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.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Prayers of the People: Seeking the Clean and Renewable ~ 14th Sunday after Pentecost '19 Yr C

For Sunday, September 15, 2019 ~ 14th Sunday after Pentecost,  Readings: Exodus 32:7-14, Psalm 51:1-11, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Luke 15:1-10

     Moses implored the Lord his God…”Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people”…And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people. 
[Exodus 32:11a, 12b, 14]

     Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; in your great compassion blot out my offenses…Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. [Psalm 51:1, 11]

     ...even though I was formerly a blasphemer...I received mercy, so that in  me...Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him...To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory, forever and ever... [1 Timothy:13a, 16b-17] 

     And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them…Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." 
[Luke 15:2, 10]

     I once was lost but now am found...goes the stirring hymn written by a former slave-ship captain. I think, though, that I’m still a little bit blind. As I cannot see the continuous flow of amazing grace within and around me, I all-too-quickly and frequently lose sight of the direction in which to turn. Just as quickly the week runs by and I’m confronted with the Lectionary readings as I prepare to prepare for this moment. It is then that I realize I have been lost. How soon and easily we forget what we are called to do and to be in the hustle, bustle, distractions, and, the agonies of daily life that surround and sometimes nearly drown us. Yet first and foremost, fellow Scribes and Pharisees, how much more self-satisfyingly easy it is to point to all THOSE people who have clearly lost their (read our) direction, and we are certain, however loath we are to admit, that they are not worthy to be found much less redeemed.
    As we go grumbling along, peeking through our particular choice of colored lenses, This fellow whom we call Jesus, welcomes sinners and eats with them. Surely not THOSE sinners, because within our group-think we're all quite certain about what has or will happen to them. Yet Jesus would welcome them as he welcomes you and me. As if that’s not enough, more difficult to accept is that it isn't a job for any of us to determine whose sins are greater or where another's soul resides for eternity. My job is to acknowledge that I am a sinner, yet I can still see the light of Christ in myself and in another through the darkness of my own sin. I can reach out for that amazing and saving grace that is always within me if I but want to know it. The question becomes, how hard am I willing look for that grace – as much as for a lost piece of property or a sheep more like myself? Even if I am unable to relinquish all of my anger, my grief, my fear, of all that has happened in our own time globally, locally, personally, or my own tendency to sin in the past, the present, and the future, God in Christ never, ever leaves us. I’m the one who turns away if only for a moment, a day, or longer. I’m the one who is lost when I turn away through anger, selfishness, or grand self-righteousness. It’s past time for me, to yet again, stir the joy of heaven and repent. The word repent literally means to turn toward
       In this time of global and local rancor, violence, and hatred, let us reach for the grace within to turn back toward Jesus. Therein lies all hope. Our One God in Three, as Paul reminds us, Who is Immortal, Invisible, the ONLY God, is our true direction in this life. THE ONLY PERSON I CAN CHANGE IS ME and a good time for that is like, you know, NOW. Will having hope change the world ~ not likely, but it will improve my attitude which may improve my interactions with a few people. Will hope fix, heal, or restore anything that's broken, wounded, or lost ~ who knows - it definitely cannot make things worse. Hope, however fragile in a moment, can keep us buoyant through the tidal waves of emotion, fear, and guilt that pound upon our personal shores. Hope and determination find that lost sheep, discover that dropped coin, and cause angels to rejoice. Hope is the light of Christ that beckons and welcomes, even me, a sinner, and grants me a measure of inner peace and an immeasurable amount of spiritual nutrition. Peace is certainly something the world close by and at large needs in great measure. So, let it begin with me feeling hopeful, not lost but now found, with a clean heart and a right spirit renewed.


Leader:  ~ O God of Loving-Kindness, create in us hearts so clean that we move beyond stiff-necked stubbornness, and, purged of our sin, we may display the patience to others as granted to us by Christ.

                                                       O Lord of Utmost Patience                    
RESPONSE:                  We rejoice in Your mercy

~ O God of Loving-Kindness, renew a right spirit within us all, especially those who govern on this Earth, in this Nation, and in this Community. May we, together, welcome the lost, find the best care for all Your sheep, and protect the coins of those with so little else. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Utmost Patience
                                                       We rejoice in Your mercy

~ O God of Loving-Kindness, embrace those anguished by illness, uncertainty of treatment, or anxiety for loved ones, and give ease and healing to all. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions 

                                                       O Lord of Utmost Patience
                                                       We rejoice in Your mercy
~ O God of Loving-Kindness, as we send our own ahead to You, let our hearts feel and hear the joyful noise of all who abide in Your eternal bliss, until we join the feast. We pray especially for…add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Utmost Patience
                                                       We rejoice in Your mercy

~ O God of Loving-Kindness, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently…add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Utmost Patience
                                                       We rejoice in Your mercy
~ O God of Loving-Kindness, magnify the faith of those anointed as our surrogate shepherds, who choose to shoulder the burdens of being an example of and bringing Christ to our daily lives. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                       O Lord of Utmost Patience
                                                       We rejoice in Your mercy
The Celebrant adds: Holy God, King of the Ages, judge us faithful in all that we do to bring honor and glory to Your Name. Restore our willingness to hear and accept Your call to seek our soul’s fortune only in You. We ask in the name of the Christ who welcomes all sinners; the Holy Spirit, who kindles our faith; who together with You are the One, Immortal, Invisible, the Only God, now and forever. Amen. 

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1 comment:

  1. Dear Gerry Martin - THANK YOU! I appreciate your time and your sharing. I'll be sure to check out your sites. Also - blessings! I generally publish late Monday nights or early Tuesdays. Again, THANK YOU!