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 26, 2022

Prayers of the People: A SEED: Sufficient Enough Effort with Dignity ~ 17th Sunday after Pentecost '22 Yr C

For Sunday, October 2, 2022, Readings: Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4; Psalm 37:1-10, 1 Timothy 1:1-14, Luke 17:5-10

   The wicked surround the righteous – therefore judgment comes forth perverted….For there is still a vision for the appointed time...it will surely come…Look at the proud…their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith. [Habakkuk 1:4b, 3a,c; 4]

   Take delight in the Lord…Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him…  [Psalm 37:4a, 5a]

   …I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you...for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. [2 Timothy 1:6-7]

  The Apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." [Luke 17:5-6]

      Habakkuk is irritated. He will not give up his complaint until he gets God’s answer and he does! The very descriptive language of his frustration speaks directly to our own times and the answer he gets is clear if not exactly a swift resolution. The Psalm appointed for today is a perfect follow up: Have patience, keep on track, do good, commit to and trust in God, for evildoers shall be cut off  in the appointed timewait for it.
      And so while we are waiting, it is, certainly and always, the Gospel, with a little help from the 2nd letter to Timothy, that gives us our focus – the apostles, with relatable human impatience, ask Jesus to "Increase our faith!" Jesus reminds them, and us, that all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed and we would be able to command whole trees to uproot themselves and be replanted in the sea. These are metaphors whose underlying meanings are worth pondering, however strangely mixed – did you stop and wonder: why would we plant a mulberry tree in the sea?
    Moving on, there are many varieties of mustard seeds across the many regions of the Earth, and those Jesus speaks of are nearly as small as the period at the end of this sentence, yet they hold within themselves the ability to produce enormous trees. No magic intended here, just created nature. But thinking of something so tiny taking such deep root and growing so large can guide our understanding of the potential in our own imperfect faith. Whether in days of seeming uprooted-ness and feeling all at sea, or in times of feeling securely well planted, we are reminded by these readings that we have all that we need within us. We aren’t called to understand how it all works, just to believe that it does and it will.
     How great our own eternal future if we but remember the good treasure, our holy calling, the grace... that has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus. If we seek to rekindle the gift of God that is within usthe fertile seeds of faith and trust have already sprouted in us with the help of the Holy Spirit. 
     It is also important to remember that having “true faith” doesn't mean freedom from doubt. And when the doubts creep in, don’t panic. One Christian mystic suggested that wanting to have faith is enough, and even wanting to want to have faith is enough. Accept as natural that in this life there are moments of distance, occasions of dark nights and gray days. Trees need pruning now and then and so do our souls. Some of those times are longer than others and it is in such times, as the Psalmist tells us, we are to be still before the LORD and wait patiently. Give yourself a cheat sheet for those moments that encourage you to spend time with the Word and Sacraments. Think of some ideas on how to pray with a bit more effort, a little more often, if only just breathing in and out with the name of Jesus on your lips, in your mind, and in your heart. All the while our work of faith, present or awaited, goes on in small and ordinary ways, as in any garden. No worries about how large or small a seed, our level of faith isn't meant to be quantified, only recognized for its power, for its sufficiency, for its enough-ness to bring us to our fulfillment in the dignity of God's grace and purpose, in God's appointed time.


Leader:  ~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, may we allow our tiny seeds of faith to renew our right spirits, rekindle the gift of You living within us, and place our trust and hope in You.

     Lord of Salvation                                               
RESPONSE:               We commit ourselves to You

~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, remove evildoers and perverted judgment from the chambers of all who govern on this Planet, in this Nation, and in this Community, that all victims of violence, poverty, and bigotry be met by righteousness and justice. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Lord of Salvation
                                                       We commit ourselves to You

~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, grant ease to all who live with distress in body, mind, or spirit, and give rest to the hearts of those who give them care.  We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       Lord of Salvation
                                                       We commit ourselves to You      

~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, may the joy of our loved ones, now freed from earthly bondage, shine brightly in the immortal life and light of the glory of Christ. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                       Lord of Salvation
                                                       We commit ourselves to You 

~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                       Lord of Salvation
                                                       We commit ourselves to You                    

~~ God of Mercy, Grace, and Peace, we lift up all who are appointed as Your heralds, that with the help of the Holy Spirit, they may hold to the standard of sound Gospel teaching, guarding the good treasure of Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Lord of Salvation
                                                       We commit ourselves to You 

The Celebrant adds: O Lord our God, remind our impatient hearts to take our delight in You and to rely on Your power in our holy calling. Inspire us to nurture the fragments of faith our souls are holding, that we may bloom into the fullness of Your purpose and grace in Your appointed time. We ask through our Savior Jesus, the Christ; and the Holy Spirit, living in us; who together with You are One God, now and forever.  Amen. 

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