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, October 31, 2022

Prayers of the People: Begin Again, Together ~ All Saints Sunday; 22 Sunday after Pentecost '22 Yr C

For Sunday, November 6, 2022 ~ Readings: Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18; Psalm 149, Ephesians 1:11-23, Luke 6:20-31

    But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever – for ever and ever. [Daniel 7:18]

    Hallelujah! Sing to the Lord a new song; sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful. [Psalm 149:1]

   [I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may perceive what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. [Ephesians 1:17-19]

   Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy… [Luke 6:22-23a]

     Today we celebrate All Saints' Day, and our readings let us know in Daniel’s vision, that those who are designated as the holy ones receive…the kingdom from the Most High. The letter to the Ephesians prays for the wisdom of the congregation to know Jesus and the hope to which he has called them, the glorious inheritance among the saints. Jesus, in his blessings and woes Sermon on the Plain, says that the blessings are upon those who are having a difficult times in their lives and conversely, those who are doing well may expect a reversal of fortune, so to speak, or at the very least, some rough roads ahead. He gives us the advice we all know well, whether we have ever heard this passage or not, whether we were raised Christian or not: Love your enemies, turn the other cheek, give to those who beg, etc., and, what every religion or spiritual philosophy counts as “golden” ~ Do to others as you would have them do to you.  But who were these Saints, besides names on calendars and churches? What do Saints have to do with my everyday life? 
       The word “saint” comes from the Greek word hagios, which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious." The people we think of as "saints" or who have been given the official title of Saint, all seem to be all of that definition and more: Special people who are set apart for a special purpose and presumably given all they need to accomplish God's purpose. Yet, God has called ALL of us to be saints, that is, to be sanctified (made holy) in Christ, to build up the Body of Christ, and to seek and serve Christ in all persons, yes even “those” people. Too bad we can't just leave the work to those who are beatified or canonized by an official Church process. It’s also important to remember that “all” saints have been human and behaved like humans, have been tempted and succumbed to some temptations. In other words, in their sometimes extraordinariness, they also had ordinariness. They were able to want to do God’s work in ways we may not have yet developed. But we know people among us today who are giving of themselves, living non-perfect lives yet with humanity, humility, mercy, seeking justice for all and hope for this world.
      Let us begin again. Jesus is giving us a comprehensive list of those who will be blessed by God. It also gives us clear direction on what attributes to adopt in our own lives to draw on all of our God-given gifts and self-developed flaws, to be a part of the total Creation, to seek to be accepted into the great reward that is the Kingdom. All we have to do is look at the list of woes and make a few life-course corrections! We already know what to do, and with prayer, a bit more self-dedication and consciousness in thoughts, words, and actions, we can find a seat at that heavenly banquet, on bleacher seats at least!  
     Author Parker Palmer* says it best: [We] can transform our culture only as we are inwardly transformed. Let us begin, again, together. As the Psalm says, Sing to the Lord a new song! So, let us Sing a Song of the Saints of God and all mean to be one, too. 

 *Parker J. Palmer is an author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He is the founder and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage & Renewal; 
see:  https://couragerenewal.org/parker-j-palmer/

** click on words in light blue above for links to more information


Leader:  ~ O God Most High, in these times of trial and travail, strengthen us to arise each day with the inner peace of being called to the inheritance of Your Kingdom. Open our conscious thoughts and actions to humility and humanity, following the example of the Saints who have gone before, and the saints who live among us now.

                                                     O Lord of Wisdom and Hope                                                 
RESPONSE:              Enlighten the eyes of our hearts  

~ O God Most High, endow us, who abide with You in love, with the perseverance to guide Local, National, and Global Leaders away from falsehoods and fraud toward the just reward of all who seek You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                     O Lord of Wisdom and Hope                                       
                Enlighten the eyes of our hearts

~ O God Most High, deliver from distress all in anguish from illness of body, mind, or spirit, and infuse those who give them care with gentle and peaceful hearts. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                     O Lord of Wisdom and Hope                                       
                Enlighten the eyes of our hearts         

~ O God Most High, as You bless and wipe the tears of all who mourn, keep us all in the knowledge that death will be no more in the joy and gladness of all who live again, reaping their newness of life with songs of joy. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                     O Lord of Wisdom and Hope                                       
                Enlighten the eyes of our hearts

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

                                                     O Lord of Wisdom and Hope                                       
                Enlighten the eyes of our hearts

~ O God Most High, inspire the hearts and minds of all who lead us in Your church, who encourage and remind us, through Word and Sacrament, how to lead faithful lives by Your grace and mercy. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                     O Lord of Wisdom and Hope                                       
                Enlighten the eyes of our hearts

The Celebrant adds: God of us all, Saints and Sinners together, set our hearts free from the prison of hate, the emptiness of self-importance, and the mindlessness of earthly privilege. May we each claim our divine endowment of trust, truth, grace and mercy as we strive to stand always with You. We ask through Jesus, our Redeemer Christ; in the Unity of the Holy Spirit; who together with You, are One God above all, through all, and in all, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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