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, March 19, 2018

Prayers of the People: Cheers, Jeers, and Chocolate Bunnies ~ Passion and Palm Sunday, 6th Sunday in Lent ~ 18 Yr B

For Sunday, March 25, 2018, Palm Sunday Year B, Readings: Mark 1:1-11, Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16, Philippians 2:5-11, The Passion according to Mark

      Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" [Mark 11:9]

     Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. [Isaiah 50:8]

     But as for me, I have trusted in you, O LORD, I have said, "You are my God, my times are in  your hand... 
[Psalm 31:14-15a]

     Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus...and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:5, 11]

     Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard." So when [Jesus] came [the betrayer] went up to him and said, "Rabbi!" and kissed him. [Mark 14:44-45]

    [Peter] began to curse, and he swore an oath, "I do not know this man you are talking about." At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and wept. [Mark 14:71-72]

The Sunday of the Passion:
Palm Sunday

        The palms, the cloaks, and branches on the road, the cheering, exuberance, and the presumption by the press of people that Jesus was a prophet and a known miracle worker and, of course, the donkey ~ a symbol of peace, a warrior king would have ridden a horse ~ were all noticed by the Roman occupiers and, the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Council who had its own police force and trial court. 
        Just as suddenly as the air fills with joy and gusto and glee, the week turns deadly and the same crowd's Hosannas turn to shouts of Crucify him!
        In the fast paced-hurry-up world we live in, some years ago the celebration of Palm Sunday and the commemoration that was Passion Sunday were combined into a one-Sunday rather than a two-Sunday observance. At first thought it seems a shame to shortcut the two experiences and yet, I think, it heightens the experience - if we let it - and highlights the stunning speed at which any and many of us can be manipulated into changing what we think we believe, and because of who is doing the telling to us, we want to believe whatever he/she/they say. 
       Yet, if attending church this Sunday, how much of the combined readings do we really hear, feel, or think about? The readings are long, even if acted out ~ am I listening or watching the clock, or writing my check for the collection, or thinking about the grocery list for Easter baskets and Easter Dinner and peeps, jelly beans and chocolate bunnies? 
       Am I willing to look at the world as it is now, how many times such crowd manipulating and political murders take place every day in my country and around the world? Am I willing to wonder what it is that I could possibly do about it? Or, might I even just consider who and what is Jesus to me? 
        My young grand-daughter loves singing a little happy-clappy ditty she learned in Vacation Bible School, "I am following Jesus" and the volume increases exponentially - as she also learned - with the line he changed my life forever. So, wise and self-proclaimed Christian grandmother that I think I am, the hard question for myself is how am following Jesus? Has he changed my life forever - or, more to the point, have I let him? When have I betrayed and deserted him - or if that's too hard for me to acknowledge - when have I ignored him? Yes, Palms AND Passion today, and it's here all week! And, it's here every day that I choose to profess my faith in all that I think and do - uncomfortable, unpopular, but oh so redeeming
        Anticipating the Gospel events as they arise this week, I'll start over, re-read the lessons, pray with them, and seek the courage and confidence to live into and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God [Phillipians 2:11]It is again time for me to look at each day in this Holy Week as a sincere period of reflection, penance, and re-commitment. There's no Easter without Good Friday, and when I am following Jesus - the real Jesus - my life does change, and the rising joy is palpable.


Leader:  ~ Jesus, Light of God, today we begin with Hallelujah and Hosanna and end with Hostility and Heartbreak. How quickly the crowds turn, prodded by wanton distortion of truth, political manipulation, and betrayal. Grant us the courage to listen, as if for the first time, as we walk the path to Your coming death, standing with You through it all, in our own day, never to deny that You are our Messiah, our Savior.

                                                Hosanna! Messiah!                                          
RESPONSE:             Our Strength and our Redeemer

~ Jesus, Light of God, embolden us to purposefully and earnestly engage the hearts and minds of the leaders of this world, this country, and this community, that we may confront and eliminate fear-mongering, treachery, and group oppression that leads to a cruel death like Yours. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Hosanna! Messiah!
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
~ Jesus, Light of God, enfold with Your loving arms, all who are ill, desperate, or hopeless, and all who worry and care for them. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                                Hosanna! Messiah!
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
~ Jesus, Light of God, as You came to lead us all into the glory of eternal life, turn our grief into joy and comfort knowing those we mourn are alive with You now in everlasting peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                Hosanna! Messiah!
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer

~ Jesus, Light of God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently…add your own petitions

                                                Hosanna! Messiah!
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
~ Jesus, Light of God, as we begin this sacred week, endow our spiritual leaders with extraordinary grace, that we may all be drawn together to let the same mind be in us that was in You, and dwell encircled by Your sacred, life-changing embrace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Hosanna! Messiah!
                                                Our Strength and our Redeemer
The Celebrant adds:  God of Mercy, guide our experience this day and the fullness of the week to come. Awaken our souls to know the times when we, too, have deserted and betrayed Jesus turning first to the ways of the world. Grant us the willingness to confess through our thoughts, words, and actions that Jesus Christ IS Lord, to the Glory of You, our God. We ask this through our Savior Christ, Your Holy and Sacrificial Son, and the Most Holy Spirit, Your Breath and Wisdom within us, who live and reign with You, One God, now and forever. Amen. 

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