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, April 12, 2021

Prayers of the People: Lunch Guest ~ 3rd Sunday of Easter '21 Yr B

For Sunday, April 18, 2021, Readings: Acts 3:12-19, Psalm 4, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48

      And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you. [Acts 3:16]

            Many are saying, "Oh, that we might see better times!"...You have put gladness in my heart...for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety. [Psalm 4, 6a, 7a, 8b]

           You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins...Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. [1 John 3:5-6a, 7b]

...Jesus himself stood among the disciples and said to them, "Peace be with you"...Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." [Luke 24: 36b, 45-48]

         How much easier it was for the Disciples when Jesus returned fully alive again, and able to speak to and eat with them, answer their questions in person, and explain the plan. In those "simpler times" all they really had to deal with was fear for their lives in an adverse political climate, uncertainty in their futures, and the continuing disbelief and wonder of what they were actually experiencing.
       So much for simpler times. There are so very many today, in this country and around the globe, who are facing daily violence and lethal persecution just for being who they are and what they believe, without having a visible Jesus in their midst. And who of us are certain about what the future holds; a future that could change dramatically and instantly? 
       We can only rely on the Scriptures to tell us how things were so that we also may try to believe as the original disciples did. Yet given our familiarity of the readings, how much do we hear and think about now? How can we bring those Scriptures alive and into our consciousness anytime, anywhere, any season? 
      The season of Eastertide, joy-filled as it is meant to be, abounds with reminders of our responsibility for ongoing repentance. Repent is such a bristle-y word ~ didn't we finish with that in Lent? Short answer, no! The word has been loaded with negative and fearful connotations for millennia. It quite simply means to turn toward. Whether we are complacent, distracted, or knowingly neglectful, we all turn away from the call of Jesus and the attention to our faith from time to time, briefly or for longer periods. After awhile, something may trigger a tiny longing that may grow deeper into wanting to reconnect for the soul-fulfillment of faith and worship. Perhaps a death in the family or among friends, a personal diagnosis, or a sudden realization of our own aging and mortality. How then to turn toward Christ once more?
     Here's a quick first step, an easy prayer-form. It may even sound trite but no one but you need know. Simply call out the name of Jesus and he's there, with you, immediately
    That's it ~ and, you can even sing it! Pick out a love song in rock, soul, rap, heavy metal ~ whatever suits you. Any love song can be directed to Jesus. Some of you might know the lyrics to that old James Taylor song: Just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I'll come running, to see you again! Click here to sing your prayer: James Taylor - You've Got a Friend and he'll be there, yeah, he'll be there. And what you feel inside will show outside and that will be your witness and your proclamation that repentance is the key to the forgiveness of our sins, leading you to turn toward Christ with strengthened faith, trust, and a new spiritual lease on life. Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall! Invite Jesus to lunch with you. He likes fish.


Leader:  ~ Jesus, our Christ and our Peace, as You stood among the disciples then, You stand among us still and call us to the actions of hope and love that will purify our souls. Release us from the doubts and temptations that lure us from Your presence that, by our repentance, we may dwell in the spiritual safety offered by Your love and forgiveness.

                                                         O Lord of Wonders
RESPONSE:     Strengthen our faith and trust         

~ Jesus, our Christ and our Peace, infuse our elected, appointed, or self-declared leaders with wisdom, compassion, and the ways of justice and mercy as they chart the course of our lives on our Planet, in our Nation, and in our Community. Fill us with the courage and grace to hold You in our hearts as we hold them accountable. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Wonders
                                                       Strengthen our faith and trust

~ Jesus, our Christ and our Peace, calm the fears and pain for all suffer through physical or emotional illness, addiction or despair, and grant respite to those who provide support. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Wonders
                                                       Strengthen our faith and trust 

~ Jesus, our Christ and our Peace, ease our grieving hearts and minds with the knowledge and comfort that those who have joined You in the glory of Resurrection, now dwell in the eternal gladness and freedom of Salvation. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Wonders
                                                       Strengthen our faith and trust

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

                                                       O Lord of Wonders
                                                       Strengthen our faith and trust     

~ Jesus, our Christ and our Peace, as the Disciples in their time, our leaders in Your Church today give witness to the truth of Your words and the fullness of life in following You. Energize their message to engage us with their fervor that we may stride confidently and reverently into each day together, proclaiming You by thought, word, and action. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord of Wonders
                                                       Strengthen our faith and trust

The Celebrant adds:  God of the Beginning, the Now, and of all that is to Come, raise us as You raised our Christ, into the faithfulness of heart, mind, and soul that leads us to the glory and the better times with You. We ask through the name of Jesus, our Risen Savior; and the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier; who together with You reign as One God, forever and ever. Amen.

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