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 12, 2018

Prayers of the People: Whole Grain ~ 5th Sunday in Lent '18 Yr B

For Sunday, March 18, 2018, 5th Sunday in Lent, Year B, Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:1-13, Hebrews 5:5-10, 
John 12:20-33

    ...I will make a new covenant...I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts...I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. 
[Jeremiah 31:31,33b,34b]

    Have mercy on me, O God...in your great compassion...Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me...Give me the joy of your saving help and sustain me with your bountiful spirit. [Psalm 51:1, 11, 13]

   Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered...he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him... [Hebrews 5:8a, 9b]

   Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. [John 12:24] 

         From the beginnings of Christian Liturgy until the late 1950s, the 5th Sunday in Lent was known across many liturgical denominations as Passion Sunday and it marked the beginning of a two-week Passiontide. The 6th Sunday was Palm Sunday with the Passion cycle culminating on Easter Day. There are a few traditionalists that still follow that liturgical line but these days in our corner of Episcopal/Anglican Land, the official two weeks of Passiontide is no longer observed in that way and now the 6th Sunday in Lent is the combined Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday. The readings have been preparing us for what lies ahead for Jesus, as he was preparing those who were following him at the time.
         Most of us who have been Christian for a fair amount of time know what is coming, especially as parish calendars are filled with the schedules of preparations and services for Holy Week and Easter.  But perhaps, like me, I hate to admit, some will enter the experience of the next two weeks as a rote exercise of obligation with the sense of sacred slightly dimmed. Some will skip a few or all of the extra events in favor of laying all their spiritual eggs only in the joy of Easter.  But for me, it is time again that I consciously think more about what it all means for my eternal life. How do I break out of my self-protecting shell and be rooted again in Christ, growing, blossoming in Holy Ground?
          I will try to engage with the Scripture and Liturgy with fresh awareness, letting it carry me as if going through it for the very first time. I will pay attention to each experience and think about what it is saying to me, what it is reminding me, and what it is teaching me. Mostly, I will seek to discover what I am resisting and why, and, how to move forward. Will knowing that God chooses not to remember my sins change the direction of my life? Will I let it? 
         This week, Jesus tells his disciples about the grain of wheat that must die in order to bear fruit, and the harsh reality that loving my life as it is in this world will cause me to lose it in the next. It is time for that grain of truth to bear fruit in my soul and perhaps plant a few seeds in others. 


Leader:  ~ O Lord our God, turn us from our earthly wants and purge us from our sins. Strengthen our faith in Your constant Presence that we may hear again, intentionally follow, and obey Jesus the Christ, our Source of eternal salvation.

                                                       O God of Compassion             
RESPONSE:                    Have mercy on us

~ O Lord our God, create clean hearts, renew right spirits, and write Your Law on the souls of all in political authority in this World, in this Nation, and in this Community, that their actions will restore all Your people to justice, mercy, and peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O God of Compassion
                                                       Have mercy on us
~ O Lord our God, calm the fears and pain of all who are afflicted by illness, turmoil, or doubt, and refresh the energy of all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                                       O God of Compassion
                                                       Have mercy on us
~ O Lord our God, we offer our praise and unending gratitude for the joy and gladness of those we love, who now live again forever, in Your glorious and bountiful Spirit. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                                                       O God of Compassion
                                                       Have mercy on us

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

                                                       O God of Compassion
                                                       Have mercy on us
~ O Lord our God, grant special grace and blessings to all who endeavor in faith to live in and bring us Your Word and Sacraments, that we all may know the reconciling love of Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O God of Compassion
                                                       Have mercy on us

The Celebrant adds:  Almighty and Eternal God, break us out of our self-protecting shells to die to temporal distractions, that, rooted in the holy ground of Christ, our spiritual fruitfulness may nourish the souls of ourselves and others as You guide us all into eternal life. We ask through Jesus, our great High Priest, and the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier, who together with You, live, love, and reign as One God, now and forever. Amen.         

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