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 13, 2019

Prayers of the People: All We Need is Love? ~ 5th Sunday of Easter '19 Yr C

For Sunday, May 19, 2019, 5th Sunday of Easter, Yr C, Readings: Acts 11:1-18, Psalm 148, Revelations 21:1-6, John 13:31-35

       The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us...And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit; If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that could hinder God?  [Acts 11:12,16-17] 
     Kings of the earth and all peoples; princes and all rulers of the world…Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for his Name only is exalted. [Psalm 148: 11, 13]
     I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more...the home of God is among mortals...Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more. [Revelation 21:1-2, 3b, 4b]
   Jesus said..."I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." 
[John 13:34-35]
         A new Commandment from Jesus: love one another as I have loved you. Sure, sure, we’ve heard it all before, many times. Peter had to explain himself to the uncircumcised believers who criticized him for going to Gentiles and eating with them. He told them straight out that the Spirit directed him not to make a distinction between them and us. Yet don’t we in our own time and place make distinctions about who is worthy of our time and attention, let alone love? But Jesus tells us clearly that we are to love everyone, not just those we already love. He also doesn’t say only love the ones who will love you in return.
        Peter astonished his listeners with the words of Jesus and his own realization that he himself received the gift of the Holy Spirit when he believed, as will everyone. The writer of Revelation sees a new heaven and a new earth and tells us that God's home is among us mortals.
       But this mortal home is seething with rage, disparity, tragedy, poverty, disease, fear, and so much more. It is pandemic, manipulated, exploited, used for political expedience, and profiteering. It writhes with increasing numbers of natural disasters and person-made horrors displacing and killing so many of our earth-bound neighbors. And we are called to love one another as we are loved by Christ. In the face of so much it seems like so little yet if we give ourselves to it much more will come of it. But we have to hear the words, inwardly digest, trust them, and have faith that God will indeed wipe every tear and death will be no more. Hard and not often immediately rewarding work on a good day.
       How, then, can we hear these words differently? What can arouse us from our distractions, our inattentiveness, our numbness, and call us to action?
         Our Creator continues to create but do we see? By actively loving others, especially the unlovable, through our words and actions, we are co-creating with God to bring the new earth into our present existence, now. There is joy and goodness to be experienced, divisions among people to be repaired, brokenness healed. Will every moment be as running through fields of roses and daisies - not even close. But by shaking ourselves out of complacency, by dusting off our faith, and becoming a partner with God, the Church, and each other, we can change the tiny parcel of this mortal home we inhabit. Anguish and anger within us could be no more.  We can create love that heals or at least patches up, love that warms an angry heart, that soothes the cries of grief, that finds help, food, shelter, or just a hand to hold. Even when rejected, as we will be, there will be another to love and someone to love us. Who am I to hinder God working in me? C.S. Lewis puts things more bluntly: There have been some who were so occupied in spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ…It is the subtlest of all snares. To truly follow Jesus, to be known as a sincere disciple, all we truly need is love.


Leader:  ~ Forever and Almighty Lord, infuse us with the willingness to live Your commandment to love family, friend, and stranger alike, using basin and towel more often than lofty praise with weak intent.

                                                     O God at Home Among Us
                    Response:              We begin and end in You

~ Forever and Almighty Lord, guide us to be as Your voice in speaking and acting on behalf of all who suffer because of some actions by those who govern, dictate, or control Your people on this earth, in this country, or in our community. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O God at Home Among Us
                                                       We begin and end in You

~ Forever and Almighty Lord, release from anguish all who are chronically ill in body, mind, or spirit, and refresh the stamina of all who give support. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                                       O God at Home Among Us
                                                       We begin and end in You

~ Forever and Almighty Lord, lift the hearts of the mournful as through You death is no more and our dearest departed have now risen to new and unending Life in joy, free from tears and pain. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O God at Home Among Us
                                                       We begin and end in You

~  Forever and Almighty Lord, 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 at Home Among Us
                                                       We begin and end in You
~ Forever and Almighty Lord, grant additional grace to all You have chosen to bring us Your Word and Sacraments, that together we may receive our Salvation through Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O God at Home Among Us
                                                       We begin and end in You

The Celebrant adds:  Exalted Christ, Son of God and Man, embolden us to be purposeful instruments of the continuous flow of Your limitless love. Let us not hinder but joyfully participate in the perpetual renewal of Your Creation through our own love and repentance that will lead us to unending life in You. Amen.

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