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, June 13, 2022

Prayers of the People: Swimming is Optional ~ 2nd Sunday after Pentecost '22 Yr C

For Sunday, June 19, 2022; Readings: Isaiah 65:1-9, Psalm 22:18-27, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 8:26-39

I was ready to be…found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am…to a nation that did not call on my name. I held out my hands to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices. [Isaiah 65:1-2]

    Be not far away, O Lord; you are my strength; hasten to help me. [Psalm 22:18]

   There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise. [Galatians 3:28-29]

   Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.  [Luke 8:32-33]

      Why is there never a herd of scape-pigs around when you need one? Well, of course they really are all over as it's so very easy to jump on the closest group of "THEM" to blame for whatever demon(s) or demonic activities one believes of another individual or group. Also, of course, if Jesus were to cast the demons into the swine today, he would be overwhelmed with a huge backlash from bacon addicts.
      When this Gospel appeared as a previous Year C reading for which I wrote in 2016, it was just after the horrible tragedy in the nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which, itself, was just a year after the jolting tragedy in a Church Bible Study Group in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. Would that we could point to all being much improved in the world, in this country ~ how do we count the times and ways of horror-filled and hate-filled events just since then? Just in the last month? This past weekend? All too soon again? How do we move always forward, standing faithful and strong in the face of such ongoing fear-filled despair?
      The Lectionary, the table of appointed readings, offers an optional Old Testament reading from 1st Kings and the Psalm for this Sunday, that differs from what I am using here, though the Epistle and Gospel are the same. The option is Psalm 42 which I commend to your reading. The psalmist is in lament, depressed, mocked, and yet for all his despairing he is still speaking to God, in memory of a time when God felt closer. He also speaks in hope as if feeling and knowing somehow ~ by faith? ~ that the time will come when he will be able to give thanksgiving to God once again. This time, in Psalm 22, although the opening is also a lament, we are beginning with the later part in which the Psalmist, still beset by fear of anguish to come (aren’t we all?), is filled with the hope of God’s nearness and, as a guide to worship, gives us reasons to praise the God who answers prayer and cares for all who turn in God’s direction. We, too, must turn toward God when all is frightening, yet also, when things are good and joyful to give thanks ~ how easy it is to forget in the better times.
      Paul reminds us, in his letter to the Galatians, that we are all one in Christ and also that we remain the children of Abraham. At the end of this week’s Gospel from Luke, Jesus tells the man freed of demons: Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you. Quite a contrast to the usual lament of Why have you [God] forgotten me? How, indeed, do we declare how much God has done for us in the midst of what has been done to so many in our midst?
      Let us take the time to breathe, clinging to faith, to hope, and respect for one another. Hope and respect are especially necessary this Sunday, June 19th, which is the prelude for a Federal HolidayJuneteenth, on Monday, that commemorates the arrival of Union Army General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, to formally announce the end of slavery in Texas, 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.*
     Let us be still and listen for God in the silence of our souls, let us open our hearts to smile with the giggles of children, and be alight with the joy of sunrise breaking through a long dark night. Let us continuously re-claim our faith, through prayer and by action ~ however tenuous in the difficult times ~ believing in the power of God to guide us through until we can at last praise the Lord, stand in awe, and give glory. Let us be released from those piggies of doubt, anger, hatred, fear, and greed, and send them off for an eternal swim! (Calm down, bacon lovers, I’m only speaking metaphorically!) 
     Most of all, let us always remember that we are marked as Christ's own forever in Baptism, either through water or desire. Swimming is optional.

* For more Juneteenth information click link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juneteenth


Leader:  ~ Faithful Loving God, teach us, again, to always know Your Presence within us, that we are all Your children through faith in Christ Jesus, and heirs of Abraham according to Your Promise.

                                   Jesus, Son of God
    RESPONSE:        Our Healer and Redeemer            

~ Faithful Loving God, we call upon Your guidance as we stand before the rulers and regimes on this Earth, in our Nation, and in our Community. Hasten to help us in pressing for leaders to turn to honorable and principled governance for the good of all Your people, especially in the causes of Justice, Mercy, and Peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                    Jesus, Son of God
                                    Our Healer and Redeemer

~ Faithful Loving God, in your loving-kindness make your face to shine upon those among us, those known to us, and those unknown, who suffer through chronic pain, addiction, or distress in spirit or in life, and grant refreshment to all who give them care. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                     Jesus, Son of God
                                     Our Healer and Redeemer

~ Faithful Loving God, ease the hearts of all who grieve, as those loved in our living memory are now risen in the joy and glory of eternal life. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                      Jesus, Son of God
                                      Our Healer and Redeemer 

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

                                      Jesus, Son of God
                                      Our Healer and Redeemer                 

~ Faithful Loving God, grant special grace this day to all who are chosen and ordained to lead us in your Church. As they bring us your Word and Sacraments, they teach us how to declare all that you have done for us, in us, and through us.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                       Jesus, Son of God
                                       Our Healer and Redeemer

The Celebrant adds: Most High God, Creator of All Humankind, on this auspicious date of Juneteenth, release us from any and all unholy possession that turns us away from You. Keep us mindful of the hope and freedom granted us through Christ, and fill us with the faith and compassion to proclaim Your Name by all that we are and all that we do. We ask through Jesus, our Teacher of Love in Action; and the Holy Spirit, the Spark that ignites our Souls; who together with You are One God forever and ever.  Amen.

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