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, February 3, 2014

Prayers of the People: Gettin' Real on the 5th Sunday after Epiphany

               Although we are still in the Season after the Epiphany, we are moving toward Lent, the season of fasting and repentance.  The Lessons for this Sunday are a good primer on how to get real and start to think again about how to live as God wants.  Isaiah tells us that just showing up to do a few good acts and a bit of fasting without the right intention isn’t enough, especially if we’re still pointing fingers and judging others.  God sees through our waving of hands and cries of “Look at me” when self-interest is our prime motivator.  Paul carries us along by saying that those who are not spiritually inclined don’t care about what is or isn’t of God and are more likely to get caught up in following the "wisdom" that is merely human. But if we truly seek the wisdom and spirit of God we will be given more ways to understand. 
         And just after the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes us further by letting us know that he has come to fulfill the Law - the Commandments - and that we are to follow even the least of these and teach others to do the same.  We are the “salt of the earth” which, in the time of Jesus, is meant to imply great importance.  Salt was more than a condiment then, it was currency.  Soldiers’ wages were paid in salt and salt was used by everyone as we use money today. If currency is devalued, if salt loses its taste, it becomes worthless.  We are called to realize our own worth and potential in God's sight and let our good works reflect the Glory of God as a pathway to eternal life.  

       Let’s take some time this week and think about all the intentional “good works” we do and see what is self-less and what – although still good for others – might be more for self-importance.  What's it worth?

Readings:  Is 58:1-9-12, Ps 112:1-10, 1 Cor 2:1-16, Mt 5:13-20

Let Us, God’s People, Pray

Leader: ~ O God, Eternal and Holy, we, Your humble servants, want you to see all the good that we do to please You and show ourselves in the best light.  You ask us to know our own hearts, to see our deeply disguised motives, and to recognize the pride in our false sense of humility.  Please give us Your Gift of spiritual discernment that we may move from acting in unconscious self-interest to working for the ease and well-being of Your people.  Let Your Glory shine through us and give Light to all the World.

                   God of Abundant Love and Light, move us beyond mere human wisdom,
Response:  Help us to know the Mind of Christ

~ O God, Eternal and Holy, those who hold public office reflect the values of those who voted for them. Give their lives and ours, a sacred intent and the strength to fast from the judgment of pointing fingers, quarreling for its own sake, and holding ourselves above those we are charged by You to serve.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                     God of Abundant Love and Light,
                     Help us to know the Mind of Christ

~ O God, Eternal and Holy, with a true sense of compassion, we ask for Your Blessing on those who are afflicted by serious illness, disability, or troubling circumstance.  We also pray for continuing energy for those who give solace and wait upon them, that they, and we, may discover the best ways to be of help.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                     God of Abundant Love and Light,
                     Help us know the Mind of Christ

~ O God, Eternal and Holy, our minds and hearts are with those who are saddened by the loss of those dear to them.  Whether the loss is new or freshly remembered, give us the good sense to be simply present and sensitive in their time of need.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                     God of Abundant Love and Light,
                     Help us know the Mind of Christ

~ O God, Eternal and Holy, Your Servant Paul teaches us to rest our Faith only in Your Spirit and Power, not in the false wisdom of those doomed to perish in their own age. We ask that those who lead Your Church and minister in the name of Christ Jesus take on the yoke of Your truth, delight in Your Commandments, and teach us by example and love.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

The Celebrant Adds:  God of Wisdom, God of Abundance, guide us toward discerning the mind of Christ; help us to fast from willful self-indulgence, to salt the earth with actions that reflect Your Spirit, and to be the shining lamp lighting the path that leads us all to You. Amen.

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