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, May 14, 2018

Prayers of the People: Who's on Fire? ~ Pentecost Sunday '18 Yr B

For Sunday, May 20, 2018, Pentecost Sunday, Year B, Readings: Acts 2:1-21, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 104:25-35, 37; John 15:26-27, 16:4

       When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house...Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.  [Acts 2:1-4]

      O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and…then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act… [Ezekiel 37:13b-14a,b]

      You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth. May the glory of the LORD endure for ever…Bless the LORD, O my soul. Hallelujah! [Psalm 104:31, 32a, 37]

      Jesus said to his disciples, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth…he will testify on my behalf. You are also to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.” [John 15:26-27]

     It is hard to believe that it is now the 50th day after Easter, and the 10th day after the celebration of the Ascension of Jesus. It is Pentecost – the word itself comes from the Greek for fiftieth – and it did not begin with the time of Jesus. In the Jewish calendar this ancient feast is Shavuot and follows 50 days after Passover. It celebrates the giving of the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
      It would have been another of the reasons that the disciples had gathered together. Of course, they were also waiting with some trepidation, no doubt, for the sign promised by the resurrected Jesus just 10 days before, in his last in-person teachings, as he said he would send them the Advocate, the Spirit of truth. It may well have been comforting to be together in the familiar structure of this ancient feast. What must each day have been like for them, individually and collectively? Just in a few recent months they experienced praying – or trying to stay awake - with Jesus in the Garden, then the sudden arrest, Peter’s denial, the trial, the carrying of the cross through the City, and the violent execution of Jesus, his resurrection, then his ascension, to mention only a few details. I would think they would still be reeling in their own shock, grief, and fear trying to cope with these inexplicable turns of events. Now here they are gathered together again without quite knowing what was coming next, let alone when “it” would arrive. Perhaps in their remembrance of God giving Moses the Law, they also remembered the encounter Moses had with God in the burning bush. And then suddenly a sound like a violent wind and tongues of fire resting on them gave them more than good reason to be bewildered and amazed! 
      Today it may be easy for us to be blasé, to know the story too well, to be immune to the thrill, the astonishment. Whatever the planning, hopes, and desires of the Liturgists, sadly and often, it seems, that the wonder of it all has been lost.
      So it is then, that today is the day to STOP knowing the story. Today is the day to START experiencing the Spirit – be amazed and astonished and bewildered!  We have the Spirit within us, and God’s grace, and the love and Salvation of Christ merely for the wanting of it! Peter reminds us in the words of the prophet Joel, that when Christ returns, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. And Jesus tells the disciples, from whom we follow on, that they/we are to testify on behalf of Jesus. The Gospels tell us how to do it, God filled our lungs with breath, and the Spirit gives us our voice.
      Let us rejoice and be glad and joy-filled, and alive in it, after all, it's Pentecost and we're on fire!
       Also known as the Birthday of the Church, Pentecost marks the official beginning of the ministry of the Apostles beyond their local area and into the known world to bring the message of Christ to all.
        This day is known as Whitsun/Whitsunday in Ireland and the UK, a descendant of a Gaelic celebration from medieval or perhaps more ancient times. 


Leader:  ~ Lord GOD, Almighty, rattle our bones, amaze and astonish us, bewilder us out of our distractions and detachment, fling us out of the ordinary into the stunning wonder and exquisite joy of the Holy Spirit within.

                                                       Holy Advocate, Spirit of Truth
RESPONSE:                  Enflame our Hearts, Embolden our Witness

~ Lord GOD, Almighty, awaken our souls in a blaze of faith-filled consciousness. Push us to engage and insist, in ways small and large, that political leaders of our World, our Nation, and our Community are held accountable for basic human rights and needs, justice, mercy, and peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Holy Advocate, Spirit of Truth
                                                       Enflame our Hearts, Embolden our Witness
~ Lord GOD, Almighty, lighten the burden of pain for all weakened in body, spirit, or soul. Fill them, and those who give love and support, with the peace of Your Presence. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                                       Holy Advocate, Spirit of Truth
                                                       Enflame our Hearts, Embolden our Witness
~ Lord GOD, Almighty, our souls and our hearts bless You with great Hallelujahs as You rejoice in receiving all whom we love into the promise of everlasting life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Holy Advocate, Spirit of Truth
                                                       Enflame our Hearts, Embolden our Witness

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

                                                       Holy Advocate, Spirit of Truth
                                                       Enflame our Hearts, Embolden our Witness
~ Lord GOD, Almighty, as Your Holy Spirit falls afresh upon us all, may those who lead us in Your Church feel quickened to energize and excite us, to live every moment of every day through You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Holy Advocate, Spirit of Truth
                                                       Enflame our Hearts, Embolden our Witness

The Celebrant adds:  Living, Loving, Holy Lord, You put the Spirit within us, filled us with the fire of faith, and gave breath to our lungs to power our voices. Let us rejoice in all Your works, and testify to Your enduring glory and the gift of salvation for everyone who calls upon Your Name. Our joyful and unending prayers ascend to Jesus, our Savior Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Eternal Advocate, who together with You, live as One God, now and forever. Amen.

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