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, September 12, 2022

Prayers of the People: For the Love Of... ~ 15th Sunday after Pentecost '22 Yr C

For Sunday, 22, 2019, Readings: Amos 8:4-7, Psalm 113, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 16:1-13

      Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land…The Lord had sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. [Amos 8:4, 7]

      Hallelujah! Give praise, you servants of the Lord; praise the Name of the Lord…The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory is above the heavens. [Psalm 113: 1, 4]

     For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all... [1 Timothy 2:5-6a] 

     Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?...You cannot serve God and wealth. [Luke 16:10-11, 13b]

       Wealth and Power are the hallmarks of success and prosperity; the American Dream, the primary aspiration that our western culture teaches. Of course, Americans are far from alone in this dream. If we are among those who declare themselves as believers in God, we may also want to believe that once those material goals are achieved, then we will work on the details of faith, hope, and charity. If we slip into working overly diligently on material goals perhaps our faith goals will fall by the wayside.
     Martin Luther referred to Mammon, the ancient name for material gains though greed, as "the most common god on earth." Of course, there is a serious distinction between those who would be greedy or dishonestly wealthy, and those who would use their wealth to honestly and faithfully prosper others. Most of us are at least a little bit guilty of wanting and pursuing “more.” Few of us haven't played a few games of chance and fantasized about all we would be able to have and to do if we won. Yet formal studies say that nearly 70% of those who win extraordinary payoffs are bankrupt within 7 years. Too much of a good thing, or a bad thing? Perhaps merely a case of discovering that having all that we want still isn't enough. For some, the desperate seeking of greater material wealth and power becomes an unwitting addiction, driving them into a downward spiral of self-destruction and relational ruin.
    Self-examination is key when Jesus calls us to account on how faithful and honest we are in little and big matters. What is our true intent? Is a little lottery dreaming sinful? Hardly, unless it takes up too many waking minutes, too much of our necessary income, and/or harms oneself or another. The writer of the letter of Timothy tells us that leading a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity is right and acceptable in the sight of God. Whether or not that seems realistic in these combative, angry, and violent times isn't the point. Life is difficult, far worse for some than others given wars, natural disasters, or life-threatening illness. Yet serving wealth on behalf of ourselves isn't the path to inner peace, godliness, or dignity of the soul. Even if it may give a temporary glow on the surface, we know the little discomforting niggle of conscience.
    Jesus is never clearer, than in this Gospel. We cannot serve two masters; we cannot serve God and wealth. If we seek only the accumulation of more material possessions to the exclusion of and harming the welfare of others, if only in very small ways, we may prosper in this life, but we will lose in the next. Even a little dishonesty becomes much more so in God’s sight. The prophet Amos gives us God's words: I will never forget any of their deeds. Yet the Good News is always present when Jesus teaches. However imperfect we are, if we are intentional about serving God even with a meager amount of faith, God will never forget that either. It is never too late to return to serving God who desires everyone to be saved. As Jesus says, Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. Let us examine our own intentions and be clear to ourselves what it is we truly want; for, if we cannot be honest with ourselves who will trust us with the true riches of eternal life? Let us turn our soul’s path to an upward spiral, intentionally choosing to seek and to serve only God, ready for the final accounting of this mortal life. Let us do so eagerly, and, in Faith, for the love of God in Christ.


Leader:  ~ O Lord Most High, open our hearts to make supplications and prayers for everyone, open our minds to come to the knowledge of Your truth, and open the eyes of our souls to be and to do only what is right and acceptable in Your sight.

                                                       O God, our Savior
RESPONSE:                 Our true wealth is serving You

~ O Lord Most High, on behalf of us all who wish for a peaceable life in all godliness and dignity, we offer intercessions for those in high positions as leaders on this Planet, in this Nation, and in our Community. May they intentionally govern with integrity, with honor, and without deceit. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O God, our Savior
                                                       Our true wealth is serving You                                               

~ O Lord Most High, calm the anxiety of all who suffer in pain of body, mind, or soul, and strengthen all who give them care. We now join our hearts to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       O God, our Savior
                                                       Our true wealth is serving You        

~ O Lord Most High, dry the tears of the grieving, as the glory of the heavens welcomes all who are now transformed into eternal life and joy. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                       O God, our Savior
                                                       Our true wealth is serving You 

~ O Lord Most High, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                       O God, our Savior
                                                       Our true wealth is serving You                      

~ O Lord Most High, we praise Your Name in thanksgiving for the special gifts of all who have been chosen, anointed, and faithfully devoted in their lives and ministries among us. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O God, our Savior
                                                       Our true wealth is serving You

The Celebrant adds:  Holy God, the Glory above the heavens, by Your divine love we were created with the truest form of riches available in our mortal time. Infuse us with desire to serve only You, that even our little faith will become greater and offer a blameless accounting at this life’s end. We ask through Jesus, our Holy Mediator; and the Holy Spirit, the Divine Breath in our Souls; who together with You are One God, forever and always. Amen.     

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