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, August 13, 2018

Prayers of the People: Hungry for Wisdom ~ 13th Sunday after Pentecost '18 Yr B

For Sunday, August 19, 2018, 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, Readings: 1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14; Psalm 111, Ephesians 5:15-20; 
John 6:51-58
...[T]he LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream...and God said, "Ask what I should give you." Solomon said..."Give your servant...an understanding mind...able to discern between good and evil..." 
[1 Kings 3:5, 9-10]

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; those who act accordingly have a good understanding; his praise endures for ever. [Psalm 111:10]

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time...So do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is... [Ephesians, 5:15-16a, 17]

Jesus said, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever...This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." [John 6:51a, 58]

           In the Hebrew Testament readings thus far, the tumultuous life of David has ended and he has now gone to sleep with his ancestors. Solomon, second born of David and Bathsheba, succeeds as heir to his father’s throne. God loved David deeply and easily transferred that love to Solomon and, in a dream, God asked what Solomon wanted. Solomon’s response, perhaps surprising to us but very pleasing to God, was to ask for "an understanding mind" or, in other words, wisdom, rather than the expected great wealth or even the death of his enemies. Solomon wasn't always a paragon of virtue but he started out well.
          Of course, being intelligent isn't the same as having wisdom. We are told that Solomon also asked specifically for "discernment between good and evil" and that is a key element of wisdom. Following the “good” is the way of the wise. Following the evil may seem an intelligent move to some as the way of the shrewd, but it isn’t wise, and more importantly, it’s only a short-term strategy. Evil ends in the death of one’s self, a mortal wound.
         The psalmist tells us that "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" but "fear" isn't meant as we use it today as "to be frightened of." Rather it meant to have respect for, reverence, or, to be in awe. It should be easy to reverence and be in awe of our God whose work is full of majesty and splendor with eternal righteousness, and who is gracious and full of compassion;  and even more so because our God has sent redemption to his people. The redemption is Christ who is the new manna from heaven that revives and saves us from the mortal wounds we often inflict upon ourselves.
         Paul urges caution in this life and is quite direct in telling us to live wisely. He reminds us to "make the most of the time" we have and not "be foolish” and caught up in mere earth-bound pleasure. Anyone who has watched a child grow, or sees how quickly the pages of the calendar turn, understands the increasing speed of years passing in this human time. As my grandmother used to say, "The days may be long, but the years are short." 
         Christ is not only the true food and true drink for eternal life, this Living Bread fills us with divine purpose NOW, in this life, as preparation for the next. It is time to remember to be in awe of God again, to discover our own beginning of wisdom. Once we wise up and follow on the path that Christ leads, then our renewable faith, especially in a community of believers, will help keep us on track. When we stop on the path or turn in a different direction, we can become lost and spiritually hungry. The best way to continually renew our faith and satisfy our soul’s hunger is to access the spiritual sustenance of the new manna, to eat of the Living Bread from Heaven that is Jesus. Wisdom arrives again and we will live forever and never go hungry.  
         The time to begin is now.  


Leader:  ~ Holy and Living God, let our hearts sing with the constant melody of gratitude for Your gift of Jesus as our Bread of Eternal Life. Guide us that our every action is in service to Your Will and in the name of our Lord Christ, Son of Man.

                                                     Gracious, Compassionate Lord                                         
RESPONSE:                 Our wisdom begins with our faith

~ Holy and Living God, as Solomon requested, so do we ask of You to grant an understanding mind and the ability to discern and choose good over evil, for all who hold governing authority across this Planet, in our Nation, and in our Community. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Gracious, Compassionate Lord
                                                       Our wisdom begins with our faith

~ Holy and Living God, grant hopeful relief to all who suffer in body, in spirit, or in life circumstance, and respite to those entrusted with their care. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Gracious, Compassionate Lord
                                                       Our wisdom begins with our faith

~ Holy and Living God, as loved ones fall to sleep with their ancestors, by Your redemption they awaken in the joyful courts of heaven to new life forever after. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                       Gracious, Compassionate Lord
                                                       Our wisdom begins with our faith

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

                                                       Gracious, Compassionate Lord
                                                       Our wisdom begins with our faith
~ Holy and Living God, we offer our whole-hearted thanksgiving for those You have chosen to inspire us by Your Word, consecrate the precious Body and Blood, and to guide us in the work You have given us to do. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Gracious, Compassionate Lord
                                                       Our wisdom begins with our faith

The Celebrant adds:  Almighty and Righteous God, fill us with the Spirit to live wisely now and with Divine purpose, that in our brief time on this earth, we will continually prepare to be raised to eternal life. We ask through Christ Jesus, our Living Bread of Heaven, and the Holy Spirit, our unending Source of Wisdom, who together with You reign as One God, for all time, now and forever. Amen.

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