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, June 29, 2020

Prayers of the People: Teaming Up ~ 5th Sunday after Pentecost '20 Yr A

For Sunday, July 5, 2020, Readings: Genesis 24:4-8, 42-49, 58-67; Psalm 45:11-18, Romans 7:15-25a, Matt 11:16-19, 25-30
       The Lord is faithful in all his words and merciful in all his deeds. The Lord upholds all those who fall; he lifts up those who are bowed down. [Psalm 45:14-15]

         I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but the very thing I hate...For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do...Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God though Jesus Christ our Lord! [Romans 7:15, 19,24b-25]

       Jesus said to the crowd, "To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another...For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say 'he has a demon'; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds...Come to me, all of you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will bind rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." [Matthew 11: 16, 18-19, 28-30]

        The appointed lectionary this week, for me, is a rare moment of disconnection between the Hebrew Testament and the Christian Testament. The reading from Genesis is setting up the background for the narrative to come and the Psalm supports it so I will put it aside for that stage to be set.  But it is this self-revealing angst of Paul that always speaks to me, as well as the stark reality of all that happens now has been happening all along. 
       We all succumb to the us vs them mind game more often than we are willing to admit to ourselves. It may be hidden in a desire for a sense of personal superiority or of belonging to the correct group. There can be an almost addicting need for a sense of acceptance within a given community ~ if you are not one of or with us in all we think, say, or do, then you are one of or with them, painting with the broad brush of no exceptions. Further, if you are one of them you can't be one of us ~ THEM have demons, are gluttons and drunkards. THEM are and associate with all who are unacceptable to US.
         It is so easy, familiar, and self-comforting to get caught up in the want of knowing unequivocally who is right and who is wrong. That has never been more crystal clear than right here and right now. Paul brings our humanity front and center - deep down I know I don't want to say or do some of the things I say or do but I do the very thing I hate. When I catch myself, I resolve to be better and improve my reactions and responses in everyday living. Then, unaware, I fall back into the “I'm better than fill in name of person or group mode and act accordingly, whereupon - eventually - I realize, I have failed, again, to be who and what I want to be. 
       Jesus offers us His easy yoke, to guide us and teach us. The burden is light, he says, but the pull back to the familiar behaviors ~ even those we don't want ~ is quick and often unconscious. They are easier than making conscious changes, and, taking on the very real risk of being ostracized from our “us” as one of "them."
       In the language of addiction treatment, we are sinners in recovery. The tendency to fall back is always strongest at the start of healing. But the farther we move ahead of it, the easier to resist, especially in a learning, supportive community of those who acknowledge their sins and strive to overcome them; and when a fall occurs, the easy yoke of Christ will carry us together. 
       There is a yoke on each of us and each come with a clear choice. One binds us to the sins great and small that we know are within us, that bruise and chafe our hearts and damage our souls. The other is the Yoke of Christ, not free of pain or trials or even fear, but the loads and burdens of this short life - much of it self-inflicted - are lightened, less wearisome, healing, and hopeful. We are always one in, of, and with Him. With His yoke, we are a team doing His work in His field, together.


Leader:  ~ Gentle Jesus, Humble in Heart, awaken us to our self-imposed bindings of our familiar sins that distract us from hearing and acting upon Your truth. Rescue our hearts to recover our eagerness to accept Your easy yoke of learning and redemption.

                                                  O Christ, our Savior                                                           
RESPONSE:             Rest our souls in You           

~ Gentle Jesus, Humble in Heart, burden and enflame the souls of the leaders of our World, our Nation, and our Community with a heavy yoke of desire to turn to the good they are capable of doing, gather the strength to avoid the evils of power, and the vision to see into the eyes and hearts of those for whom they legislate, as well those they know and love. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Christ, our Savior
                                                       Rest our souls in You

~ Gentle Jesus, Humble in Heart, soothe the pain and suffering of those depleted by disease, injury, or depression, and comfort those who give them care.  We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       O Christ, our Savior
                                                       Rest our souls in You
~ Gentle Jesus, Humble in Heart, we commend with our love all who have been released from this life into the gracious and glorious reception of everlasting life with You. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                       O Christ, our Savior
                                                       Rest our souls in You

~ Gentle Jesus, Humble in Heart, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials… add your own petitions

                                                       O Christ, our Savior
                                                       Rest our souls in You
~ Gentle Jesus, Humble in Heart, for all who lead us in Your Church as a visible sign of Your Yoke, we ask continuing revival of spirit and replenishment of joy in life and ministry. Let us be mutual companions on this journey of our souls, caring and carrying in turn.  We pray especially for:add your own petitions

                                                       O Christ, our Savior
                                                       Rest our souls in You
The Celebrant adds: O God of our souls and our humanity, help us to come as children to listen and learn, to hear and grow. Fill us with the desire to recognize and repent of our sins great and small, and to be held captive only by Your love and grace. We ask this through our Most Holy Jesus, and Your Glorious Holy Spirit, who live and reign with You, as One God forever and ever.  Amen. 

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