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 25, 2019

Prayers of the People: Finding Home ~ 4th Sunday in Lent '19 Yr C

For Sunday, March 31, 2019, Sunday in Lent, Yr C, Readings: Joshua 5:9-12, Psalm 32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15: 1-3, 11b-32

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   The Manna ceased on the day [the Israelites] ate the produce of the land… [Joshua 5:12a]

            Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin is put away...Great are the tribulations of the wicked; but mercy embraces those who trust in the LORD. [Psalm 32:1, 11]

     If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away...All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ...So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ be, reconciled to God. [2 Cor 5:17a, 18a, 20]

     But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found. [Luke 15:32]

               In this reading from Joshua, the Israelites have finally found home. After wandering through the trials and uncertainties of the desert, where they were provided with the daily arrival of manna for sustenance, God brought them through. Even after the significant transgressions of their ancestors, they found themselves in the land of Canaan where the old manna was no more as they now ate of the new produce of the land.
          Paul tells us that when we find our way to Christ, who is gifting us with the ministry of reconciliation  from God, we become a new creation: everything old has passed away. Further, we are now ambassadors for Christ. In returning to the joy of forgiveness, we are the vessels God uses to appeal to the lost in spirit and the displaced in faith to return and be reconciled with God.
        Luke's Gospel gives us the grumbling Pharisees and Scribes complaining of Jesus' dinners with sinners, and so he told them about the Father, Lost Son, and Angry Brother, also known as the parable of The Prodigal Son. Of course, everyone everywhere knows this one very well.
       For a fresh perspective try a role-play experience with it by choosing one of the 3 characters to inhabit. Read it aloud as if you are the lowly son and discover his feelings of hunger, fear, regret, and other emotions that may surface before and after he humbles himself and returns home. Then read aloud again as the welcoming father; know his tears of joy and relief at seeing his lost son appear in the distance and then discover the father’s feelings about his elder son’s frustrations. Once more, as the elder brother. Who of us cannot appreciate his feelings of betrayal, anger, jealousy. He's been steadfast and true and who gets the glory - little spoiled brother! How might the father’s love and compassion for both of his sons create a new and reconciled home?
       As with the Israelites and the Prodigal we are new, again and again, when we return to Christ and repent of our sins ~ not in despair but in the joy of finding cleansing and wholeness, feeling true of heart. We have each taken the role of that father, that son, and that elder brother in one form or another in our lives. Yet God always welcomes us home and always celebrates our return, no matter how many times we wander off as if we can manage everything on our own. In the happiest times let us take care to remember that God in Christ is still walking with us. In the darkest times of life amid loss, regret, or hopelessness, God always knows us and forgives us. God is never the one who leaves. Even when we can't forgive ourselves, we are forgiven and redeemed by God ~ so, if God can forgive me, who am I not to forgive myself? However, we cannot find what we do not look for. Seek and the L ST will soon be FOUND, everything old [will have] passed away. God in Christ will celebrate and rejoice when we who get lost, return to be reconciled and forgiven. Our forever Home is just there for the finding.


Leader:  ~ O Lord, Most Faithful, by You and through Christ we are found, forgiven, and reconciled when we seek Your mercy in faith and trust. Help us to truly embrace our calling as Ambassadors for Christ, welcoming all who feel lost to find themselves in You.  

                                                       Loving, Patient God                                                          
RESPONSE:                 We make our prayers to You

~ O Lord, Most Faithful, infuse the leaders of our Planet, our Nation, and our Community, with the wisdom and understanding to govern all Your people with honesty, integrity, and compassion. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Loving, Patient God
                                                       We make our prayers to You

~ O Lord, Most Faithful, restore hope and wholeness to all who are seriously ill, addicted, or homeless, and peace for all who give care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       Loving, Patient God
                                                       We make our prayers to You

~ O Lord, Most Faithful, soothe the hearts of those who mourn, as all of Heaven rejoices that those lost to mortal existence, are now found with new and eternal life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Loving, Patient God
                                                       We make our prayers to You

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

                                                       Loving, Patient God
                                                       We make our prayers to You
~ O Lord, Most Faithful, grant all who are called to be anointed in Your service, continual refreshment in Your instruction to guide us always to You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Loving, Patient God
                                                       We make our prayers to You

The Celebrant adds:  God of the Lost and of the Found, release us from the bits and bridles of earth-bound snares to be reconciled in Christ as a new creation. Spare us from all that we think we deserve to find ourselves home again with You, in this life and the next. We ask through Jesus, our Compassionate Savior, and the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier of our Souls, who together with You, are One God, now and forever. Amen. 

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