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, May 8, 2018

Prayers of the People: After and Before ~ 7th Sunday of Easter '18 Yr B

For Sunday, May 13, 2018, 7th Sunday of Easter, Year B, Readings: Acts 1:15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1, 1 John 5:9-13, John 17:6-19

       In those days Peter stood up…and said…one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection…Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen…And they cast lots…and the lot feel on Matthias… [Acts 1:15a, 22b, 24, 26a]

       Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked…Their delight is in the law of the Lord…they are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither... [Psalm 1: 1a, 2a, 3a]

       God gave us eternal live, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life…I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. [1 John 5: 11b-12a, 13]

     Looking up to heaven, Jesus prayed, "I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world...When I was with them, I protected them in your name...I ask you to protect them from the evil one...Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world."  [John 17:6,12a,15b,17-18]

     We have arrived at the last Sunday of the Easter Season in a gathering of rather multi-phrenic readings that speak to us from after the Resurrection as well as before it, and just from the Church Calendar we note that on the Thursday, just before we arrive here, is the Ascension of Jesus. But there's no reference to that on this day.
      So, after the Resurrection, in the lesson from Acts, Peter tells the crowd of believers that the time has come to find the replacement for Judas and it is determined to be between two worthy candidates who have traveled with them all along. It's time to fill the empty slot with one who can be an official witness to the resurrection. They pray and ask God to choose, lots are cast, and the lot fell on Matthias.
       The reading from the Epistle of 1st John was written perhaps 10-15 years after the Book of Acts and is attributed to the same John who wrote the Gospel, all in the latter part of the 1st century CE/AD. The Epistle is also set after the resurrection of Jesus, and reminds us that belief in Jesus is belief in God and through that faith, we are certain of eternal life. 
      With the Gospel, we move backwards in time to before the crucifixion. This reading is in the middle of what is known as the "Farewell Discourse" of Jesus that takes place just after the Last Supper. In this moment, Jesus is praying on our behalf, updating God on the progress of the mission so far. He says, While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. [John 17:12 ] The one lost, of course, refers to JudasAnd in this prayer, for us, Jesus asks God to protect us not just for our own sake but for the sake of the whole world. In that way, God's love will live in us and be given out to the world through us, as we carry on with Christ's mission, the work we have been given to do. The disciples were, and we are, sent into the world sheltered in love, by love, and for the love of God through Jesus. As he looks up to heaven, Jesus asks God to make his own joy complete in us and to sanctify - or hallow - us in the truth of God's Word. 
      We have come to know Jesus through these and other words of the Christian Testament. John begins his Gospel telling us that, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [John 1:1] We know that the Word is Jesus, our Christ, our Messiah, our Savior. We've learned about Jesus after his birth, and before his death, resurrection, and ascension. Through these writings, we are given the instructions of how we are to follow Christ in this world. 
      What will be your prayer to God after these readings? What part of Christ's mission now calls to you before you venture into the world again? First, as God knows our hearts, let us each seek to love and serve Christ during all our living days. After that, we are promised eternal life.


Leader:  ~ Jesus, our Savior Christ, Matthias, was chosen by lot through prayer, and took his place in faithful apostleship. Let us know that joy complete within ourselves, as You guide our walk in this world, living as examples of Your ministry and mission.

                                                O God Eternal
RESPONSE:             Sanctify us in Your Truth

~ Jesus, our Savior Christ, fill us with the substance and stamina to stand together in continual witness, to all who govern on this Earth, in this Nation, and in this Community, seeking justice, mercy, and freedom for all of God’s people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God Eternal
                                                Sanctify us in Your Truth
~ Jesus, our Savior Christ, raise the hope and the spirits of all who suffer with illness, depression, or serious life circumstance, and give strength to all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                                O God Eternal
                                                Sanctify us in Your Truth
~ Jesus, our Savior Christ, happy are we who, with drying tears, celebrate our loved ones now arrived, to live again in the glory of eternity with You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God Eternal
                                                Sanctify us in Your Truth

~ Jesus, our Savior Christ, 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 Eternal
                                                Sanctify us in Your Truth
~ Jesus, our Savior Christ, refresh and renew the spiritual tools of all who lead us in Your church, as they guide and inspire us to find delight in Your Word, walking with us in faith-building and faith-in-action. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O God Eternal
                                                Sanctify us in Your Truth
The Celebrant adds:  Glorious and Almighty Lord, who knows our hearts and minds, protect our souls from evil in and of the world, that we in turn, may offer Your love, shelter, and eternal life, to all we meet in the righteous work You have given us to do. We ask through Your Son our Savior, Jesus Christ and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, who together with You, reign as One God, now and forever.  Amen.

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