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 7, 2022

Prayers of the People: Dancing in Faith ~ 6th Sunday after the Epiphany '22 Year C

For Sunday, February 13, 2022; Readings: Jeremiah 17:5-10, Psalm 1, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, Luke 6:17-26

    Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord…Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord…I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to…the fruit of their doings. [Jeremiah 17:5, 7, 1]

  Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked…their delight is in the law of the Lord… [Psalm 1:1a, 2a]

  Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead…But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. [1 Corinthians 15:12, 20]

     And all in the crowd were trying to touch [Jesus], for power came out from him and healed all of them…And he looked up at his disciples and said: Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God…But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation… [Luke 6:19-20, 24]

      This Sunday we are treated to readings we don’t often get to in the season after the Epiphany. Owing to the date of Easter derived from the Lunar calendar, some years have fewer Sundays in this season. So on this, our Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany we are confronted by the prophetic and instructive blessings and woes. The Good News/Bad News Sunday.
      Jeremiah starts us off with similar wording to Psalm 1 which follows in the appointed lectionary. Jeremiah would have known this Psalm and his perspective is to trust in God. He tells his audience, and us, that those who trust in mere mortals and whose hearts turn away…shall be like a shrub in the desert…in the parched places…uninhabited salt land. Those who trust in the Lord are blessed, and like a tree planted by water have strong roots and nothing to fear, even when heat comes. Jeremiah further says that the Lord will test the minds and hearts and give each what is deserved, according to their ways.
      The Psalmist tells us a slightly different rendering with essentially the same outcome. God knows what we’re up to and we will prosper if we live according the God’s law, however, the way of the wicked is doomed.
       Paul, writing to the Corinthians, was engaging them to move beyond believing only what could be seen. The Pharisees, of which Paul is reputed to have been one, is one sect of Judaism that believes in an afterlife. Some in Corinth were questioning resurrection in general. Paul argued that if there was no resurrection from the dead then Christ would not be raised and they would all retain their sins. A conundrum for the sophisticated Corinthians to ponder as they certainly didn’t want to be merely like the rest of human-kind. Paul continued his work with them through the end of this and beyond into his second letter to them.
       Luke’s version of the Beatitudes is similar yet distinctly different than the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew [Mt 5:1-12]. As Jesus arrived at a level place there was a great crowd who had come to hear him and be healed. He then spoke to his disciples and delivered a set of 4 blessings and a set of 4 woes, two states of being or of life, from which to choose. This is not sweetness and light, even for the blessed. Sacrifice and self-denial, persecution, and deprivation doesn’t sound much like a blessing. But then, those who are living high off the fat now will face complete reversal of fortune when, as the Psalmist says, the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes. Faith is tested every day in various ways in this human existence. Choice of lifestyle is not available to everyone when there are significant hardships. Yet for those who are able to have a high, even luxurious living standard, it is difficult to choose Christ when considerable distraction and temptation abound in the arenas of instant gratification.
      Hope in Christ is what Paul is giving us. Jeremiah, the Psalmist, and Jesus, all give us the options in how to live life. Nothing is easy but there is always hope. God knows whatever we choose and Jesus IS Risen which is the VERY Good News and always within us. A quote I once read, from the late Brazilian theologian Rubem A. Alvez, brings it home for me: Hope is hearing the melody of the future – faith is dancing to it today.

Leader:  ~ All-Knowing God, guide us through our darkest and weakest moments with the assurance of Your blessings, helping us to remain rooted deeply in faith with delight in Your law.
                                                     O Lord, our Strength 
            RESPONSE:              We put our trust in You
~ All-Knowing God, turn all leaders of government, across Your Creation, away from the false counsel of cursed mortals with wicked intent, toward choosing to prosper all of Your beloved, and standing upright when judgment comes. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                       O Lord, our Strength
                                                       We put our trust in You
~ All-Knowing God, embrace the hearts of all who are seriously ill, addicted, or life-weary, and give energy to those who see to their care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions
                                                       O Lord, our Strength
                                                       We put our trust in You
~ All-Knowing God, surround those who mourn with Your perfect peace, as the glory and joy of eternity now enfold those we have sent ahead to You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                       O Lord, our Strength
                                                       We put our trust in You
~ All-Knowing God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions
                                                       O Lord, our Strength
                                                       We put our trust in You
~ All-Knowing God, grant all who lead us in Your Church with wise and gracious spirits, as they guide each of us and themselves, toward the radiance of everlasting life in You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                       O Lord, our Strength
                                                       We put our trust in You
The Celebrant adds: God of Hope and Healing, as you test our minds and search our hearts, keep us mindful of the choices we make in all that we do. Endow us with the courage to accept and trust Your blessings where we are, and to be spared the woes of those whose hearts turn away. We ask through Jesus, our Risen Christ; and the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of our Souls; who together with You are One God, now and forever. Amen.

All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution and edited for local use as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. For more information or comments, contact: Leeosophy@gmail.com

No comments:

Post a Comment