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, September 14, 2020

Prayers of the People: Just Deserves ~ 16th Sunday after Pentecost '20 Yr A

For Sunday, September 20, 2020, Readings: Exodus 16:2-15, Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45, Philippians 1:21-30, Matthew 20:1-16

       The Israelites said to [Moses and Aaron], "If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we...ate our fill of bread..." [Exodus 16:3a]

             Glory in his holy Name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Search for the LORD and his strength; continually seek his face. [Psalm 105:3-4]

         Only, live your life in a manner worth of the gospel of Christ...standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. 
[Philippians 1:27-28]

           When the first came, they thought they'd receive more...they grumbled against the landowner. But he replied to one of them..."Take what belongs to you. I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you..." So the last will be first, and the first will be last. 
 [Matthew 20:10a, 11b, 13a, 14, 16]

        God rescued the Israelites from generations of horrific slavery and tortuous lives. After sending plague upon plague to dazzle Pharaoh and persuade him to Let God's People GO. When Pharoah said yes and then changed his mind, God parted The Red (aka Reed) Sea so they could still escape. With the initial lack of food and water, the euphoria of getting away gave way to despair for the loss of what they'd left behind. But the unknown road became more frightening than the known hardships they had fled, even with the proven leadership of Moses and Aaron and their demonstrated relationship with God. And so the whole congregation complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, "If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt..." [Exodus 16:2-3, emphasis added] God followed through on another promise and generously provided the meat and bread to fill them but it wouldn't be the last time they grumbled. Perhaps they didn't feel that they had gotten what they expected or what they felt they deserved. In any case, even after their release from Egypt, the parting of the Sea, the meals delivered by frost and wing, they hadn't learned to trust in God.
       The vineyard laborers in the parable of Jesus aren't happy that the Landowner is simply using his prerogative to be generous. Same pay for an hour's work for the last hour as for a full day - who wouldn't get upset about that? Don't those who worked longer and did more work deserve more? How many of us Good Christian People would grumble about that Landowner in the parking lot? If only we could feel - and stop - the creeping envy, greed, and judgment filling us. If only we could freely accept someone’s simple generosity to another without feeling as if we were somehow betrayed. Do we ever learn?
        It's a difficult balance to fight for equity and fairness for ourselves and others in our temporal life, while relinquishing jealousy and anger at not getting what we perceive is deserved.  God isn't leading us by clouds and pillars of fire these days, but by the Word of Christ. Am I seeking it first? Am I hearing? Am I listening? Am I following? Am I trusting? My prayer is to try to find that balance, to not leave releasing envy and grumbling to the last; and, oh yes: Dear Lord, if only You will save me from all that I just deserve...   


Leader:  ~ Most Generous God, if only we could remember that Your love for us is limitless as we grumble and complain about fairness in this life. Fill us again with the Living Bread to stand firm with one spirit, to strive together with one mind, for the faith in Christ’s Gospel now, and for the Life to come.

  O Lord, our God                                         
RESPONSE:     Keep us Gospel worthy

~ Most Generous God, grant us a voice that will move political leaders locally, nationally, and globally to act always on behalf of humanity, mercy, and justice. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Keep us Gospel worthy                                                      

~  Most Generous God, enfold all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit into Your loving Cloud of Hope, and lift the spirits of those who give them care.  We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Keep us Gospel worthy 
~  Most Generous God, we commend to Your eternal embrace all, still loved in this life, who now live again and forever with Christ. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Keep us Gospel worthy

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

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Keep us Gospel worthy
~ Most Generous God, grant unlimited energy and ceaseless wisdom to all who have been chosen to elevate Your Church into a vibrant community of faith in every circumstance of Life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions 

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Keep us Gospel worthy

The Celebrant adds: O God of Eternal Permanence, compel our souls to desire life with Christ first in our every thought and action, and not leave the release of all judgment, greed, and envy within us to the last. We ask this grace through Jesus, our Hope and our Salvation; and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Sanctifier; who live and reign together with You, now and forever.  Amen. 

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