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.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Prayers of the People: 2nd Sunday after Epiphany and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

           Holiday for Holy Purpose?

         In this country we have converted many federally recognized commemorative dates into "Monday holidays" on which schools, federal, and state offices are closed. For example, we used to celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birthday on February 12th and George Washington's birthday on February 22nd. Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day to remember the dead of the Civil War by decorating their graves) was May 30th. Now they and others all fall on a Monday close to the original date - with the exception that Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays were combined for a single day known now as "Presidents' Day."

        When a holiday/date was selected, and Congressionally approved, to honor Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr., his birthday of January 15 was so designated. It, too, has become a "Monday holiday" however, there has been a considerable amount of effort by his family, those who literally walked with him, and newer generations to make this more than a "day-off" from work and school but rather that it be a "Day On" of community service in Dr. King's name. But for many it's still a day off to play. The purpose is especially lost among those who despise his memory and what that must require of us as equal human beings.

         It is critical that we carry Dr. King's message forward to uphold people of all colors, creeds, national origin, sexual orientation, and for any reason that any one is targeted for oppression, brutality, bullying, and discrimination. We are all equal in the Eyes and Heart of God. And, as Dr. King said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."  What service will you do in holy purpose for God's People?

Let us, God's People, Pray:

Readings:  Is 49:1-7, 1 Cor 1:1-9, John 1:29-42, Ps 40:1-12, MLK “I Have A Dream”

Leader:  ~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, You called us before we were born and named us in the womb. We have spent our strength for nothing and vanity.  We now must turn toward You and answer. Our cause is with the LORD,
Response: Our reward is with our God

~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, You gave us a new song and often we sing it out of tune and use our own words.  Help us to learn Your words, love doing Your Will, and keep Your Law in our hearts. Our cause is with the LORD,

              Our reward is with our God

~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, You have given us all the gifts we need to proclaim Christ’s glory to the world.  Your Servant Martin used his gifts to show the way to freedom for all of Your people - those who are still terribly oppressed and brutalized in our own day and even those who mistakenly believe that freedom is achieved through power and greed.  Help us to compel our governments to demand equality for all, to put an end to the evil acts of those who inflict intolerance, oppression, and terror to Your People.  Let us be Your light to the nations. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions.  Our cause is with the LORD,

              Our reward is with our God

~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, let Your Holy Spirit descend upon and give hope to all who are sick, troubled, and weary of life, and also upon those who care for and about them.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions.  Our cause is with the LORD,

              Our reward is with our God

~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, lift those who are desolate from the loss of loved ones.  Fill their hearts with peace and comfort as they feel the Lamb of God in their midst and know those they love have indeed found the Messiah.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions. Our cause is with the LORD,

              Our reward is with our God

~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, inspire the leaders of Your Church to know, feel, and share the dream of Martin Luther King.   Exhort them to bring Christ among us, to walk with us to restore the dignity of every human being, and to seek and serve Christ in all.  Let us all work together to see to it that   “…the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…” inside and outside of our temples of worship.    We pray especially for:  add your own petitions.  Our cause is with the LORD,

              Our reward is with our God

The Celebrant adds:  Almighty God, we see and hear again the example of Your Servant, Martin Luther King, Jr, in his powerful vision and compelling certainty that together we can all live in freedom from fear, oppression, intolerance and hatred.  You have called us to carry this vision, to stop our own thoughts and acts that disrespect and bring harm, and to make certain that Your People will know the peace and freedom of Your Salvation.  We ask Your grace to do Your Will through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, who with the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, today and always.  Amen.   

An Excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I have a Dream speech
from August 28, 1963, Washington, D.C.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Full text:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/17/i-have-a-dream-speech-text_n_809993.html

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