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 4, 2022

Prayers of the People: 1, 2, 3. ~ 5th Sunday after Pentecost '22 Yr C

For Sunday, July 10, 2022, Readings: Deuteronomy 30:9-14, Psalm 25:1-9, Colossians 1:1-14, Luke 10:25-37

    “Surely, this commandment…is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away…No, the word is very near to you; is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.” [Deuteronomy 30:11, 14]

     To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you…Gracious and upright is the Lord… He guides the humble in doing right and teaches his way to the lowly. [Psalm 25:1a, 7a, 8]

          May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from [God's] glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience... [Colossians 1:11]

        [Jesus] said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" [The lawyer] answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all our soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself…" But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my  neighbor?” [Luke 10:26-27, 29]

     We bounce around non-sequentially in the Old Testament in this season after Pentecost, and this week we slip in near the end of the book of Deuteronomy, only a few chapters shy of the end of Moses’ life. Moses, in this reading, is outlining the many positive ways following the Commandments will bear fruit for the still traveling Israelites – in body, in livestock, and in the soil. He wants them to understand the do’s and don’ts of life in God’s care. God delights in and prospers those turning their hearts and souls in obedience. Moses assures the gathered that the incentive to obey is strong because The Law is protective –  it helps resolve earthly squabbles, the dietary rules of the time are for physical health, and best of all, it is not too hard for you, nor is it far away...the word is very near…it is in your mouth and in your heart… The Psalmist confirms that God, to whom we lift our souls, is gracious and upright and guides the humble in doing right.
    Paul’s letter to the Colossians also speaks of bearing fruit through faith in the Gospel of Jesus. He, like Moses regarding The Law, tells them the Word of Jesus is close as the Gospel has come to them, and in turn, to us all. We will bear its fruit in every good work as we grow in the knowledge of God.
     The lawyer in the passage from Luke speaks words that are so familiar we could recite them yet we still find them difficult to live. This was a shocking parable in its time and might be in our own day if we use a substitute for Samaritan such as Satanist and highly contagious for the man beset by robbers on the road, or, still tragically, as our Friends of Color can attest, simply the wrong skin tone, or gay. Perhaps, in that way, we can understand the apprehension of those who passed by without helping. One’s adherence to The Law that forbade touching one who is “unclean” is extra-convenient when faced with a distasteful situation. And just imagine the utter amazement of on-lookers that this victim would be helped by so unlikely a person – a foreigner, a stranger, one not like themselves.
     The “Summary of the Law” as the sentence uttered by the lawyer is known, gives us everything we need to hear, understand, and accept as the way of the Gospel. It is a succinct and complete restatement of all of God’s Commandments. If we truly love God so completely in heart, soul, strength, and mind, we’d never consider coveting, killing, thieving, adultering, etc. Living as the personification of that deep love is our sole purpose for being as well as to absolutely love our neighbors as we love ourselves – that is, to love our neighbors as if they truly are our selves, all of us being created by and through God’s unlimitable, unconditional love.
     Then our lawyer, very learned in The Law, wanting to justify himself, continues and gets more legalistic in his question “who is my neighbor?” The answer is clear, simple, yet complex. From the parable Jesus shares, even the lawyer understands we are to show mercy to everyone, whether liked, unliked, feared, mistrusted, dangerous, contagious, annoying, wrong politics, wrong age or gender-identity-affinity, wrong religion or skin color or legal status, etc. Especially, anyone who needs help is our neighbor, and we become as the Samaritan when we have or can find the means or ability to gather other neighbors to give help. Our neighbor is us. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot love God or our neighbor. If we are mistreating our neighbor, we are reflecting how we love – or don’t love or are afraid to love – ourselves. We’ve too long been acculturated to worry about being conceited instead of loving ourselves for the miracle of Creation that we are, warts, flaws, and all; and as a temple of God, Our Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who dwell within us.
     Paul prayed, as we must, for our strength, endurance, and patience from God. The Samaritan showed mercy ~ above and beyond ~ Jesus us tells us to go and do likewise. We must hear, taste, ingest, digest, live into, and breathe through the words again: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. Love God. Love you. Love your neighbor. 1, 2, 3. It is Simple. It is Difficult. It is extremely Necessary, now more than ever.


Leader:  ~ O Gracious Lord, free us from the darkness of the fear and suspicion of those, even if unlike ourselves, who are our neighbors in Your sight. Open us to the knowledge of Your will through Your word already within us, that our acts of love and kindness will be a true measure of our full faith in Christ.

                                                 O God of Goodness and Love
 RESPONSE:         To You we lift our souls

~  O Gracious Lord, grant enduring patience and soul support to those upright and honorable people who uphold the principles of integrity, compassion, and mercy, serving now in national and local governments, across Your Earth. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                  O God of Goodness and Love
                                                  To You we lift our souls

~  O Gracious Lord, rescue and give hope to the poor, the weak, and the sick, and give comfort and strength to all who assist them. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                   O God of Goodness and Love
                                                   To You we lift our souls    

~ O Gracious Lord, give rest to the hearts of those who grieve, as all who have died now shine in the eternal light of Christ’s heavenly peace. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                    O God of Goodness and Love
                                                    To You we lift our souls

~ O Gracious Lord, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                     O God of Goodness and Love
                                                     To You we lift our souls                

~ O Gracious Lord, we look to our faithful ministers of Your Word and Sacraments as our guides of truth in action. Endow them with steadfast faith to urge us in humility along right pathways to share in the inheritance of the saints. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                     O God of Goodness and Love
                                                     To You we lift our souls                                                                                                   

The Celebrant adds: O God of our Salvation, fill us with the spiritual understanding and wisdom to lead lives worthy of You, bearing the fruit of the Gospel to our neighbors, and ourselves, being made strong in Your glorious power. We ask through the forgiveness and redemption of Jesus, our Christ; and by the love of the Holy Spirit, 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:

No comments:

Post a Comment