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, July 5, 2021

Prayers of the People: Plumb the Height ~ 7th Sunday after Pentecost '21 Yr B

For Sunday, July 11, 2021; Readings: Amos 7:7-15, Psalm 85:8-13, Ephesians 1:3-14, Mark 6:14-29

      …the Lord was standing beside a wall with a plumb line in his hand…the Lord said to me…’what do you see?” And I said, ‘A plumb line.’ Then the Lord said, ‘See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by…’ [Amos 7:7-8]

      [The Lord God]…is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to him. [Psalm 85:8b]

     Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places...In him we have redemption, through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace...you...when you...had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the...Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory. [Ephesians 1:1-3, 7,13,14]

      When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it." [Mark 6:22]

     Last week, God told Ezekiel to stand up in order for God to speak to him. This week, the newly-minted and unlikely prophet, Amos, sees God holding a plumb line. God tells him, in effect, that he’s going to use it in the midst of my people Israel. The people of Israel have gotten overly comfortable as the chosen ones, and they will have a rude awakening when they discover through this plumb line that they are not measuring up to God’s expectations as his favorites. Amos is charged with announcing the bad news about what is coming. The local and popular prophet Amaziah tries to scare Amos off but to no avail. Amos knows he is not the usual prophet material, but he also knows God’s voice and how to answer the command, bad news and all.
    The Psalmist then, in one of the most lyrical of psalms, brings us to an understanding of God’s compassion in this excerpt. God speaking peace to his faithful people…mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other… the beauty of this poetry offers hope and healing to us all after the news of the punishment of Israel in Amos.
    Paul, in this letter to the church in Ephesus, while cooling his heels in a Roman prison, also counteracts the harshness for Israel by proclaiming that Christ offers peace to everyone; God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Paul tells the Gentiles and Jews who believed in Jesus, that it is God's purpose for all to be united, as God's own people, living holy and blameless lives through the redemption of Christ. By the riches of grace, we are forgiven our trespasses and sealed by the Holy Spirit. As we set our life's purpose to live in obedience, giving praise to God, and with our hope in Christ, we will reap the reward of our inheritance, life eternal in God’s Kingdom.
     Mark moves us to a later time in the story of Israel. Here we have Herod Antipas, a son of King Herod the Great, now the local governor, tetrarch, in Galilee. The famous dance of his daughter left him and his guests so well pleased and entertained that Herod rashly and boastfully promised her anything, even half his kingdom. When she consulted charming mommy, daughter dearest asked Herod for John the Baptizer’s head. Herod, it seems, actually liked listening to John even if fearful of him. But more fearful was he of the appearance of weakness in front of his guests, and dancing back his own grief over the request, Herod relented, and John soon arrived served up on a platter, having parted company with the remainder of his body.
      In terms of the poetry of the psalmist proclaiming God granting prosperity, and Paul’s positive pronouncement of forgiveness and redemption, there is still the matter of our personal acceptance. The almost fine print from Paul says when you have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him then you/we are marked with the Holy Spirit’s seal. God and Jesus want us to have all that is offered. Our acceptance is demonstrated when we stand tall and upright in our faith, hearing, believing, and living as holy and blameless as we can, with all wisdom and insight he has made known to us. Let us seek to measure up whenever God will plumb the height of our commitment and the depth of our intent.


Leader:  ~ O Lord, Holy and Mighty, fill us with the desire to be as upright and faithful as a plumb line is straight, that with the wisdom and insight You have given us, we may set our hope on Christ in all that we say and all that we do.

                                                            Eternal God of Glory                                                        
      RESPONSE:   We turn our hearts to You         

~ O Lord, Holy and Mighty, transform and endow with character, honor, and integrity, all who hold power on this Earth, in our Nation, and throughout our Community. Guide us all away from falsehood or fraud and toward decisions and actions of mercy, justice, and peace for all Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                            Eternal God of Glory       
                                                            We turn our hearts to You         

~ O Lord, Holy and Mighty, lavish your healing grace on those struggling with chronic pain or the devastation of a difficult diagnosis, and give strength to all who care for their needs. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                            Eternal God of Glory       
                                                            We turn our hearts to You    

~ O Lord, Holy and Mighty, slow the tears of those who mourn, for the lights of those we have sent ahead now shine more brightly, and with heavenly joy, now and forever in You. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                            Eternal God of Glory       
                                                            We turn our hearts to You

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

                                                            Eternal God of Glory       
                                                            We turn our hearts to You                   

~ O Lord, Holy and Mighty, we give You great thanks for those among us who have heard, believed, and shared Your Word of Truth. Bless those who have studied, prayed, and then been chosen to teach and preach the Gospel of Salvation to us to learn and to live. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                            Eternal God of Glory       
                                                            We turn our hearts to You

The Celebrant adds: God of Presence and Promise, from within the mystery of Your Will, we receive the riches of grace granting us the forgiveness of our trespasses, the gift of every spiritual blessing, and the inheritance of redemption through Your Holy Son. Grant us each the willingness and courage to pledge ourselves to the praise and glory of Your name, through every word and action of our earthly lives. We ask through Jesus the Christ, our Redeemer; and the Seal of the Holy Spirit, who together with You, reign as One God, now and forever. Amen.

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