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 3, 2022

Prayers of the People: For All Things, Great and Small ~ 18th Sunday after Pentecost '22 Yr C

For Sunday, October 9, 2022 ~  Readings: 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c; Psalm 111, 2 Timothy 2:8-15, Luke 17:11-19

  But his servants approached and said to him, "Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, 'Wash and be clean'?  So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean. [2 Kings 5:1-14]
   …the Lord is gracious and full of compassion…The works of his hands are faithfulness and justice; all his commandments are sure. [Psalm 111:4b; 7]

Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. [2 Timothy 2:14]

  Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" [Luke 17:17-18]

     In the reading from 2 Kings, servants asked Naaman if he might have agreed immediately to the healing ritual that Elisha prescribed if the activity had been more difficult. After all, a mighty warrior only does difficult tasks of great importance, not simple and ordinary things. Perhaps we, as ordinary mortals, feel the task of truly living into our faith is just easy enough to get to later on. We escape into checklists of giving money and attending church services as doing our basic duty, with perhaps a volunteer activity here and there. But in moments when we are inspired or have need to look beyond the ordinary, we often wander off to another river, rather than one before us. Once there we may not realize until too late that we are in over our heads by the lures of this temporary world, and yet, for now, swimming to God’s shore seems too easy. 
    We in this country fail, in epic proportions, to avoid wrangling over words, especially in the midst of election campaigns, attempting to out shout and out insult one another on social media, however muted or even anonymous behind the computer or phone screen. We also fail to understand the reality that such arguing changes no minds and only ruins those who are listening [2 Timothy 14] as well as the one wrangling. But, of course, who of us will listen to the arguments of anyone we have already decided is wrong? Are we all ruined and in exile from one another and from God? The Letter to Timothy brings our focus back to do our best to present ourselves to God in all that we are, say, and do.
     In the Gospel reading, 10 lepers who begged Jesus for healing were told to present themselves to the priest. After they did and realized they were all healed, they all went on their merry ways ~ except this foreigner. Only 1 out of 10, the Samaritan foreigner, turned back, in faith, to thank Jesus. How often do I forget to give thanks ~ true, sincere thanks for spiritual and other healing gifts to my soul?
    For me, the readings this week seem to particularly mirror where I see my own conscious and unconscious behaviors and responses to upsets in my body, mind, and/or spirit. I am all-too-often in self-imposed exile from God. I do my own wrangling over words and thoughts, ignoring the wonders of Creation around me, complaining to myself about all the injuries from others (real and imagined), and celebrating only myself when wellness or some other good fortune occurs. Time to get out the NO WHINING banner, return from the exile I chose, and live a faith-filled life where I am planted, remembering why and for Whom I was created. Remembering that in the exercise of the faith I claim, I don’t need to be a mighty warrior. Now is the time to realize that I don’t require my faith to be too difficult to acknowledge, to live in, or for me to be grateful. It is past time for my faith to be conscious again and to present myself to God in Christ each day directly and through all that I think, do, and say. Now and always it is time for me to remember to whom I am faithful so as to be one who immediately turns to Christ in thanksgiving for all things great and small.
Leader:  ~ Eternal God, shine again in the darkness that covers us in times of hardship and when we distance ourselves from You. Restore our conscious faith, that we may always give You thanks for healing us, in ways known and unknown, as we walk each day toward our salvation in Christ.

                                                Gracious, Compassionate Lord                                      
RESPONSE:                     We return to You with thanks and praise         
~ Eternal God, open the unconscious souls of all who hold political authority on land and sea and in the air across Your diverse Creation. Guide them that they may see You reflected in themselves, in every human face, and in every grain of sand, so to govern justly, mercifully, and with humility. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                              Gracious, Compassionate Lord                                      
                                              We return to You with thanks and praise
~ Eternal God, heal and comfort the spirits of those laid low by illness or life circumstance, and grant resilience for all who give them care.  We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions
                                              Gracious, Compassionate Lord                                      
                                              We return to You with thanks and praise
~ Eternal God, may echoes of sweet memory quell the pain of earth-bound grief, as the souls of those who’ve left this life, now soar in the peace and glory of everlasting life in Christ. We pray especially for… add your own petitions
                                              Gracious, Compassionate Lord                                      
                                              We return to You with thanks and praise
~ Eternal God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions
                                              Gracious, Compassionate Lord                                      
                                              We return to You with thanks and praise
~ God of Eternity, we give thanksgiving for Your loyal servants anointed to re-awaken us to the wonders of all Your great deeds and marvelous works, and who guide us to our true place within You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                              Gracious, Compassionate Lord                                      
                                              We return to You with thanks and praise
The Celebrant adds: Lord of Life from Beginning to Infinity, release us from wrangling over words that do no good but only ruin those who listen and to ourselves. Fill us with continuous awareness, praise, and delight for the Divine Good in all You have wrought, that propels us to faithful action, and prepares us for the perfection of life in Your eternity. We ask through Jesus, our Merciful Healer; and the Holy Spirit, Your Still Small Voice; who together with You are our One and Almighty God of all Creation. Amen.


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