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, March 15, 2021

Prayers of the People: Peddle Toward Forever ~ 5th Sunday in Lent '21 Yr B

For Sunday, March 18, 2018, Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:1-13, Hebrews 5:5-10, John 12:20-33

    ...I will make a new covenant...I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts...I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. [Jeremiah 31:31, 33b, 34b]

      Have mercy on me, O God...in your great compassion...Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me...Give me the joy of your saving help and sustain me with your bountiful spirit. [Psalm 51:1,11, 13]

     Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered...he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him... [Hebrews 5:8a, 9b]

     Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. [John 12:24]

       From the beginnings of formal Christian/Church Liturgy until the late 1950s, the 5th Sunday in Lent was known across many liturgical denominations as Passion Sunday, and it marked the beginning of a two-week Passiontide. The 6th Sunday was Palm Sunday with the Passion cycle culminating on Good Friday, as we are to then solemnly await the news of the Resurrection on Easter Day. There are a few traditionalists that still follow that liturgical line but these days in our corner of Episcopal/Anglican Land, the official two weeks of Passiontide is no longer observed in that way. The 6th Sunday in Lent is the combined Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday.
      The readings for this 5th Sunday and for all of Lent have been preparing us for what lies ahead for Jesus, as he was preparing those who were following him in that time. Of course, we know the rest of the story, and his real-time followers did not at this point. But what does it all mean to me now, in my daily life?
      In this second year of virtual liturgy per pandemic, in this 5th week in Lent, I find myself, as much as possible, wanting to suspend my "knowledge" of the biblical events to come and letting the Scripture and Liturgy carry me as if I were going through them for the first time. I will strive to pay attention to each reading, each moment of the Liturgy, and think about what is being said to me, and what it is teaching me. What will I experience? What will I learn? How might living into the spirit of these readings change the direction of my life? Will I let them?
     Jeremiah is teaching us of a New Covenant, not in content so much as in form, that is, God has written on, inscribed upon, fully internalized The Law in our hearts; we know it; it is ours. The Psalmist brings us the beauty and poignancy of David’s remorseful and repentant voice after his unlawful taking of Bathsheba and the killing of Uriah. And Paul heightens our awareness of Jesus as our Great High Priest [see Hebrews 7:1-22 for more about Melchizedek].
     This week, Jesus tells his disciples about the grain of wheat that must die in order to bear fruit. The cycle of this grain’s death begets new life that bears fruit, is harvested, planted, and dies, to beget new life as this cycle repeats. 
     As we move through these remaining two weeks of Lent, we are to begin to crack open the grains of Christ’s truth and God’s Law within us, to die to the unnecessary of this Life, that we may blossom into the fulness of Christ, and live on to harvest the fruit of our souls in the bounty of eternal life. Now is the time to crank up the Life-Cycle and peddle toward the best of forever. 


Leader:  ~ O God of Loving Kindness, You have written on our hearts, granted us unlimited pardon, and still we look away toward earthly wants. Let us see and hear again, through the faith we have and the faith we want, that we will blossom into the full fruits of eternal life in Christ.

                                                      O Lord, our God
RESPONSE:       Your Saving Help is our Joy
~ O God of Loving Kindness, create clean hearts, renew right spirits, and awaken Your written Law within the hearts of all political leaders on this Planet, so that their actions will restore all people to their rightful justice, mercy, and peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Your Saving Help is our Joy

~ O God of Loving Kindness, calm the fears and pain of all who are afflicted by illness, turmoil, or doubt, and refresh the energy of all who give them care. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Your Saving Help is our Joy 

~ O God of Loving Kindness, we offer our praise and unending gratitude for the joy and gladness of those we love, now alive again forever in Your glorious and bountiful Spirit.  We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Your Saving Help is our Joy

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

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Your Saving Help is our Joy               

~ O God of Loving Kindness, grant special grace and blessings to all who are anointed to bring us Your Word and Sacraments, that we all may know and live in the reconciling love of Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                       Your Saving Help is our Joy

The Celebrant adds: Almighty and Eternal God, break us out of our self-protecting shells to die to temporal distractions, that, rooted in the holy ground of Christ, our spiritual fruitfulness may nourish our souls as You guide us all into eternal life. We ask through Jesus, our great High Priest; and the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier; who together with You, live, love, and reign as One God, now and forever. Amen.

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