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 18, 2020

Prayers of the People: The Rising ~ The Sunday after the Ascension, 7th Sunday of Easter '20 Yr A

For Sunday, May 24, 2020, Readings: Acts 1:6-14, Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36; 1Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11

Ascension by Eddie Calz
       [Jesus] replied..."It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you...When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 
[Acts 1:7-8a]

           But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; let them be merry and joyful...Blessed be God! [Psalm 68:3, 36b]

       Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith...God of all grace who has called you to eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. [1 Peter 4:7-9a, 10b, 11]

      Jesus looked up to heaven and said..."I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world...and they have received me and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf...And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world...Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one." [John 17:6a, 8b-9a, 11a]


      On this Sunday after Christ’s Ascension the readings begin well after the fact and end with the climax of the Last Supper. The prayer of Jesus, in this Gospel reading from John, reveals some of his human nature as well as his divinity. The Apostles haven’t experienced the Crucifixion at this point, let alone the Resurrection or Ascension and they must have been confused at the very least. Yet as they reflected on these words later, as we do in our time, they offer hope and the soul-safety of God’s steadfast protection.
     Jesus prays to God to protect us now that he is leaving this world - we who were given to him by God and who remain in this world; and he prays for the unity of God’s people. Samuel Cruz, Assistant Professor of Church and Society at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, has this to say: "A prayer from Jesus asking for protection via unity of the church, provides a great source of comfort to his followers...[it] is powerful because it emerges from his personal experiences as a man...[as when] a parent prays for his or her child, we know that the motivations behind that prayer are deep and primal. Likewise, the deeply loving petition in our favor requested by Jesus is greatly treasured."
       The Feast of the Ascension is one of the five major markers in the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus. The others are his Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. The Ascension is also one of the essential elements of Christian creeds and one of the significant mysteries in the life of Christ. The bodily Ascension into heaven is also understood by some as the expression of Christ's two natures: divine and human. The mythology, the mystical, and the mysterious all combine to fuel the fires of discussion, disagreement, and theological divides across generations and denominations. Typically observed on the 6th Thursday, or 40 days, after Easter, it precedes Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter) and then next is Trinity Sunday.
      At the Ascension, the Divinely Human Christ takes his leave of this earthly plane while the apostles watch him be lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. As it says in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds: he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 
      The Living Jesus does care greatly for his followers then and now. For our part, let us return this great comfort by devoting ourselves to prayer as the apostles did while waiting for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Let us follow Peter's instructions to cast all our anxiety on God because our adversary, the devil, even in the form of seemingly benign earthly temptation, could easily devour our good intentions, carrying us away from what we are called to do in this life. With some prayer, discipline, and faith, with the presence of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, we, too, will be restored, supported, and strengthened to do the work for which we were created and called. And in the time set by God, we the many will be raised, in unity, to live eternally with the Ascended Jesus. Blessed be God! To God be the power forever and ever. AMEN!


Leader:  ~ O God of All Grace, You were, You are, and You will always be with us. Jesus brought us to know You, to cast our anxiety upon You, and to receive the protection of Your steadfast love. Let us be humbled and rejoice in Christ, who is Your Glory revealed.      
                                               O Christ, Ascended                                             
RESPONSE:            Restore, Support, and Strengthen us

~ O God of All Grace, instill integrity, dignity, and strength of character in the political leadership on this Earth, in this Nation, and in our Community. Steer and steady them on the course of principled and moral justice for all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us

~ O God of All Grace, rest Your healing spirit upon all who are coping with life-threatening or chronic illness, and energize those wearied by giving care and love. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                O Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us
~  O God of All Grace, gladden our hearts knowing that those we love who have left our lives, are now risen with all the Saints into the eternal heart of the Living Jesus. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                O Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us

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

                                                O Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us
~ O God of All Grace, revitalize the leaders of Your Church with the spiritual energy, wisdom, and faith-filled hearts, open to the challenges of being Christ’s emissary, guiding us all to be as one to do Your work in this world. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                O Christ, Ascended
                                                Restore, Support, and Strengthen us

The Celebrant adds: Holy God of Power and Glory, kindle our desire to seek the discipline to renew Your purpose for the life You have given us to live. Fortify our faith against the prowling temptations that would devour our fragile promises to the pursuit of eternal glory in Christ. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Ascended Redeemer; and the Holy Spirit, our Sacred Sanctifier; who live and reign with You, One God, forever and ever.  Amen.

All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

No comments:

Post a Comment