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, August 31, 2020

Prayers of the People: Here and There ~ 14th Sunday after Pentecost '20 Yr A

For Sunday, September 6, 2020, Readings: Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 149, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20

       The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months...I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. [Exodus 12:1-2b, 13b]

           Hallelujah! Sing to the Lord a new song; sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful. [Psalm 149:1]

         The commandments...are summed up in this word, "Love your neighbor as yourself"...love is the fulfilling of the law...now is the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers...Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light... [Romans 13:9b,11b, 12b]

      "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven...For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." [Matthew 18:18, 20]

        Five-year-olds have an often startling grasp of reality and a blessedly unrestrained capacity to speak to it. At a 90th birthday party for her Great-Great Aunt, Miss Rebecca, calculating and noticeably pondering the meaning of so many blazing candles, suddenly exclaimed to her with genuine dismay, "OH NO! You're almost died!" Our Aunt, taking it all in stride, replied with a broad smile and very natural tone, "Well, I'm a lot closer than I used to be."  And so, as Paul says, are we all a lot closer than we used to be, especially in these times of pandemic, natural disasters, and escalating rage.
        This week we are given the details of the tricky, and likely nervous-making, preparation for the Lord’s pass over that was fatal for most and spared only the families who were given, and accurately followed, the instructions. Jesus lays out a plan for conflict resolution in the Church, which if followed without a sense of sincere discretion, care, and responsibility, may have a similarly fatal effect for many individuals and the community itself. He tells us again, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven, which should have a chilling and sobering effect on how we decide to act. Conflict resolution is tenuous in the best of times; a huge responsibility for all parties. The pointing out of faults is always easier when you think you have none. Such a thought is itself, fault-y reasoning. We must each consider, how would I want to be approached if my behavior or attitude or personality is a problem for someone else?
        Paul reminds us, because we need to hear again and again, Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." I used to hear that as "love your neighbor as you love yourself" and, of course, if one has difficulty loving oneself it would be apparent in the way they treat others. Yet in the fuller sense, I now read it as written - love your neighbor as your self. THAT person is YOU. Loving him/her/themis to love yourself, to seek and discover a mirror image in another and love that part of them, however miniscule, that is you. Jesus promises that in unity and community, when two or three or more gather in his name, we bring Him into our midst. How, then, do I speak to and with another knowing Christ is present? That may not make it easier for us, yet it gives us a place to start; a new song to sing. "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law." 
[Romans 13:10] [and also see Mt 22:35-40, Mk 12:28-34, Lk 10:25-28, Jn 13:31-35]
      But of course the world seems over-run with fanatics, psychotics, and sociopaths, and also just plain disagreeable people, who don't understand that MY opinion is the correct one! And I'd paint my doorpost with whatever God wants if that would protect those I love, but it appears that is no longer an option. I must admit that I have trouble liking some people let alone loving them, especially people who intentionally do serious harm physically, emotionally, and spiritually to others. Yet try as I might, the reality is that I cannot change what anyone else does; I can only change my response to it. No easy task, no easy solution, but one certainty exists: Salvation is nearer to us now, and every passing moment brings it closer. The time is NOW to turn to Christ, to act for Christ, to love in, through, and as Christ - whew, hard work when there are no guarantees that our efforts will be successful or appreciated in this life. If only I could just wait a little longer to get in there and do all that I should. But, time's a-wastin', and for those of us who believe in, or at the very least want, eternal Salvation, Jesus lets us know that what we do HERE is directly applied to what we get THERE. But the LIGHT of Christ is always with us whether we are 1s, 2s, 3s or more, together in faith.


Leader:  ~ Most High Lord, Your Love, through Christ, will pass over our sins in the moment we seek and live into our true calling. Guide us to forgive the unforgivable, to live honorably and honestly, and to continue the work to love everyone we meet as if they are ourselves.

                                                       O Creator God                            
RESPONSE:                  We sing You a new song by our lives

~ Most High Lord, with the Radiance of Christ on the doorposts and lintels of and in our lives, we give witness of Your Unconditional Love to all who lead this World, this Country, and this Community, with express expectations that they will act for the safety, wholeness, and health of all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Creator God
                                                       We sing You a new song by our lives
~ Most High Lord, comfort and heal all who are chronically ill, live in the relentless demand of addiction, or have lost their sense of home, and refresh all who give them care. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       O Creator God
                                                       We You a new song by our lives
~ Most High Lord, grant us peace in knowing that our loved ones now blossom in the eternal sunshine of Life everlasting with You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Creator God
                                                       We sing You a new song by our lives

~ Most High Lord, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials… add your own petitions

                                                       O Creator God
                                                       We You a new song by our lives

~ Most High Lord, prepare a special place in Your eternal Kingdom for those who lead us in Your Church, who pray with us and for us, preach Your word to us, and shepherd us to spiritual growth in this Community of Faith in ever changing ways. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Creator God
                                                       We sing You a new song by our lives
The Celebrant adds:  O God, Holy and Mighty, awaken our hearts that in this short life, we may see ourselves as You see us, with love, compassion, and understanding for ourselves and all others. Illuminate our path with the Light of Christ, the armor that binds us against the darkness of sinful action and evil intent. We ask through Jesus, our Redeemer and Messiah, and the Holy Spirit, our Fount of Wisdom, who live and reign together with You, One God, Timeless, Immortal, and Infinite. Amen.

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