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, August 2, 2016

Prayers of the People: The Race is ON! Run, Walk, Ride... 13th Sunday after Pentecost Yr C

For Sunday, August 14, 2016, 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Isaiah 5:1-7, Ps 80:1-2, 8-18; Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56

        Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven; behold and tend this vine; preserve what your right hand has planted...Restore us, O Lord God of hosts,; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved. [Ps 80:14, 18]

          Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith... [Hebrews 12:1-2a]

           Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three...You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? [Luke 12:51-52, 56]

        Have you been to a large family dinner or gathering recently? Think Christmas, Easter, a baptism or funeral reception, or a backyard barbecue in a highly-charged election year. Division? Oh yeah, there's lots of that! Of course, depending on the moment, we can manage to be smiling and civil, even loving, but sometimes there's a slow burn, a little seething, a bitten lip when [fill-in-the-blank] says, does, or merely shows up. It's so easy to point fingers and talk behind hands and let the anger and rage build to boiling over because we have the right truth on our side and he, she or they, of course, do not.  And yet, each of us is called to discover ourselves - what beliefs and values are authentically my own based on my experience, observation, even research; and, what I have blindly accepted as truth based on what I've been told by those I trust and admire without question, especially when it is an opinion or line of thought that I want to hear and believe.
       Jesus tells us that when the clouds gather and the sky darkens we expect rain, and when the temperature and wind increases we easily predict a heat wave, yet we cannot seem to interpret the present time. I don't always want to look at the human-made tragedy and despair in the world and here at home. Rather than think about the uncomfortable, I much prefer the illusion that I'm in control of my life and that there is plenty of time left in it to lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely.  Clearly the time is NOW to re-discover, re-interpret, and live through my faith, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of all that I believe. Life is a race to the finish, and finish it will at a time unknown and unexpected. So rather than a "rat race," let me run with perseverance the race that is set before us, the life God has given me to live, in faithfulness, surrounded and supported by the Communion of Saints and Christ at work in the world.  Let me Run, Walk, or Ride as the living embodiment of the Gospel of Christ. This Race is ON!
        
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Holy God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, preserve what Your right hand has planted, and encourage us, despite our earthly divisions, grievances, and disunity, to know Your Presence at work among us all. Help us to persevere in the way of Christ set before us.

                                                  Restore us, Lord God
RESPONSE:               Make us instruments of Peace

~ Holy God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, with the courage and wisdom of the celestial Cloud of Witnesses around us, let our voices and presence speak and be heard by the leaders of our Earth, our Country, and our Community, to lay aside the sins that cling so closely to destructive and unholy words and actions. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Restore us, Lord God
                                    Make us instruments of Peace
                                               
~ Holy God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, sustain the endurance and will to overcome for all who suffer physically, emotionally, or spiritually, and fortify all who offer supportive care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions 

                                                Restore us, Lord God
                                    Make us instruments of Peace
           
~ Holy God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, accompany the mournful through the trial of loss, as the choirs of Heaven raise great jubilant hymns for those we love now arrived in the majesty and splendor of Your Kingdom.   We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Restore us, Lord God
                                    Make us instruments of Peace

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

                                                Restore us, Lord God
                                    Make us instruments of Peace
           
~ Holy God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, grant us fortitude, prudence, and persistence to go the distance, sifting through the noise and distortions of forces competing for the banner of Truth. Help us discover authenticity in those we choose to guide us to interpret Your Word and understand the responsibility for living the Gospel of Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Restore us, Lord God
                                    Make us instruments of Peace
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds: O God Omnipotent, may the fires of discord, violence, and hate that rage across this planet be as cleansing as the waters of Baptism, to reveal the glory of Salvation beneath the dross of human excess, and the eternal beauty of the Gospel message. We ask through Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of Faith, and the Holy Spirit, the Fire of Wisdom, who together with You are One God, in the blaze of Mercy, Justice, and Everlasting Peace, forever and ever. Amen.









Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Prayers of the People: The Unexpected Hour, 12th Sunday after Pentecost Yr C

For Sunday, August 7, 2016, 12th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20; Ps 50: 1-8, 23-24; Hebs 11:1-3, 8-16; Lk 12:32-40

...seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. [Isaiah 1:17]

...for I am God, your God...Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me; but to those who keep in my way will I show the salvation of God. [Ps 50:7b, 24]

      Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen...For he looked forward to the city that has foundations; whose architect and builder is God...they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. [Hebrews 11: 1,10, 16a]

       Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven...For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also...Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit...You must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. [Luke 12: 33b-35, 40]

       Again this week we are reminded that earthly life is very short, yet there is much to do to be ready for the return of the Son of Man. While it seems on the one hand that we are always being called to give up every thing, on the other, this is more about arranging our lives around what is truly important, placing less emphasis on the material and much more on the spiritual, the unfailing treasure in heaven. There is no difficulty in understanding and recognizing the truth of the statement that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Paul reminds us of the strength of the faith of Abraham ~ even when he didn't live long enough to receive all that was promised, or, perhaps it was his soul that was gifted and served by God through his faithfulness. 
       This faith work seems especially hard in these days and times with so many delicious and even frustrating distractions that keep us from centering ourselves on our soul's vocation: Full-Time Faithful Followers of Christ. 
       One key is simplicity in reducing the accumulation of unnecessary things, activities, and diversions. Another is to begin and end each day in prayer and find moments throughout the day to offer thanks in between asking for help. Another is genuine, unplugged (electronically and otherwise ) Sabbath time. Let us keep ourselves in God's way. Yes, yes, I know, I'm working on it, I'll get to it as soon as I finish writing this, cleaning that, paying the bills, checking on-line bargains, texting and driving (which may actually bring one quickly to that unexpected hour and encounter with Jesus or cause it for another)... Part-time Christianity isn't what God has in mind. Our Heavenly Broker is all about Vocation Vocation Vocation - using our life's work as preparation for the unexpected hour when we will be called to the City of God. Be dressed for action. Don't let the time to be ready slip by unnoticed.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God, our God, let us continually honor You with our thanksgivings and always keep in Your Way to be worthy of Your eternal Salvation. Guide us to seek our heart's unfailing treasure in You.

                                                O Lord Most High
RESPONSE:             Guide us home to Your Heavenly Country

~ O God, our God, fill us with conviction in faith to stand among all who lead in this world, this nation, and our community, and seek the assurance of things hoped for our neighbors and ourselves - justice, the rescue of the oppressed, and the defense of those made helpless through war, poverty, and greed. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O Lord Most High
                                                Guide us to Your Heavenly Country
                                               
~ O God, our God, gather into Your Heart those most vulnerable in sickness and despair, and bring them comfort in the form of loving helpers. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions 

                                                O Lord Most High
                                                Guide us to Your Heavenly Country
                                                           
~ O God, our God, we are blessed in our sorrow by the joyful reunion of those alive again in our glorious Homeland with You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O Lord Most High
                                                Guide us to Your Heavenly Country

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

                                                O Lord Most High
                                                Guide us to Your Heavenly Country
           
~ O God, our God, delight again the souls of those You have called to gather Your flock, that together we may radiate the impending bliss of divine and unfailing treasure. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O Lord Most High
                                                Guide us to Your Heavenly Country
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Almighty Creator, you are Architect and Builder of all that is, seen and unseen. Keep us ever mindful of our short sojourn on this temporal planet, and urge us to be prepared for the unexpected hour when the Son of Man returns. We ask in the name of Christ Jesus, the Living Word, and the Holy Spirit, the Revealer of Truth, who together with You are one God, infinitely, eternally, forever.  Amen.




Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Prayers of the People: The Stuff That's Left, 11th Sunday after Pentecost Yr C

For Sunday, July 31, 2016, 11th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Hosea: 11:1-11, Ps 107:1-9, 43; Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21

       I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love.  [Hosea 11:4a]

       Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, and his mercy endures forever...He put their feet on a straight path...For he satisfies the the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Whoever is wise will ponder these things and consider well the mercies of the LORD.  [Psalm 107: 1, 7, 9, 43]

      Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God...Christ is all and in all!  [Colossians 3:1-11]

       But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God. [ Luke 12:20-21]

       As the saying goes, "You can't take it with you" though heaven, and those left behind, know how hard we try. What we do take with us, is the baggage of sin, error, and, mostly, foolish neglect of God. As we build our un-noble barns to store up earthly materials, we are unaware of the ticking clock and unknowing what hour the chime will toll for us. Be sure to take a look around the world and in our own country and see what treasures others cling to and are desperate for - clean water, food, mosquito nets, basic shelter, health care. Google the after effects of hurricanes such as the infamous Katrina or the Asian tsunamis, tornadoes, catastrophic floods, and wild fires and see the loss of possessions measured against the loss of life.
      Check out a local estate sale and see a lifetime of collections, clothing, furniture, and just plain stuff that's left, offered for sale ~ at a bargain ~ to be collected by others and then ultimately left again for sale or other disposal. The U-Haul won't accompany the hearse. (If you've never heard, or it's been awhile, look up George Carlin's comedy piece on "Stuff" on YouTube - get the censored version if the language might offend, but it is a classic riff on shallow values.)
      How are you prepared this very night? And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?  It's less about downsizing than upsizing - start storing up spiritual treasures with God. Be filled with human kindness and bands of love; life is short and no amount of stuff will make it last longer. Whoever is wise will ponder these things...Set your minds on things that are above... 
      
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ LORD of Enduring Mercy, release us from the human desire for all things unnecessary to a full life in the Spirit. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts and lead us on the straight pathway to You.

                                                 God of Eternal Life
RESPONSE:               Set our minds on Christ

~ LORD of Enduring Mercy, awaken the souls of all who govern by merit or by force in the nations of this world and in our local communities. Grant them the wisdom to ponder well that no amount of wealth or power determines the length of one’s earthly span. Their good and sincere service to benefit all Your children in this life will also benefit themselves in the next. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                God of Eternal Life
                                                Set our minds on Christ                                                                                           
~ LORD of Enduring Mercy, free all whose spirits languish in the face of physical or emotional pain, hunger, or fear, and refresh the energy of those who try to help. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                God of Eternal Life
                                                Set our minds on Christ
           
~ LORD of Enduring Mercy, liberate the hearts that grieve with the joy that all whom we have loved now rise to live again, in the newness and glory of Christ our Lord. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                God of Eternal Life
                                                Set our minds on Christ                                                                                           
~ LORD of Enduring Mercy, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

                                                God of Eternal Life
                                                Set our minds on Christ
           
~ LORD of Enduring Mercy, for all You have called to lead us in Your church with cords of human kindness and bands of love, we give You thanks. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                God of Eternal Life
                                                Set our minds on Christ


The Celebrant adds:  Compassionate Lord, as the longest life on this Earth is but a moment in Your time, keep us from foolishness that we may present ourselves to You, in our designated time, ready and worthy to ascend to heaven’s highest height. We ask through Jesus, our constant Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, our eternal Advocate, who together with You are One God, now, always, and forever.  Amen.




Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Prayers of the People: A.S.K., repeat, A.S.K., repeat... 10th Sunday after Pentecost Yr C

For Sunday, July 24, 2016, 10th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Hosea 1:2-10, Psalm 85, Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19), Luke 11:1-13


       ...and in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God."
[Hosea 1:10b]

        Mercy and truth have met together...righteousness shall go before him, and peace shall be a pathway for his feet. [Ps 85:10a, 13]

        See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition...and not according to Christ. [ Colossians 2:8]

        I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened....how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" [Luke 11:9-10, 13b]

     I don't like to ask for things, for favors, or even help, sometimes to my own detriment. I am getting better mostly because there have been moments where I had no choice, but it goes against the in-bred grain of self-sufficiency. I am fortunate to have family and friends nearby who remind me often that they are as available to me as I am to them, in all times, good and bad, and especially in times of need. Yet, more often than not, I cave to my self-imposed notion of "bothering" them. 
    The parable Jesus tells us in this week's reading makes many of us in western culture a bit squirmy and, perhaps silently, critical of the friend who would knock at midnight and be told to go away only to continue until the door is opened and the request fulfilled. RUDE! is what we would say (or worse). But the code of hospitality and community is so strong in other cultures that despite the inconvenience, one asks and the other aids. Jesus explains and reinforces the expectation of God that we are to continually Ask of, Search for, and Knock on God's eternal door to be given, to find, and to have opened. The idea is simple, who of us would even think of feeding a snake or a scorpion to children who ask for fish and eggs, therefore, how much greater will we receive from the Holy Spirit if we but merely ask. It sounds a lot harder than it is, but less difficult if we do it together. Persistence is the key and Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us, "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed but that our power to do is increased." A.S.K, repeat...

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O LORD of Righteousness and Peace, restore our hearts to the certainty of Your mercy and truth, and protect us from captivity in false teaching and empty deceit.  

                                                  Holy and Living God
RESPONSE:           Deliver us from evil; renew us in hope

~ O LORD of Righteousness and Peace, transform and enlighten the leaders of this Earth, our nation, and our community. Allay our fears and grief for the tragedies in this world, and keep us rooted in the Gospel of Jesus. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy and Living God
Deliver us from evil; renew us through hope
                                               
~ O LORD of Righteousness and Peace, soften the pain and anguish of all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit, and grant patience to all who give care and support. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

Holy and Living God
Deliver us from evil; renew us through hope
           
~ O LORD of Righteousness and Peace, calm the sorrow and tears of those who mourn as You grant to all of our faithful departed the glory of everlasting life in You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy and Living God
Deliver us from evil; renew us through hope
                       
~ O LORD of Righteousness and Peace, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

Holy and Living God
Deliver us from evil; renew us through hope
           
~ O LORD of Righteousness and Peace, may those ordained and anointed to pastor us in wellness and in ill health, in joy and in sorrow, in preaching and in teaching, be further enriched in wisdom and in grace to Your glory and the salvation of us all. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy and Living God
Deliver us from evil; renew us through hope
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Gracious God, endow us with the persistence to ask often for Your Presence in our lives, search for help to forgive others as we are forgiven, and knock constantly on the door to Eternal Life. Turn us from the human pathways of trespass and trial into the fullness of Christ our Savior. We ask through Jesus, the Bread of Life, and the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier, who together with You are One God, now and forever. Amen.    






Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Prayers of the People: Busy is as Busy Doesn't, 9th Sunday after Pentecost Yr C

For Sunday, July 17, 2016, 9th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Amos 8:1-12, Ps 52, Col 1:15-28, Luke 10:38-42

       This is what the Lord GOD showed me ~ a basket of summer fruit...Then the LORD said to me, "The end has come upon my people, Israel..." [Amos 8:1, 2b]

        But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. I will give you thanks for what you have done and declare the goodness of your name in the presence of the godly.  [Psalm 52: 8-9]

        And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death...provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith... [Colossians 1:21-22, 23a]

        But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her. [Luke 10:41-42]

        We're all so very busy despite all sorts and conditions of modern technology  in our western culture that is supposed to encourage and allow more leisure time. Yet even our vacations are busy before, during, and after, to the point of exhaustion; and, in everyday life there is always so much more to be done. At home, at work, at Church - organize, plan, prepare, meet, discuss, re-organize, re-plan. Think: Christmas and Easter - oh the lists, the shopping, the food, the interminable interruptions of the other parts of life such as weddings, births, sickness, and those always inconvenient deaths. And if you have children or teens at home, there are a thousand other things to do. Naturally we know that once everything settles down, we can get on with the business of the God and faith stuff. Well, except that as a volunteer, ministry participant, committee chair, or by just showing up on Sunday, God's business does get done, but where is the living in faith in all of that?        
        Yes, we try to do good work in God's name which is all well and fine as long as we remember to do what we do, and occasionally mention, that it is all in God's name. So, as soon as time permits, I'll remember to trust in the mercy of God and give thanks, and declare the goodness of God's name, and be securely established and steadfast in the faith in the midst of all that the Marthas in my life and I think I should be doing. 
        I saw a sign today that said, "Someday is not on the calendar." Busy may accomplish earth-bound tasks in the life where someday never arrives. But being merely busy doesn't draw us closer to Christ. Let us choose the better part of the God-given life we have, a Mary-er life in faith.


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ God of Fullness and Refuge, help us to be as constant and vigorous as a green olive tree, securely established in living the truth of the Gospel, and not be turned and wilted as quickly as a basket of summer fruit, in the heat of difficult times.

                                                Lord, in Your Mercy
RESPONSE:         Keep us steadfast in our faith

~  God of Fullness and Refuge, strengthen our resolve to reveal Your Word to all dominions, rulers, and powers, in every corner of this world, great and small, that the hearts and minds of all earthly leaders are reconciled to You for the sake of all Your peoples. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord, in Your Mercy
                                                Keep us steadfast in our faith
                                               
~  God of Fullness and Refuge, restore the health and hope of those burdened with chronic pain in body, mind, or spirit, and refresh all who bring them comfort and care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Lord, in Your Mercy
                                                Keep us steadfast in our faith
           
~  God of Fullness and Refuge, we give You thanks and praise for the joy of eternal life in glory now bestowed on those we have loved in this life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord, in Your Mercy
                                                Keep us steadfast in our faith
                       
~ God of Fullness and Refuge, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                Lord, in Your Mercy
                                                Keep us steadfast in our faith
           
~ God of Fullness and Refuge, look with favor upon those who serve You in Your Church and shepherd our souls to follow in the footsteps of Christ together. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord, in Your Mercy
                                                Keep us steadfast in our faith
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Lord God, of Promise and Presence, free us from the traps of worry, busyness, and distraction we set for ourselves, estranging us from You. Infuse us with the wisdom to choose the better and everlasting part of the life you have given us to live. We ask through Jesus, Firstborn of All Creation, and the Holy Spirit, our Wonderful Counselor, who together with You are One God, forever and ever. Amen.




Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Prayers of the People: Plumbing the Depths, 8th Sunday after Pentecost Yr C

For Sunday, July 10, 2016, 8th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Amos 7:7-17, Ps 82, Colossians 1:1-14, Luke 10:25-37


Thy Republican Neighbor, Thy Democrat Neighbor,
Thy Libertarian Neighbor, Thy Liberal Neighbor,
Thy Conservative Neighbor, Thy Hindu Neighbor, 

Thy Buddhist Neighbor, Thy Annoying Neighbor,
Thy Cranky Neighbor, Thy Gossipy Neighbor,
Thy Neighbor's Terrible Children, Thy Old Neighbor,
Love All Thy Neighbors as Thyself
         This is what the Lord God showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD said to me, "Amos, what do you see?" And I said, "A plumb line." Then the Lord said, "See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel..." [Amos 7:7-17]

         Rescue the weak and the poor;
deliver them from the power of the wicked. 
[ Ps 82:4]

         May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from [God's] glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience... [Colossians 1:11] 

         "Teacher", he said, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" [Jesus] said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" [The lawyer] answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all our soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." [Jesus] said, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live. [Luke 10:25-28]

        Amos saw God with a plumb line, a cord with a heavy weight at the bottom used to determine if a vertical wall is perpendicular ~ straight and "true" in its construction. It can also determine depth. In this reading, God, not finding a good measure of plumb, decided to do some reconstruction, or perhaps more accurately, some demolition. And the lawyer in this passage from Luke speaks words that are so familiar we could recite them yet don't we still find them difficult to live? This was a shocking parable in its time and if we use a substitute for Samaritan such as Satanist, and something like "contagious" for the man beset by robbers on the road, perhaps we can understand the apprehension of those who passed by without helping [and also the "Law" that forbade touching the "unclean"] and the amazement that he would be helped by so unlikely a person. In the words of a popular tv show, What would you do? Now is a good time to plumb the depths of our own faith, to do some reconstruction (and demolition if necessary), to hear, understand, and accept that to love our neighbors IS to love ourselves and God; and, that everyone whether liked, unliked, feared, mistrusted, dangerous, annoying, etc., IS our neighbor. Paul prayed, as we must, for our strength, endurance, and patience from God. The Samaritan showed mercy ~ above and beyond ~ let us go and do likewise.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Almighty and Abiding God, in such difficult times as these when our fear and mistrust of those unlike ourselves is rising, fill us with knowledge and understanding of Your will, that our love for our neighbors and ourselves will be a true measure of our love for and faith in Christ.

                                                Holy Creator
RESPONSE:         Grant us wisdom, patience, and strength

~  Almighty and Abiding God, help us to support the upright and honorable people who serve in governments in every nation, state, and locale, who uphold the principles of integrity, compassion, and mercy, on this, Your Earth. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy Creator
Grant us wisdom, patience, and strength                                     
~  Almighty and Abiding God, rescue the poor, the weak, and the sick with Your healing mercy, and give comfort and endurance to all who assist them. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

Holy Creator
Grant us wisdom, patience, and strength      

~  Almighty and Abiding God, deliver all who are lost in the darkness of grief into the joy of knowing, that those who have died, now live on in the eternal light of Christ’s heavenly peace. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

Holy Creator
Grant us wisdom, patience, and strength      
                       
~ Almighty and Abiding God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

Holy Creator
Grant us wisdom, patience, and strength      
                       
~ Almighty and Abiding God, as we look to our faithful ministers of Your Word and Sacraments as our guides of truth in action, endow them with steadfastness and endurance to urge us along the right pathways and share in the inheritance of the saints. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy Creator
Grant us wisdom, patience, and strength      
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds:  O God, Source of all Being, help us to plumb the depths of our faith to reset our grounding in You, and seek to share the love and mercy for others that we each have in You. We ask through Jesus, the Incarnation of Love, and the Holy Spirit, the Fount of Wisdom, who together with You, are One God, forever and always.  Amen.
         



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