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 13, 2017

Prayers of the People: What Are Your Talents Up To? ~ 24th Sunday after Pentecost '17 Yr A

For Sunday, November 19, 2017, 24th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Readings: Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18; Psalm 90:1-8, 9-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, 
Matthew 25:14-30

     ...the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, he had consecrated his guests. At that time I will...punish the people who rest complacently on their dregs, those who say in their hearts, "The LORD will not do good, nor will he do harm." [Zephaniah 1:7b, 12b]

     Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another. Before the mountains were brought forth, or the land and the earth were born, from age to age you are God...Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. [Psalm 90: 1-2, 12]

     For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night...But you, beloved, are not in darkness for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of the light and day...So then...let us keep awake and be sober...put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation...encourage one another and build up one another... [1 Thessalonians 5:1-11]

    Then the one who had received the 5 talents came forward bringing five more talents...His master said..."Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master." 
[Matthew 25:20-21]

 For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past 
and like a watch in the night.  [Ps 90:4]

       How swiftly go the clock and the calendar. For those of us in the colder climes of the northern hemisphere, the fruits and leaves of the summer are now withering and fading, dropping to the ground as the darkness and cold of the winter approaches. It is a stark reminder of the frailty of life. But whatever region of the planet one lives in, we are all too aware of the rapidity of time passing when confronted with a birthday, seasonal changes, Christmas, or, quite mundanely, through one month becoming another and then another until suddenly a year of one's life has gone. Even more startling is seeing school photographs of children who have changed and grown so much since the last one. One cannot stop the time thief as the sands of the hourglass descend. What then are we to do with the time we have? The quote above: Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can... has been incorrectly attributed to John Wesley according to Wesleyan scholars. Regardless of whoever said it, it certainly seems to be the perfect mantra for we who truly want to be good and trustworthy stewards of God's Creation. 

      The prophet Zephaniah speaks his dire warnings not to the evil-doers, but to the complacent who sit life out neither caring nor complaining. Paul, on the other hand, speaks to those of us who know that the end of mortal life can arrive like a thief in the night, and he encourages us to encourage one another to turn toward the light and salvation offered by Jesus. In the parable of the Talents from Matthew's Gospel, Jesus also gives warning to those of us who choose to bury our treasures out of fear - or complacency - rather than attempt to do as much as we can with what we have.      Just as the leaves, fruits, and flowers will send their genes and seeds to return in the spring, so must we be givers of life for the future of Christ's mission and ministry. Let us dig up our talents in all forms - money, time, and ability - and give generously and regularly that we may be God's true and faithful servants now and as the inspiration and foundation for those that are coming behind us. It has been said, "Stewardship is heart work."         Our hearts will be filled and our talents multiplied through giving and doing all the good we can in all the ways we can with all the love we have and for as long as we have. See what your talents can get up to!


Leader:  ~ Most Holy Lord, our Constant Refuge, in the brevity of our mortal time, let us not rest complacently in our thoughts, words, and actions, as Stewards in and for Your vast Creation. For the generosity of life You have given to us all, for the earth and all of its treasures, let us be good and faithful servants, applying our hearts to Your Wisdom.

                                                Infinite, Eternal God                                         
RESPONSE:                         We pledge our lives to Your service

~ Most Holy Lord, our Constant Refuge, we strive to be faithful to Your call and live unstained by the externals of this world. Grant us the courage to stand up and require the unequivocal integrity of the political leaders of this Planet, this Country, and this Community, and expect them to fulfill their duty to prosper Your Creation for everyone. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Infinite, Eternal God
                                                We pledge our lives to Your service
~ Most Holy Lord, our Constant Refuge, renew the strength and hope of all who are suffer in body, mind, or spirit, and give rest to those who minister to their needs. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Infinite, Eternal God
                                                We pledge our lives to Your service
~ Most Holy Lord, our Constant Refuge, let our hearts be soothed in knowing that those who have left us here, are joyously welcomed into the glory of Your heaven, exulting in new life forever. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Infinite, Eternal God
                                                We pledge our lives to Your service

~ Most Holy Lord, our Constant Refuge, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                Infinite, Eternal God
                                                We pledge our lives to Your service
~ Most Holy Lord, our Constant Refuge, for the faithful Stewards of Your Church, who keep us on a spiritual track in daily life and guide us in living the mission of Christ on earth, we give You great and unending thanks. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O Lord our God
                                                We pledge to be Your faithful stewards

The Celebrant adds:  Creator of All that is Seen and Unseen, guide us in our desire to be Your trustworthy servants in all that we do. Help us as we offer, in thanksgiving, the useful skills we have or are willing to learn, our time in prayer and meaningful service each and every day, and a conscious, regular, and intentional gift of funds or other resources as we are able, to expand, and pay forward, the mission and ministry of Christ. We ask through the love of Jesus, our Redeemer Christ, and in the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who together with You are One God, now and forever. Amen.

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