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, October 10, 2017

Prayers of the People: In the Beginning, 1st Sunday in the Season of Creation '17

for Sunday October 15, 2017, 1st Sunday in the Season of Creation, Readings: God’s Longing*, Ps 100, Julian of Norwich**, John 1: 1-14

Welcome to the Season of Creation!

         The Season of Creation originated in the Anglican Church of South Africa and was formalized in 2008. It is designed for us to explore our faith from a Creation perspective. We are to realize our place in the order of God’s creating and to see and act upon the need to care for our entire life-support system - the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil in which we grow our crops - not merely for humanity, but for our total environment, as it pertains to ALL life. 
         From the early days of the Season of Creation at SsAM [www.ssam.org], we established that “the primary aim of the events of the Season is to enable adults and youth to celebrate and experience the inextricable link which binds together the destinies of all of God’s creatures.” It is a moment of pause to remind ourselves that God calls us to see “what great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions” and for us to renew our commitment to making real the biblical vision of the earth at unity with itself. It is a vision of human beings of all races, backgrounds and walks of life in local communities and among the nations of the earth, living together in love and peace with justice for all. "As disciples of Christ, we are called through our Baptismal Covenant, to be instruments for the healing of our broken world," and with a renewed commitment to personal and communal prayer and action. The overarching theme for 2017 is Environmental Justice inspired in part by the Youth Principles from the Second National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit*** in Washington, DC in 2002, the text of which follows the prayers along with the alternate readings from Ron Starbuck and Julian of Norwich.
         We will use Biblical and other readings that pertain to the specific theme of each of the 7 weeks of the Season. Alternate readings used will follow the prayers.

Week One's Theme is:  In the Beginning


Leader:  ~ God of The Beginning, the Now, and the Always, we, Your not-always-humble creatures, often need reminding of the wisdom of Your order of creating, and the longing You have for us to know and return Your love by our thoughts and actions. Help us to be more consciously aware of our place as stewards, not only of all forms of life, but also of the environment that supports us all.

                              Holy and Almighty Lord
RESPONSE:       You are the Ground of our Being
~ God of The Beginning, the Now, and the Always, we must continuously proclaim the Sacredness of all Creation to those who make political decisions for this Earth, for our Country, and for all villages, towns, and cities. Guide us in our work to require protections, ethical standards, and justice for the safety and health of eco-systems and livestock, wild birds and tigers, water sources and humanity, hazelnuts and icebergs, for current and future generations. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy and Almighty Lord
You are the Ground of our Being

~ God of The Beginning, the Now, and the Always, shine Your light and whisper Your Word of comfort into the shadows of those suffering through illness, emotional trials, and natural and human-made disasters.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy and Almighty Lord
You are the Ground of our Being

~ God of The Beginning, the Now, and the Always, bring all who mourn into the daylight of Your grace upon grace, as You receive in glory those we love into the fullness of Christ, the very expression of Your love for us all. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy and Almighty Lord
You are the Ground of our Being

~ God of The Beginning, the Now, and the Always, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

Holy and Almighty Lord
You are the Ground of our Being

~ God of The Beginning, the Now, and the Always, refresh and excite those who are called as Stewards of Your Church so that they may bring the Word that is Christ, and the words that are of Christ, to inspire us to live in Christ through our every word and every action. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Holy and Almighty Lord
You are the Ground of our Being

The Celebrant adds: Holy God, Divine Architect of All Life, You proclaimed all of Your work to be Good, In the Beginning. Grant us consciousness and stamina that our work in and for all of Your Creation will be just, fruitful, sustaining, and given as our praise, with delight and thanksgiving. We ask through  Jesus, the incarnate Word, and the Holy Spirit, the vital Spark, who together with You, reign as One God in the limitless expanse of all known and unknown Creation, beyond all time. Amen.

*First Reading: God’s Longing, from There is Something about being Episcopalian, by Ron Starbuck, St. Julian Press, 2016
          It isn’t known when it began, God’s longing, certainly no one mortal knows. The angels might know, but for most, it is still a heavenly secret, a mystery of mysteries long hidden. Some would say that it was always there, has always been there, from the first instant, long before the big bang.  Banged! Leading up to the first thought that caused creation, to explode suddenly out of the emptiness and nothingness of all reality, which is still expanding, still growing still arising within us each. Many would say, and I would be one, that God’s longing is eternal. It is a deep longing, a true longing, a longing that lingers slowly and perfectly stretching out far pat our own imaginations. However, far back or forward we are able to imagine. It is almost as if God suddenly awoke and being alone. In knowing loneliness from the beginning sighed deeply, sighed so deeply in that loneliness, that in breathing out some portion of God’s breath left his body and being to seed all creation. Perhaps it was then, in that moment when the breath of God first moved across the waters of earth or moved through the depths of nothingness giving birth to creation. Or gave breath to both Adam and Eve, and then to all humanity. Sometimes a thought crosses my mind, a single thought, born out of my own breath, as I breathe in deeply during meditation and out once again quietly and stilly. Sometimes it comes to me then, in a split second that this was when God’s Holy Spirit first appeared and continues to appear throughout all history. I even imagine that in some secret way my own loneliness and longing are helping to give birth to God’s Holy Spirit and the compassionate loving-kindness that follows God’s gift to all humankind. I know this much, that God’s longing for us runs so deep and so true that He gave up His only begotten Son, even unto death. So that we might come to know Him and He us, and that by this miracle of love God’s Holy Spirit comes to dwell and rest in us.

**Second Reading: from Meditations with Julian of Norwich edited by Brendan Doyle, 1983
            I saw that God was everything that is good and encouraging. God is our clothing that wraps, clasps, and encloses us so as never to leave us. God showed me in my palm a little thing round as a ball about the size of a hazelnut. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and asked myself: “What is this thing?” And I was answered: “It is everything that is created.” I wondered how it could survive since it seemed so little it could suddenly disintegrate into nothing. The answer came: “It endures and ever will endure, because God loves it.” And so everything has being because of God’s love.

***Youth Principles from the Second National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, Washington, DC, 2002
              Environmental Justice demands for the U.S. Government to be held accountable for violations of human rights and land rights both domestically and internationally. Environmental Justice calls for us to build communities, conduct gatherings, and build our political structures in a way that reflects the histories, traditions and practices of the full spectrum of identities and abilities that make up the communities we come from and that do not reflect the structures that oppress us. Environmental Justice demands that youth seek to challenge and change the environmentally destructive aspects of our lifestyles in order to stop the destruction of our planet. Environmental Justice respects and promotes the full involvement of all people across the full spectrum of identities and abilities that make us who we are. Environmental Justice calls for us to utilize movement resources, sch as funds, staff, and people’s time and energy, in a way that is sustainable, renewable and puts these resources back into our oppressed communities so that they serve the movement as a whole. Environmental Justice requires the experiences of youth and elders to be shared and respected in all areas of the movement and the need for an intergenerational approach that challenges divisive tendencies. Environmental Justice demands that low-income youth, including immigrant youth, and indigenous youth, live in communities that are secure from crime, drugs, disease, pollution and labor exploitation. Environmental Justice demands that young people work to incorporate the principles of environmental justice into government funded institutions that perpetuate the issues affecting youth of color, indigenous youth, and immigrant and undocumented youth. Environmental Justice demands that as youth we stand against unjust war in all its forms, including disproportionate military recruitment in our communities, the media’s glamorization of military lifestyle and the tremendously destructive effects militarism has on the environment, air, water, land, and food.

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