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, November 1, 2021

Prayers of the People: All Saints’ Sunday, 24th Sunday after Pentecost Yr B

For Sunday, November 7, 2021; Readings: Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9, Psalm 24, Revelation 21:1-6a, 
John 11:32-44 

 Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love... [Wisdom of Solomon 3:9]

   They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of Salvation. [Ps 24:5]

  [The] home of God is among mortals…God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more; for the first things have passed away. [Revelation 21:3b-4]

       The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." [John 11:44]

     Today we celebrate the Feast of All Saints. What comes to mind when you think of a Saint? For many of us, I expect, the mind-image that arises is of someone many centuries and continents removed from our everyday place and time in this world; someone who is an example of complete perfection in every facet of life that is unattainable for us mere mortals, and, if we're honest, living a life undesirably difficult for us to accomplish. The word “saint” comes from the Greek word hagios, which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious. Yet many saints and Saints, the ordinary and the officially designated, are/were flawed humans with real human frailties and struggles, even, shockingly, a few sins along the way. When and how then did their lives become so exemplary? The best discussion I have found is from Sister Joan Chittister*, which follows. This piece offers us some food for prayerful thought on ways we might discover our inner saint and seek to, at the very least, support the very basic tenets of the Greatest Commandment [Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28].

       "For centuries the church has confronted the human community with role models of greatness. We call them saints when what we really often mean to say is "icon," "star," "hero," ones so possessed by an internal vision of divine goodness that they give us a glimpse of the face of God in the center of the human. They give us a taste of the possibilities of greatness in ourselves. What qualities will be necessary to live a life of integrity, of holiness, in the twenty-first century? What models of those values, if any, have been raised up to show us the way to God in a world that is more preoccupied with the material than with the spiritual, more self-centered than selfless, more concerned with the mundane than with the divine, more parochial than cosmic? (They) are male and female, Christian and non-Christian, married and unmarried, religious and lay, pragmatists and artists, named saint by a process or proclaimed saint by the people who lived in the shadow of their lives. They are people like you and me. With one exception, perhaps. In their eyes burn the eyes of a God who sees injustice and decries it, sees poverty and condemns it, sees inequality and refuses it, sees wrong and demands that it be set right. These are people for whom the Law above the law is first in their lives. These are people who did not temporize with the evil in one system just because another system could have been worse. These are people who saw themselves clearly as the others' keepers. These are people who gave themselves entirely to the impulses of God for the sake of the world."

          Sr. Joan has not painted an easy picture of a lifestyle for our time-limited journey in earthly existence. There are choices to be made and sooner rather than later though there’s always an opportunity for us to seek God first above all else, to receive a blessing from the Lord and a just reward from the God of our Salvation. It requires some dedication, some intention, and some transformation. Jesus calls us to come out from our self-imposed tombs and unbind ourselves from the temptations that lock us away from our divine endowment. In that release we can change not only ourselves but the culture we live in. Author Parker Palmer** says it best, [We] can transform our culture only as we are inwardly transformed. So, let us begin, again, together.

*Sister Joan Chittister, Roman Catholic nun and former Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA, an activist, author and speaker on a variety of subjects such as spirituality, religious life, peace, and justice among others.  The excerpt is from: A Passion for Life: Fragments of the Face of God, Orbis, Maryknoll, NY, 1996

**Parker J. Palmer is an author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He is the founder and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage & Renewal.


Leader:  ~ O Lord of Hosts, O King of Glory, in these times of trial and travail, strengthen us to arise each day with inner peace, purity of heart, and complete trust in You. Fill us with humility, humanity, and hope following the example of the Saints who have gone before, and the saints who live among us now.

                                                      O God of Blessing                                                  
RESPONSE:               Help us unbind our faith  

~ O Lord of Hosts, our King of Glory, fill us with trust as You make all things new again, here in Your home among us. Endow us, who abide with You in love, with the perseverance to guide Local, National, and Global Leaders away from falsehoods and fraud toward the just reward of all who seek Your face. We pray especially for: Joseph, our President; Kamala, our Vice-President; Tom, Chris, and Lisa, our Members of Congress; John, our Governor; Matt, our County Executive; and Mike, our Mayor.

                                                     O God of Blessing                                            
                Help us unbind our faith

~ O Lord of Hosts, our King of Glory, deliver from distress all in anguish from illness of body, mind, or spirit, and infuse those who give them care with gentle and peaceful hearts. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need…

                                                     O God of Blessing                                            
                Help us unbind our faith    

~ O Lord of Hosts, our King of Glory, as You wipe the tears of all who mourn, keep us all in the knowledge that death will be no more in the joy and gladness of all who live again in Your Holy City, the New Jerusalem. We pray especially for…

                                                     O God of Blessing                                            
                Help us unbind our faith

~ O Lord of Hosts, our King of Glory, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials…

                                                     O God of Blessing                                            
                Help us unbind our faith                   

~ O Lord of Hosts, our King of Glory, inspire the hearts and minds of all who lead us in Your church, who encourage and remind us, through Word and Sacrament, how to lead faithful lives by Your grace and mercy. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                     O God of Blessing                                            
               Help us unbind our faith

The Celebrant adds: God of us all, Saints and Sinners together, set our hearts free from the prison of hate, the emptiness of self-importance, and the mindlessness of earthly privilege. May we each claim our divine endowment of hope, grace, and mercy as we strive to ascend the hill of the Lord and stand always in Your Holy Place. We ask through Jesus, our Redeemer Christ; in the Unity of the Holy Spirit; who together with You are One God above all, through all, and in all, for ever and ever.  Amen.


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