Gentiles and Jews who believed in Jesus, that it is God's purpose for all to be united, as God's own people, living holy and blameless lives through the redemption of Christ. By the riches of grace, we are forgiven our trespasses and sealed by the Holy Spirit. As we set our life's purpose to live in obedience, giving praise to God, and with our hope in Christ, we will reap the reward of our inheritance, life eternal in God’s Kingdom. That’s where the real music and singing is, with our Triune King leading the dance. 

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O Lord, Strong and Mighty, release us from all hesitancy in expressing our faith openly and gladly. Fill us with the divine joy that, even in the midst of anguish and anger, allows our spirits to dance away the timidity, the fear, and the trust that holds us back from You.

                                                God, our King of Glory
RESPONSE:             Purify our Hearts for Christ

~ O Lord, Strong and Mighty, transform and endow all who hold power on this Earth, in our Nation, and throughout our Community, with character, honor, and integrity. Guide them away from falsehood or fraud and toward decisions and actions of mercy, justice, and peace for Your own people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                God, our King of Glory
                                                Purify our Hearts for Christ
                                               
~ O Lord, Strong and Mighty, pour your healing grace upon all those who wake each day with depression, addiction, or desperation, and revitalize all who provide assistance and care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                                God, our King of Glory
                                                Purify our Hearts for Christ
           
~ O Lord, Strong and Mighty, calm the tears of those who mourn, for the lights of those we have sent ahead now shine more brightly, as they dance in heavenly joy forever in You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                God, our King of Glory
                                                Purify our Hearts for Christ

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

                                                God, our King of Glory
                                                Purify our Hearts for Christ
           
~ O Lord, Strong and Mighty, we give thanks and praise for the work and dedication to Your Will by the deputations of the General Convention of our Church, as we give a hearty Welcome Home to the Deputation from our own Diocese. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                God, our King of Glory
                                                Purify our Hearts for Christ

The Celebrant adds:  God of Presence and Promise, from within Your mysterious Will, we receive the riches of grace granting us the forgiveness of our trespasses, the gift of every spiritual blessing, and the inheritance of redemption through Your Holy Son. Grant us each the willingness and courage to pledge ourselves to the praise and glory of Your name, through every word and action of our earthly lives. We ask through Jesus the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, and through the seal of the Holy Spirit, who together with You, reign as One God, now and forever. Amen.





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