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, October 29, 2018

Prayers of the People: The Saints Among Us ~ 4th Sunday in the Season of Creation '18

For Sunday, November 4, 2018, 4th Sunday in the Season of Creation, Readings: Ephesians 4:1-6, Psalm 146, Romans 12:9-18, Matthew 5:1-12

       The Season of Creation originated in the Anglican Church of South Africa and was formalized in 2008. It is designed for us to explore our faith from a Creation perspective. For more information see: https://prayersofthepeople.blogspot.com/2018/10/prayers-of-people-in-beginning-1st.html.
       We use Biblical and other readings that pertain to the specific theme of each of the 7 weeks of the Season. Alternate, non-scriptural readings used will follow the prayers.
         I, Paul... beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [Ephesians 4:1-3]

      Praise the Lord! Sing to the LORD a new song, is praise in the assembly of the faithful. [Psalm 149:1]

      Let love be genuine, hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. [Romans 12:9-10]

       [Jesus] taught them saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit...those who mourn...the meek...those who hunger and thirst...the merciful...the pure in heart...the peacemakers...those who are persecuted...Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven... [Matthew 5:1-12]

         Who or What is a Saint? The word is from from the Greek, hagios, which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious." The people we think of as "Saints" or who have been given the official title of Saint, seem to be all of that definition and much more. It appears that Saints are special people who are set apart for a special purpose, mostly a very long time ago and also very far away from my country, my life, and my times. Well, except that God has called ALL of us to be saints, to be sanctified (made holy) in Christ, to build up the Body of Christ, and to seek and serve Christ in all persons. And it is highly likely that those who have been officially designated as Saints would tell you of their many faults and failings. Too bad we can't just leave the work to those who are beatified or canonized by an official Church process as this temporary life might be easier. But let us consider sainthood in a slightly different light.
         The Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 give us a comprehensive list of those who are blessed by God. It also gives us a clear direction on what attributes to adopt in our own lives to draw on the gifts God has already given us, and even our self-developed flaws, to seek to be accepted into the great reward that is to come. Saintly living is not easy work and definitely requires a lifetime of intention, perseverance, and action. We must cultivate a desire for it, which will be followed by attempts, false starts, regression, re-programming, and many cycle repeats. But hope abounds, if I seek it. If my faith remains strong ~ or at least if I want it to ~ I can find some measure of virtue to live by.
         Yes, faith wavers at times, but then there is the morning and a chance for another fresh start. Each new day brings all the opportunities to feel the power of God in my life along the companions great and small who are with me in spirit and in person. In the letter to the Romans, Paul gently says, If it is at all possible, so far as it depends on you, live peacefully with all. So my prayer for this day is keep me in a peaceful mindset and let me not repay anger with anger, and strife with strife. Not an easy task in these unquestionably difficult times. Yet, as the saying goes what I give out I get back. I also must remember that I need not be alone in my quest to be a better person. I have a choice to join with a community of faith, not merely a "like-minded group" but involvement with those who companionship offers spiritual growth, mutual comfort, disagreement at times, an environment that lives consciously and purposefully into the daily highs and lows, and challenges me to work with and for the benefit of God's Creation in all of its glory and grunge. Together we discover the hope of our calling¸ maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and frustrate the way of the wicked. Let us join with the Saints and saints among us as God’s hope and promise guides us to our great reward. What do we have to lose?


Leader:  ~ God of Hope and Promise, in these times of trial and travail, strengthen us to arise each day with courage, patience, and stability of faith in You. Fill us with humility and the inner peace to express only genuine love to friends and strangers alike, following the example of those we recognize as the Saints who have gone before us, and the saints who live among us now.

                                                       O Lord, our God            
RESPONSE:       Help us keep our hope in You      

~ God of Hope and Promise, continually renew our willingness to place our trust in You, as we actively work through love, to frustrate the ways of the wicked. Endow us with the perseverance to guide Local, National, and Global Leaders to be noble in thought, word, and action and away from repaying evil with evil. We pray especially for: add you own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Help us keep our hope in You

~ God of Hope and Promise, deliver from distress all in anguish from illness of body, mind, or spirit, and infuse those who give them care with gentleness and love. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add you own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Help us keep our hope in You

~ God of Hope and Promise, as You bless and comfort all who mourn, keep us all in the knowledge that the days of joy and gladness flourish now in the hearts of all who live again in Your Eternal Kingdom. We pray especially for: add you own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Help us keep our hope in You

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

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Help us keep our hope in You
~ God of Hope and Promise, inspire the hearts and minds of all who lead us in Your church who encourage and remind us through Word and Sacrament, how to lead lives worthy of the calling for which we have been created. We pray especially for: add you own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Help us keep our hope in You

The Celebrant adds: God of us all, Saints and Sinners together, set our hearts free from the prison of hate, the emptiness of self-importance, and the mindlessness of earthly privilege. May we each claim the wisdom You have given us and no more, be ardent in spirit, and serve the You that is deep within us all. We ask through Jesus, our Christ, and by the Unity of the Holy Spirit, who together with You are One God above all, through all, and in all, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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