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, February 22, 2021

Prayers of the People: Three Rs + 1 ~ 2nd Sunday in Lent '21 Yr B

For Sunday, February 28, 2021; Readings: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:22-30, Romans 4:13-25, 
Mark 8:31-38

     When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared...and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. ...No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham...And I will make my covenant between me and you...to be God to you and to your offspring after you. [Genesis 17:1-2a, 5a, 10a]

       My praise is of him in the great assembly; I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him...My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; they shall be known as the LORD'S for ever. [Psalm 22:24, 29]

      For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith...[Abraham] grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God...For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all...who share the faith of Abraham. [Romans 4:13, 16, 20b]

      But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things...For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? [Mark 8:33, 36]

      A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff. [George Carlin]

        In this second week of Lent, Abram and Sarai become Abraham and Sarah, as God now names them. God then establishes a covenant with Abraham and his descendants forever. The Psalmist instructs us in the praise of God and the great and multiple reasons for it.
        Paul is explaining Abraham's righteousness of faith. In other words, his moral and virtuous faithfulness in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. The promise of Abraham’s inheritance comes not through the Law, but through his strength of faith. Paul then says that Abraham, hoping against hope, believed what God told him about all that was to come. Swiss theologian Heinrich Emil Brunner [1899-1966] once said that What oxygen is for lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life. And so, with hope in place, Abraham and Sarah, with a few hiccups along the way, yet still giving glory to God, journeyed on. Abraham, giving witness to his faith repeatedly, and hope and meaning to all our lives, has ultimately become the patriarch of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; in that, we are all Children of Abraham. For Christians, he is the prototype of faith in the God that brings us to Jesus.
       In the Gospel reading from Mark, Jesus gets serious with the disciples about his imminent future. Peter decides to challenge these notions of the suffering and death to come, and Jesus, in a stunning and stern moment, rebukes Peter, calling him Satan!  This is a direct cue for us. To continue setting our minds on human things and not divine in everyday life, is to give us pause, to stop for a moment and think about the words of Jesus: For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? If we are so tied to “this” life, losing it for the sake of Jesus and for the sake of the Gospel is neither comfortable nor comforting to think about.
        Sure, I know “I can’t take it with me” but there’s stuff I want while I’m here. What’s wrong with having nice things and living well? There’s not so much wrong with it, but the real question is: when is enough enough? The constant acquiring of more “stuff” may be more of a detriment to our souls and spirits than we recognize, and, may be more about trying to fill a hole in our spirits through material satisfaction rather than a faith-journey with Christ.
       There is much to be gained in this human experience in the simplicity of and gratitude for life itself, and through discarding a false sense of need for so many possessions. We are then free to savor the beauty of God’s presence in the pleasure of a sunset, a child’s glee, a piece of music or art, or even better, in the mutually fulfilling act of giving peace to another’s soul through a smile, a meal, or just listening.
       Speaking of our faith publicly ~ witnessing ~ is difficult for many of us. But, our human sojourn is brief, and we know not the day nor the hour that it will end, no matter who we are or who we think we are.
      As disciples of Christ in our own day, even as we ourselves often push forward with hope against hope, we are called to bear personal witness to the glory of God in Jesus and live out our days by, in, and for the sake of the Gospel. If we do, we are given the full protection of God’s everlasting covenant. The gift of Lent is the time to explore these three Rs: Reflect, Repent, and Re-start our true and faithful life. Plus another R, Reward, begins in this life and grows in the next.


Leader:  ~ O God Almighty, fill us with the faithfulness of Abraham and guide us to seek the names You give to our souls. Open us to receive, and accept, the bond of Your everlasting covenant, as we give witness to Your saving deeds with our own faith, our praise, and our action.

                                                   O Lord of Presence and Promise
RESPONSE:    Set our minds on You        

~ O God Almighty, infuse the leaders of our Planet, our Country, and our Community with reason, justice, and humanity, that they may govern with clarity of judgment and charity of spirit. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Presence and Promise
                                                       Set our minds on You

~ O God Almighty, hear the cries and grant Your healing grace to all who are ill in body, mind, or spirit, and grant respite for those who tend their needs. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Presence and Promise
                                                       Set our minds on You    

~ O God Almighty, we commend to Your care all who sleep in the earth, yet whose souls You give life to again, in Your everlasting peace and glory. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Presence and Promise
                                                       Set our minds on You

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

                                                       O Lord of Presence and Promise
                                                       Set our minds on You        

~ O God Almighty, nourish the faith of all who lead us in Your Church with the Gospel’s unchangeable Truth, as they walk with us toward salvation in Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Presence and Promise
                                                       Set our minds on You

The Celebrant adds: God of Abraham, Sarah, and all Your People, You promise us life unending and love without limit for the mere price of our enduring faith. We come to You imperfect, yet willing to use these days of Lent and beyond, for resisting the temptations of this life in exchange for bliss and blessedness in the next. We ask this through Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, and Your Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier, who live and reign with You, One God, forever and ever.  Amen.

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