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 28, 2019

Prayers of the People: The Saints Among Us ~ 4th Sunday in the Season of Creation '19

For Sunday, November 3, 2019, 4th Sunday in the Season of Creation*Readings: Ephesians 4:1-6, Psalm 146, Romans 12:9-18, Luke 19:1-10

       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]

   Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost." [Luke 19:9-10]

        This week in the Season of Creation we are seeking and celebrating The Saints Among Us and that gives us an opportunity to intentionally think about and discover what it means to be a saint. Many of us think of saints only as extraordinarily special and Godly people, set apart by God for a special purpose in their lifetime which, if we stopped to think about it, was mostly a very long time ago and far away from my country, my daily life and times. But what is the definition of a saint?
        The word saint is from the Greek, hagios [hagg-ee-ohse], which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious." There are those people who have been given the title of Saint through some official process. There are some mythical folks who have the title and were never real but their legends hold great object lessons. And there are the many from far history to our current day who have done/are doing extraordinary things in God’s name and through great faith and without such a precise designation. Many of the Saints and Extraordinaries are listed in church calendars for special remembrance and honor. For the rest, we have All Saints Day to cover all those known to God and yet unknown to us, but whose presence in their and our own times have given us examples to emulate and/or inspire our own lives.  
         Paul says in this piece from Ephesians, that he is begging us to lead a life worthy of the calling from Christ and describes some of the elements for us to achieve it. The Psalmist reminds us to give God constant praise from the depth of our souls and to put our trust only in God. In Romans, Paul is very specific in listing ways to live out our call in love, hate, honor, patience and more. Saintly living is not easy work and definitely requires intention, perseverance, and action. Even when we cultivate a desire for it, we'll experience failed attempts, false starts, regression, re-programming, and many cycle repeats. Yet we are not alone. It's helpful for me to keep in mind, that those who are considered Saints, or at least saintly, would tell you of their many faults and failings, and even weakness. But hope abounds. They found it. If I seek it I will find it and nourish it. I'm not working for sainthood but rather that if my faith remains strong ~ or at least if I want it to ~ I can find and act on some measure of virtue to live by.
         Yes, faith wavers at times for the saintliest; I merely get lost in earthly distractions and frustrations. But each new day brings all fresh opportunity to feel the power of God in my life along with the companions great and small who are with me in spirit and in person. The call of Christ guides us always if we turn toward the hope and help, however unwittingly at times. We see that played out with the story of Zacchaeus.
         Curious Zacchaeus wanted to see about this Jesus and climbed a tree seeking a better view. Later the self-exalters grumbled about Jesus being the guest of a sinner. No one was more surprised than Zacchaeus (except perhaps Mrs. Zacchaeus?). Salvation came to Zacchaeus when he answered Christ's bidding to climb down and then renounced his former way of life. Jesus reminded the nay-sayers that like them Zacchaeus was also a son of Abraham. And then Jesus says, the Son of Man came to seek out and save the lost. Perhaps those scorning Zacchaeus weren’t aware of who was more lost. How well he did going forward we do not know. But if he joined a community of those with conscious and living faith, he had help along the way, as can we.
         My prayer for this day is to keep me in a peaceful mindset and let me not repay anger with anger, and strife with strife. Not easy in these unquestionably difficult times. Yet, as the saying goes: what I give out, I get back. I will struggle but feel supported in a strong faith environment that lives with a Christ-purpose, no matter the daily highs, lows, and challenges. As we work with and for the benefit of God's Creation in its totality, 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 above and the saints among us as God’s hope and promise guides us to our great reward. If we get lost, we will be found if we but climb and seek.


Leader:  ~ O God of Friends and Strangers, in all times of trial, with the examples of those we recognize as the Saints who have gone before us and the saints who live among us now, strengthen us to arise each day with faith, courage, patience, and genuine love for all.

                                                         O God of Hope and Help                                                
RESPONSE:                    We put our trust in You

~ O God of Friends and Strangers, renew us each day to persevere in prayer and take action to kindle morality in the Leaders of all governments across Creation. Guide us all to strive for what is noble, to frustrate the ways of the wicked, and not to repay evil with evil. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O God of Hope and Help
                                                       We put our trust in You

~ O God of Friends and Strangers, deliver from distress all in anguish from illness of body, mind, or spirit, and infuse those who give them care with gentleness and loveWe now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       O God of Hope and Help
                                                       We put our trust in You
~ O God of Friends and Strangers, 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 your own petitions

                                                       O God of Hope and Help
                                                       We put our trust in You

~ O God of Friends and Strangers, 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 of Hope and Help
                                                       We put our trust in You
~ O God of Friends and Strangers, 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 your own petitions

                                                       O God of Hope and Help
                                                       We put our trust 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, Son of Man, in 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. 

* 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. Click here for more information about: Season of Creation ~ In The Beginning

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