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, November 6, 2017

Prayers of the People: Ready or Not 23rd Sunday after Pentecost '17 Yr A

for November 12, 2017, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Readings:  Amos 5:18-24, Psalm 70, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Mt 25:1-13

But let justice roll down like the waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream. [Amos 5:18024]

Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me...Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you... [Psalm 70:1, 4a]

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 
[1 Thessalonians 4:17-18]

Jesus said, "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise...As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept...the bridegroom came and those who were ready went with him...Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day or the hour." [Matthew 25:1-2, 5, 13]

         Keep awake, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. [Mt 25:13]  Of all the admonitions of Jesus, this one always sends a chill up and down my spine. I've spent a considerable amount of time in hospital emergency rooms with family, friends, and as part of some coursework, and the swiftness of some unexpected deaths can sometimes unnerve and unsettle even the most experienced and detached medical staff.
          In my own life, the hour and the day have suddenly and stunningly whisked away those I hold most deeply in my heart so abruptly, years on I still feel the reverberation in my body, as if being hit with a concussive blow that that continues to viscerally echo through me. These wrenching experiences and this cautionary parable starkly remind me that I, too, can be gone in a nano-flash. 
          It's so easy to dismiss the notion of Christ's Coming Again in these current times so far and away from the time and place of the telling of this parable. We don't think of Jesus as delayed if indeed we think concretely of Jesus and his return at all. Playing the role of active Christian, faithful in prayer, giver of alms, and doer of good deeds, is all well and good but my inwardly digested attitude of Christ needs some work. Paul asks us to encourage one another with the promise and hope of our resurrection in Christ, but are we too busy and distracted in the now to vigorously and eagerly prepare for the indiscernible then
          For those afflicted with serious and potentially fatal illness, the reality of mortality is palpable and many will engage in the restoration and renewal of their faith and the relationship to God that had been set aside or even lost. For those who are seemingly healthy and busy and pursuing human endeavors, that sense of mortality is still abstract. But in these difficult and uncertain times, one only needs to catch a news report to hear of yet another horrific mass tragedy so unpredictable that it takes our conscious and communal breath away, or a natural disaster that kills hundreds of thousands and leaves millions desperate. It is no small matter for our souls to stay awake and alert, to be as ready as one can be, to seek reconciliation with God and our neighbor and within ourselves and it is never more urgent than today. Time to get more oil for the lamp, trim the wick, and start again to match my Sunday best to my daily thoughts, words, and actions. O LORD, make haste to help me. [Ps 70:1b]  


Leader:  ~ O God, Almighty and All-Knowing, deliver us from the foolishness of wasting our lives pursuing vain, empty, and temporary pleasures. Keep us earnest and sincere in living out the faith we claim, encouraging one another to remember and to trust, our coming resurrection and unending life in Christ.

                                                Lord of Promise and Trust
RESPONSE:             Let us seek and rejoice in You

~ O God, Almighty and All-Knowing, make haste to help us in these days of distressing political turmoil, distrust in one another, and increasing violence everywhere. Send Your Holy Spirit to breathe through us, that we may find courage and strong yet calm, rational, and peace-filled voices within ourselves. Give us the words to speak to, and inspire, all who hold power on our planet, in our nation, and in our hometowns, to turn the weapons of today into tools of justice, righteousness, harmony, and stability. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Promise and Trust
                                                Let us seek and rejoice in You
~ O God, Almighty and All-Knowing, comfort all who suffer serious physical or emotional pain, or desperate life circumstance, and instill hope and stamina in those provide support. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Promise and Trust
                                                Let us seek and rejoice in You
~ O God, Almighty and All-Knowing, as our hearts weep with those who mourn, hold us all fast in Your all-encompassing Presence. Help us to find and extend consolation in Your faithful assurance of life everlasting now granted to all who live again in Your steadfast love. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Lord of Promise and Trust
                                                Let us seek and rejoice in You

~ O God, Almighty and All-Knowing, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Promise and Trust
                                                Let us seek and rejoice in You
~ O God, Almighty and All-Knowing, grant our spiritual leaders the purity of heart, the wisdom of Christ, and the fidelity of faith to guide our soul journeys toward Your Eternal Kingdom. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Lord of Promise and Trust
                                                Let us seek and rejoice in You
The Celebrant adds:  O God our Source, our Savior, our Destination, grant us the will, the wisdom, and the inner peace to rise each day to face our fears, decry injustice, and keep our souls awake and alert for the unknown day and hour of our new joy-filled life in You. We ask this through Jesus, our Coming Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, who, together with You, reign as One God, in heaven, on earth, and beyond all time and space.  Amen.

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