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, May 22, 2017

Prayers of the People: Lift Off, 7th Sunday of Easter Yr A '17

For Sunday, May 28, 2017, 7th Sunday of Easter, Year A, Readings: Acts 1:6-14, Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36; 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11

       [Jesus] replied..."It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you...When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. [Acts 1:7-8a]

       But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; let them be merry and joyful...Blessed be God! [Psalm 68:3, 36b]

       Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith...God of all grace who has called you to eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. [1 Peter 4:7-9a, 10b, 11]

     Jesus looked up to heaven and said..."I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world...and they have received me and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf...And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world...Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one." [John 17:6a, 8b-9a, 11a]


      The Divinely Human Christ takes his leave of this plane as the apostles watch him be lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. As it says in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds: he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 
       The Feast of the Ascension is one of the five major markers in the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus. The others are his Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. The Ascension is also one of the essential elements of Christian creeds and one of the significant mysteries in the life of Christ. The bodily Ascension into heaven is also understood by some as the expression of Christ's two natures: divine and human. The mythology, the mystical, and the mysterious all combine to fuel the fires of discussion, disagreement, and theological divides across generations and denominations. Typically observed on the 6th Thursday, or 40 days, after Easter, it precedes Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter) and then next is Trinity Sunday.
        The Gospel of John's account of the Ascension, that the Revised Common Lectionary is using for this Sunday, contains a bit of Jesus' human side - he prays to God to protect us now that he is leaving this world - we who were given to him by God and who remain in this world; and he prays for unity in the Church. Samuel Cruz, Assistant Professor of Church and Society at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, has this to say: "A prayer from Jesus asking for protection via unity of the church, provides a great source of comfort to his followers...[it] is powerful because it emerges from his personal experiences as a man...[as when] a parent prays for his or her child, we know that the motivations behind that prayer are deep and primal. Likewise, the deeply loving petition in our favor requested by Jesus is greatly treasured." The Living Jesus does care greatly for his followers then and now. For our part, let us return this great comfort by devoting ourselves to prayer as the apostles did while waiting for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Let us follow Peter's instructions to cast all our anxiety on God because our adversary, the devil, even in the form of seemingly benign earthly temptation, could easily devour our good intentions, carrying us away from what we are called to do in this life. With some prayer, discipline, and faith, we, too, will be restored, supported, and strengthened by God for that day when we are raised and Lift Off to the highest heights of heaven to live eternally with the Ascended Jesus. Blessed be God! To God be the power forever and ever. AMEN!
        
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God of All Grace, Jesus, glorified You in his earthly life and prayed for our protection out of his humanity. Fortify our faith that we may be steadfast and resist the worldly temptations prowling around us, looking to devour our fragile promises to You.

                                                Christ, Ascended                                              
RESPONSE:               Restore, Support, and Strengthen us

~ O God of All Grace, bolster the character and principles of those in political leadership on this Earth, in this Nation, and in our community, and steady them on the course of justice, mercy, and peace for all the people of Your Creation.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us
                                               
~ O God of All Grace, rest Your healing spirit upon all who are coping with chronic or life-threatening illness, and give rest to all who give them love and care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us
           
~ O God of All Grace, gladden our hearts knowing that those we love who have left our lives, are now risen with all the Saints and the Ascended, Living Jesus. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us

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

                                                Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us
           
~ O God of All Grace, empower the leaders of Your Church with spiritual wisdom and with souls yearning for You. Grant them hearts open to the challenges of being Christ’s emissary to guide us to do Your work in this world. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Holy God of Power and Glory, as we cast our anxiety upon You, re-kindle our desire to reflect upon and rejoice in Your presence, and renew our willingness to be disciplined, in the pursuit of the eternal glory in Christ, in the life You have given us to live.  We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Ascended Redeemer; and the Holy Spirit, our Sacred Sanctifier; who live and reign with You, One God, forever and ever.  Amen.




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. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Prayers of the People: Truth and Consciences, 6th Sunday of Easter, Yr A '17

For Sunday, May 21, 2017, 6th Sunday of Easter, Year A, Readings: Acts 17:22-31, Psalm 66:7-18, 1 Peter 3:13-22, John 14:15-21

      The God who made the world and everything in it...gives to all mortals life and breath...From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth...so that they would search for God...though indeed he is not far from each one of us. [Acts 17:24a, 25b-26a, 27]

      Bless our God...who holds our souls in life...who has not rejected my prayer, nor withheld his love from me. [Psalm 66:7a, 8b, 18b]

      Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear...And Baptism...now saves you - not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ... [1 Peter 3:13-14a, 21]

      Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of Truth...You know him because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you." [John 14:15-18]

      This week's readings begin with reminders of the work of God in Creation, who, in addition to making the world, gave us life and breath and holds our souls in life. God is known to us and although life is often difficult, God is with us throughout it all. God doesn't need anything as he made everything but part of God's plan, Paul tells the Athenians, and now us, is that we are to search for God and find him. And if for no other reason, God's gift of life to us seems reason enough to seek a living with good conscience, yet Peter takes us farther to say that our Baptism saves us as an appeal for a good conscience thanks to the resurrection of Jesus.
      The words Jesus speaks in John's Gospel this week are from the Last Supper after Jesus has washed the disciples' feet and tells of his coming betrayal and Peter's denial. In last week's passage, just before this one, Jesus says Do not let your hearts be troubled and this week he tells of asking God, on our behalf, for another Advocate who is within us, the Spirit of Truth. He reassures the disciples, who don't yet understand at this point - and us who now know what was to come - that he will not leave us orphaned; we will see him again. 
      When we combine these passages, we find another powerful reminder - the constancy of our ever-present God in Three Persons, Creator, Savior, Advocate.  And the truth is, when we actively work to build and keep a good conscience, recognize and call upon the Trinity within us, we are more and more able to relinquish the strong hold of earthly distractions, fears, and griefs as we walk through our human existence on our Way to eternal life with our Living Christ.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Lord Creator of Heaven and Earth, we live and move and have our being in You, who gave us life and breath. You have overlooked our ignorance and never withheld Your love. Quicken our desire to search and find You, repent, and pledge our love and obedience to Your commandments.

                                                Blessed be our God
RESPONSE:             Who heeds our every prayer

~ Lord Creator of Heaven and Earth, grant us the words and wisdom to urge an accounting of actions from the political leaders of our world, our country, and our community, in the service of mercy and justice for all Your peoples and the health of this planet, our earthly home.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Blessed be our God
                                                Who heeds our every prayer
                                               
~ Lord Creator of Heaven and Earth, deliver comfort and hope to all who are sick, anxious, or fearful, and to those who worry and attend to their needs. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Blessed be our God
                                                Who heeds our every prayer
           
~ Lord Creator of Heaven and Earth, we commend to Your eternal embrace all who have left this mortal life for everlasting joy and glory in You.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Blessed be our God
                                                Who heeds our every prayer

~ Lord Creator 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

                                                Blessed be our God
                                                Who heeds our every prayer
           
~ Lord Creator of Heaven and Earth, excite the spirits of all who lead us in Your church, that they may guide us to a place of spiritual refreshment and renewal in Your Word and Sacraments. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Blessed be our God
                                                Who heeds our every prayer
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Loving Creator God, who holds our souls in life, free us from earthly fears, and steady us on our journey to enter Your house, as we offer prayer and sacrifice for good conscience, in thanksgiving for the Resurrection of Christ. We ask through Jesus our Living Savior, and the Spirit of Truth, our Holy Advocate, who live and reign with You, as One God, forever and ever.  Amen




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. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com


Monday, May 8, 2017

Prayers of the People: Stones on The Way, 5th Sunday of Easter Yr A '17

For Sunday, May 14, 2017, 5th Sunday of Easter, Year A, Readings: Acts 7:55-60, Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14

       While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he died. 
[Acts 7:59-60]

       In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge...lead me and guide me...for you are my tower of strength...Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth. [Psalm 31:1a, 3b, 5b]

       Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation...Come to him, a living stone...and like living stones, let yourself be built into a spiritual house...you are a chosen race...God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. [1Peter 2:2 4a, 5a, 9a,b]

       Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe in me also...Jesus said to [Thomas], "I am the way, and the truth, and the life...If you know me, you will know my father also...Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these..." [John 14:1, 6a,b; 12a]


      Stephen has the distinction of being Christianity's First Martyr yet we hear little else about him in the lectionary. His story - there isn't a whole lot - is in the prior chapter and verses, and a few more words beyond his death. The Book of the Acts of the Apostles is Luke's summary account of the activities of the original and newer Apostles from the Ascension of Jesus through Paul's final imprisonment in Rome. Stephen's story begins briefly in chapter 6:5 and carries through from 6:8 until 8:3 where we find Saul, who becomes Paul, ravaging the church because people lamented Stephen's deathThe more success the Apostles - Stephen among them - became at attracting disciples to join them, even some of the priests, the angrier became the High Priest and Council who saw these Jesus-followers as a threat to their established order. A political/religious narrative that carries through to our own day.
       Stephen's commitment to Jesus mirrors Jesus' commitment on the cross, and, he asks for those who have stoned him to be absolved, as Jesus did. The recurring theme in all these readings for this Sunday, for me, is commitment. What is the state of my commitment to Christ? Should I be, need I be willing to be a martyr for Christ? Yes, no, maybe, sort of? Jesus tells us not to let our hearts be troubled yet it is troubling to wonder where, what, and who I am supposed to be as a Christian when the messages from various sects and denominations seem contradictory and sometimes less than Jesus-like. But it was the same in Jesus' time and this is where we hit the stones on The Way. We may never be certain that we believe as fully and completely as we want or know as much as we think we’re supposed to but Jesus is that strong rock, the precious cornerstone that holds our spiritual house in place. When we truly turn our hearts and commit our spirits to him, when we speak our belief in him through our words and actions, it will be a rocky road on more than a few occasions. It is by walking together in a faith community, that our foundation is strengthened and our hearts untroubled a little more each day. We will trip and fall, be ignored or outright rejected, but if we get this far on faith, it is because we have become the living stones drinking deeply of the pure, spiritual milk that will nourish us all the way into salvation.
  

 LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Jesus, our Strong Rock, You are the Cornerstone of our spiritual house, the purest Milk for our spirits, our Way, our Truth, and our Life. Lead us into the fullness of God’s merciful light and out from the darkness of sin.

                                                O Lord, O God of Truth                                            
RESPONSE:             Our Guide and our Refuge

~ Jesus, our Strong Rock, endow us with the courage of Stephen to speak Your Truth through our words and actions, especially to those in political power across this world, this nation, and this community, to strengthen the cause of peace and to decry violence and inhumanity. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O Lord, O God of Truth
                                                Our Guide and our Refuge
                                               
~ Jesus, our Strong Rock, walk with all who are seriously ill and those who see to their comfort, as they each seek shelter in the stronghold of Your love.  We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                O Lord, O God of Truth
                                                Our Guide and our Refuge
           
~ Jesus, our Strong Rock, we give You praise and thanksgiving for receiving the spirits of all who ask and who now dwell with You forever, in the peace and splendor of God’s holy house. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                O Lord, O God of Truth
                                                Our Guide and our Refuge

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

                                                O Lord, O God of Truth
                                                Our Guide and our Refuge
           
~ Jesus, our Strong Rock, grant our anointed leaders the fortitude, the patience, and the desire to help us strive to be as Living Stones, obedient to the Word, and with faith as a firm foundation for everything we do. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O Lord, O God of Truth
                                                Our Guide and our Refuge
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds:  Creator God, our Tower of Strength, nourish our faith as You shine Your face upon us, that we may fully commit our spirits into the hands of Christ from now, hold no sins against others, and grow into salvation through our spiritual sacrifices. We ask through Jesus, our Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of our souls, who live and reign with You, as One God, forever, for eternity. Amen.    





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. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com



Monday, May 1, 2017

Prayers of the People: On the Lamb, 4th Sunday of Easter, '17 Yr A

For Sunday, May 7, 2017, 4th Sunday of Easter, Year A, Readings: Acts 2:42-47, Psalm 23, 1 Peter 2:19-25, John 10:1-10

      Those who had been baptized devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. [Acts 2:42]

      The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters. He revives my soul and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake. [Psalm 23:1-2]

      But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps...When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten...by his wounds you have been healed...For you were going astray like sheep but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. [1 Peter 2:20b-21, 23, 24b-25]

      Jesus said, "...the one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name...and the sheep follow him because they know his voice...Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep...Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. [John 10:2-3a, 4b, 7, 9]

       For Episcopalians, the reading from Acts this week is infused with one of the promises made by us or for us in our Baptismal Covenant: "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers..."  The three statements of belief and the five promises of the Covenant are a quick refresher and guide to the basics of true Christian living and always worth reviewing regularly whether or not you are of this denominational heritage. [see the Book of Common Prayer pages 304-5, click here: BCPonline]  
      Psalm 23 is, without doubt, the best-known piece of Scripture in the world among multiple religions, denominations, sects, the believers and the non- . The poetic language, ascribed to David, a shepherd in his youth, gives us the most pastoral image of Christ and draws from the real activities of actual shepherds.* In the lesson from 1st Peter, we are given the difficult reminder that we are to suffer what we must but, as Jesus in his Passion, we are not to return abuse in kind. We are to realize that by the wounds of Jesus we are healed because we were going astray like sheep, but you have now returned...  The Gospel also carries the Shepherd theme and comforts us with another serene image, that of Christ as the divine Gate for all we sheep to have salvation in a safe, and abundant pasture. 
      Sometimes the familiar is too comfortable and we must listen again with fresh ears, hearts, and minds. The comfort of the Shepherd in Psalm 23 is easily zoned in on and the other readings more easily left behind. But even this calming pastoral narrative comes with a price. We who want to know ourselves as true and faithful Christians must rouse ourselves from our sheepdom and listen for the Voice that calls, and then follow, in earnest and in confidence. All we "have" on this earthly plain is temporary.  Let us not go astray like sheep, but rely only on the Lamb of God, Jesus the Christ, Risen and Eternal.

*I commend to you a charming and interesting little book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller, for a closer look at the connections between the Psalm's imagery and real life sheep farming.


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Shepherd of our Souls, You are our Holy Gate to where we find a calm pasture to shelter and nourish our spirits, where You know us each by our names. Let us hear Your voice deep within us and follow You to salvation and abundant life eternal.
                                               
                                                By Your blood we are reconciled
RESPONSE:             By Your wounds we are healed

~ Shepherd of our Souls, as you stood peaceably in front of the political authorities of Your mortal time, grant us courage and confidence to peacefully but persistently urge political leaders of this Earth, this Nation, and this Community, to legislate compassion, equity, and mercy, as well as safety, economic, and environmental justice for all people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                     By Your blood we are reconciled
                     By Your wounds we are healed
                                               
~ Shepherd of our Souls, anoint the hearts, restore the hope, and give rest from anxiety to all who are enduring illness and suffering of all kinds, and for those who see to their daily needs.  We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                     By Your blood we are reconciled
                     By Your wounds we are healed

~ Shepherd of our Souls, we entrust the souls of all who have left this life to Your own care, in the consolation of knowing that they now dwell in the light of Your House forever. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                     By Your blood we are reconciled
                     By Your wounds we are healed

~ Shepherd of our Souls, as Your representatives in our time, our pastoral shepherds consecrate Your Body and Blood to bring You to us in the Apostles’ teaching, prayer, and fellowship, with glad and generous hearts. Help us to support them in their work with faith and goodwill, that together we, and all Your sheep, may be fed by Your goodness and mercy. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                     By Your blood we are reconciled
                     By Your wounds we are healed
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  O God of Highest Heaven, we are called into Your mystical pasture to live and thrive on the Divine Bread of Life, given by the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. Revive our souls and rekindle our desire to follow You along the right paths of this life and enter into Your glorious and infinite kingdom. We ask this through Jesus the Christ, our Guardian and Shepherd, and the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of our souls, who together with You, reign as One God, forever, and through all eternity.  Amen.





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. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Prayers of the People: The Road Best Travelled, 3rd Sunday of Easter '17 Yr A

For Sunday, April 30, 2017, 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A, Readings: Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17; 1 Peter 1:17-23, Luke 24:13-35

         Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit..." [Acts 2:38]

       I love the LORD, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him...Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his servants...O LORD I am your servant...I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the Name of the LORD. [Psalm 116: 1, 13, 14a, 15]

       Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth...You have been born anew...of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 
[1 Peter 1:22a, 23]

      They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. [Luke 24:34-35]


     "If only..." a frequent refrain for all of us who wish we had done things differently, or this or that had gone as planned, or the weather had changed. Mostly, though, I think most of us have yearned, even with some desperation at times, for that if only I could see, talk to, or touch her or him one more time. I can say from my own acute experiences that yes, much time does soften the punch and shock of loss, but then the memories become ever more important along with the hope and desire to believe that they are still present within us. 
      The Disciples had that one-more moment - never enough, to be sure - and they certainly made the most of it as here we are over two thousand years later still hearing their experiences with Jesus, still hearing the words He spoke, still knowing there are ways of living this life that we are called to by Him. Yet it seems too distant to us sometimes - other-worldly, a familiar story and then it's over until we hear it again. 
      Now is the time to hear the story of the Road to Emmaus again with the ears and heart of our own memory of loss. Feel their confusion, their shock, their sadness. Remember the words Jesus tells them, and the next time - and every time - you receive the Bread at a Eucharist, and, the next time you tear a piece of bread at a meal, know him in the breaking of the bread. More than a memory, Christ IS LIVING within us. All we need to do is call upon His name and travel the Best Road of this life, knowing Him, and the Way will be open.


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Living Christ, how often we blindly follow the way of the world without seeing that You are with us in every step. Open our hearts to know Your Presence, open our eyes to see Your Way to Life Eternal, and open our souls to accept Your gift of Salvation.

                                                Jesus, Blessed Son of God                                             
RESPONSE:             We call upon Your Name, O Lord

~ Living Christ, grant us the determination, the voice, and the words to turn the hearts of those in political power in our world, our country, and our community, toward Your justice, peace, and mercy.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, Blessed Son of God
                                                We call upon Your Name, O Lord
                                               
~ Living Christ, please walk closely with all who are lost in serious illness, emotional upheaval, and hopelessness, and with those who give them care and healing.  We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, Blessed Son of God
                                                We call upon Your Name, O Lord
           
~ Living Christ, we give You praise and thanksgiving, that all the faithful who have departed this life, are now precious in Your sight, in the glory and splendor in Your heavenly and eternal courts. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, Blessed Son of God
                                                We call upon Your Name, O Lord

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

                                                Jesus, Blessed Son of God
                                                We call upon Your Name, O Lord
           
~ Living Christ, pour Your special grace and energy upon the clergy anointed to lead us in Your Church, that they and we together, may know You in the breaking of the sacred bread, that nourishes our souls with fresh vitality, and strengthens our spiritual quest. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, Blessed Son of God
                                                We call upon Your Name, O Lord
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds: Lord Jesus, our constant Companion on the Road, as we are born anew through Your Resurrection, excite us to dedicate ourselves again, and incline our ears and eyes to You, that through Your living and enduring Word, our faith and hope will be set on God, and our souls purified by obedience to Your Truth. We ask through our Creator, our Sanctifier, and You, our Redeemer, who live and reign as One God, always, forever, eternally.  Amen.




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. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Prayers of the People: Seen and Unseen, 2nd Sunday of Easter, ' 17 Yr A

For Sunday, April 23, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year A, Readings: Acts 2:14a, 22-32; Psalm 16, 1 Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31

       For David says concerning him, "I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken, therefore my heart was glad...my heart will live in hope." [Acts 2:25-26]

       I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not fall. My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body also shall rest in hope. [Psalm 16:8-9]

      Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead... [1 Peter:3]

      [Jesus] said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."...Jesus said to [Thomas], "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." [John 20:22b-23, 29]

      The Apostle Thomas lives in an infamy of sorts, getting all the blame for his disbelief until his eyes beheld the Risen Lord and touched his wounds. Thousands of years later he has become a label - "a Doubting Thomas"- for those who don't believe something without concrete proof. And yet, he was far from alone in his skepticism. The other Gospel accounts all tell of the other disciples doubting. Luke 23:11 tells of the disciples dismissing the women's account as an idle tale and in Mark 16:11, when Mary Magdalene tells them she had seen the risen Jesus, they would not believe. My personal favorite - in defense of Thomas - is in Matthew 28:17 that says even when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. If you are or ever have been unsure or questioning of this preeminent event in the life of Christ, despite the Gospel accounts and the significance to the whole of Christian theology and practice, you are in good company! Yet the story of Thomas, and the other disciples' initial disbelief, humanizes these men and brings them into this current time, as did Peter's denial of Jesus, and even Judas' betrayal and subsequent angst and suicide. We know these people in our own lives, we are some of them when we struggle to accept and understand all that we are told in the New/Christian Testament and by those who have taught us from the pulpit or in our families. If we aren't questioning the tenets of our faith at various times, then, for me, it seems we don't really know what we believe or why. These Gospel moments allow us to be who we are and relate to the people who were with Jesus and still wondered what this movement was all about even as they moved forward with him and, very likely, even after him.
       Whatever I believe about the Resurrection and its significance to our Christian faith, in moments of wavering I think on the message of David that Peter quotes in the Acts reading and that is paired with the appointed Psalm for this day. It is the crux of the message of, Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah - I must keep the Lord before me, live in hope, and follow the path of life he has shown me, as well as I can, through all of this life's trials. The Presence of Christ is within us, and our faith however shaky at times, is the vehicle that keeps us upright and guides our thoughts and actions. Whether seen or unseen, the results of living in faith, as Christ teaches through the Greatest Commandments [Matthew 22:36-40], will be a gift to others and ourselves, in our mortal time and in the time to come, by receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. [1 Peter 1:9]. I’m reminded of a title of a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer, You’ll See It When You Believe It. For now, for always, Christ IS Risen! Alleluia!   

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord!  Let our hearts be glad and our spirits truly rejoice as we remember, and know again, the fullness of Your Resurrected Presence within us. Thomas saw and believed. Let us simply believe and we will see.

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God                                       
RESPONSE:             Our Strength and our Redeemer

~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord!  Grant us courage to refresh our faith in the eternal life ahead, while we strive in this temporal life to channel the policies of the leaders of this planet, this nation, and this community, toward providing a just, merciful, and equitable life for all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
                                               
~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord!  Soothe the hearts of those who are very ill, anxious, or afraid, and of all who give them care. Surround them each in Your healing embrace. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
           
~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord! May our wonder at the mystery and miracle of Your resurrection, enhance the joy of knowing, that those we have sent ahead, are now risen with You in everlasting glory and peace.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer

~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord! We pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
           
~ Risen Christ, our Savior Lord!  Refresh the souls of all who guide us in Your Church, and renew their delight in preaching the Good News of our salvation and the message of Your pure love for us all. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Living Messiah, Son of God
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Creator of All that is, Seen and Unseen, shelter us when we retreat into doubt, remind us to seek Your Path through this life, to set You always before us, and to forgive as we are forgiven, in the faith of our salvation to come. We ask this through Jesus, our Living and Eternal Hope, and the Holy Spirit, our Wellspring of Wisdom, who together with You, reign as One God, forever and beyond.  Amen.




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