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 24, 2022

Prayers of the People: Up a Tree ~ 21st Sunday after Pentecost '22 Yr C

For Sunday, October 30, 2022, Readings: Isaiah 1:10-18, Psalm 32:1-8, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4,11-12; 
Luke 19:1-10

...cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.  [Isaiah 1:16b-17]

  You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble, you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. [Psalm 32:7]

  We must always give thanks to God for you...because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. [2 Thessalonians 1:3b]

    Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost." [Luke 19:9-10]

        As we explore the collection of readings this week, the theme of forgiveness shines. We begin with quite a lambasting of those in Sodom and Gomorrah. Again. God is quite explicit through Isaiah as to what they are NOT to do. For example, those burnt and blood “sacrifices” are not on God’s happy list, but then follows quite clear instructions on what they are to do to be in God’s forgiving graces.
     The Psalmist reminds us that we are happiest when we are forgiven, and calms us by telling us that in time of trouble we are delivered. And as we read Paul’s great accolades to the church in Thessalonica, we are given yet more ways to understand what it is we are to do in this life through love from and for others and by working to keep faith steadfast, especially through difficult times.  
     And then we have Zaccheus in the branches above the crowd, peering through the leaves. I always wonder what Mrs. Zacchaeus was thinking when she opened the door later. Did she give him that look – you know the one: seriously, THIS guy for dinner, and he invited himself? I'm sure she already knew what the neighbors were thinking being less than the popular couple on the block because of her husband's job. Yet here is Jesus calling Zacchaeus out of the tree – to the grumbling chorus of nay-sayers and finger-pointers – and telling him Salvation has come to this house...the Son of Man came to seek out to save the lost. 
    How easy it is to let go of the reminder in The Lord’s Prayer when we ask God to forgive us AS  [in the same way that] we forgive others? And, also, that part of the Great Commandment to love your neighbor AS [if they are] yourself?  Perhaps the words are so familiar and routine the impact of what we are saying is lost.     
    Forgiveness is what we hope for when we know that we have sinned, feel unworthy, and as if we’ve lost our way to God. Forgiveness for others doesn’t necessarily repair relationships or result in a change of behavior by that person or group. We may not have an opportunity to express forgiveness openly to seek reconciliation. We may be angry at-large with political, religious, or other groups for our severe differences of opinion. Forgiving is, in its own way, our personal act of contrition for holding a grudge, quietly hoping for revenge, or other un-Godly thoughts. Whether or not we are able to reconcile with another or to simply make our own relationship with God stronger, we are to do as we are humanly able. In that way, remembering and acting on the lines from The Lord’s Prayer and The Great Commandment, is to do all I can to ask for help in forgiving others in the way I ask for myself. 
     Nelson Mandela said: Resentment is like drinking poison hoping it will kill your enemies. And perhaps, if we are unable to forgive ourselves, it may be like drinking a poison that may well damage or kill our own souls.
     Through forgiveness we rid ourselves of the poison of resentment,  allowing more love to flow through us to all we meet. NOT easy, but with one breath at a time improvement is possible. A small quiet act of kindness even in the face of serious defiance, rescues both of us, whether we see and know it in another or we don’t. In prayer, Jesus may not be seen walking by, but he's always with us whenever we feel lost, especially when we feel we’re up a tree.


Leader:  ~ LORD of Hope and Promise, as You know us better than we know ourselves, guide us to seek and recognize You in others, to find You living deep within us, and to learn to rescue, defend, and plead with more fervor for others than for ourselves. 

                                                   Forgiving God
RESPONSE:                        Preserve us from trouble

~ LORD of Hope and Promise, renew us each day to persevere in prayer as we take action to kindle integrity, morality, and empathy in the Leaders of all governments across Your Creation. Instruct us all in the ways of Christ’s peace, that together we may find the path where peace will grow and spread beyond all barriers and borders. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Forgiving God
                                              Preserve us from trouble

~ LORD of Hope and Promise, lay Your healing hand upon those weary of pain or anguish in this life, and hold fast to those who offer caring help. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Forgiving God
                                                Preserve us from trouble    

~ LORD of Hope and Promise, lighten the darkness for the grieving, as our loved ones return Home to the eternal splendor and glory of new life in Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Forgiving God
                                                Preserve us from trouble

~ LORD of Hope and Promise, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                Forgiving God
                                                Preserve us from trouble

~ LORD of Hope and Promise, refresh the courage and confidence of those anointed to call us to Your Holy Table, that our worship may be true, faithful, and pleasing to You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Forgiving God
                                                Preserve us from trouble

The Celebrant adds:  Lord of Creation, Salvation, and Wisdom, grow our faith abundantly and increase our ability to love one another as we are loved by You. Grant us the grace to embody Your Presence and to serve the world together in Your name. We ask through Jesus our Redeemer Christ; and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom Guide; who together with You are One God, now and forever. Amen.

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