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, November 14, 2022

Prayers of the People: Christ the King ~ Last (24th) Sunday of Pentecost '22 Yr C

For Sunday, November 20, 2022, Readings:  Jeremiah 23;1-6, Psalm 46, Colossians 1:11-20, Luke 23: 33-53

     Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord...So I will attend to you for your evil doings…Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock...and I will bring them back to their fold and they shall be fruitful and multiply. [Jeremiah 23:1, 2c, 3]

    God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change...though the mountains tremble with its tumult. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of the city... [Psalm 46:1-2a,3b-5a]

 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…He is himself before all things and in him all things hold together. For in him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… [Colossians 1:15a, 17, 19a]

        Father forgive them for they know not what they do…Then [one of the criminals] said, “Jesus, remember me…” and [Jesus] replied, “Truly I tell you , today you will be with me in Paradise.” [Luke 23:34, 42a, 43]

       We have arrived at the Last Sunday after Pentecost in the Lectionary season to celebrate Christ the King. Next week we begin the Season of Advent, preparing our hearts and souls for the birth of the Child in whom the fullness of God is pleased to dwell.
        As we look at the readings for this week, first up the often gloomy Jeremiah has a strong message from God of woe for the destructive shepherds who scatter God’s people through their evil doings!  The psalmist follows immediately with the calming message for us, the sheep, that God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble… Regardless of the struggles through natural disasters or the nations who will make much ado, we are reminded to Be still, thenthe Lord of hosts is with us…and is our stronghold.
       The readings from Colossians had some mysterious descriptions of God in Christ that are as difficult to comprehend for most modern, western minds as they were for the minds of their time. While they also may be somewhat familiar to anyone who regularly reads the Christian [aka New] Testament and/or vaguely hears them read in a church setting, these words may seem irrelevant in the scheme of daily living in today’s world. For example, how do you understand the concepts such as Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God, firstborn of all creation and also of the dead? Yet we, who would be counted as faithful Christians, should take heed and examine more closely. Looking at various translations, I found firstborn of the dead expressed as of the dead, from the dead, from among the dead, etc. For me, the most relatable is in a translation from “J.B. Phillips New Testament” which says: Life from nothing began through him, and life from the dead began through him, and he is, therefore, justly called the Lord of all. Check any translation(s) you have on hand or online and discover what speaks to you. An online source I use often is www.biblegateway.com as it contains quite a large variety of translations and paraphrases which are useful as well as interesting.
       Although Jesus has told us that his kingdom is not from here [John 18:36], it is here and, in this time and place, where we encounter him, if we seek him, and if we choose to follow. It is in this daily life in this time that we may easily lose track of our allegiances and settle in more with the temporary earthly powers than in the everlasting divine Kingship of Christ.
       From the above readings and given the imminent onset of Advent, it does seem strange, at first, that as we celebrate Christ as King, we end our readings this week with this passage from the Gospel of Luke at the Crucifixion. Yet, without the Crucifixion and Resurrection of what purpose is Advent or Christmas? But the reverse is also true: no Christmas = no Easter. For me, the crux of this Sunday’s lessons is the moment in Luke’s Gospel where the contrast is made between the hard-hearted criminal and that of the repentant one. In his response to the “Good Thief,” as he has been called, Jesus gives us the path to freedom from the darkness of sin and fear. For we who endeavor to follow, Christ is our unearthly King in this earthly world who shows us the way to the true and never-ending Kingdom, Paradise, in the next. The question for each of us is: do we choose to be led astray by the hard-hearted and haters, by those who would scatter us through evil doings in our brief sojourn in this place, or follow him who loves us and freed us from our sins by the blood of his cross? The answer, of course, is to seek the path where: In him all things hold together. No easy task with strong faith let alone for those of us who falter in our faith and doubt many times. The gift of the readings for this Sunday is that they are as timely today as when they were first written down. May [we] be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may [we] be prepared to endure everything with patience… [Colossians 11:1a] 


Leader:  ~ Lord God Almighty, in our fleeting mortality turn us always to Christ in whose Kingdom, now and forever, we are forgiven and saved, for in Him all things hold together.

                                                Holy Jesus, Firstborn of All Creation
RESPONSE:         Let us Drink of Your Wisdom

~  Lord God Almighty, for all who are governed by power or throne, by force or dominion by grant, on our Planet, in our Country, and in our Community, we implore You to infuse the wisdom, sanity, and humanity of Jesus into all who lead Your people. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Holy Jesus, Firstborn of All Creation
                                                Let us Drink of Your Wisdom 

~ Lord God Almighty, send healing grace to all who suffer in spirit, in mind, or in body, and grace-filled endurance to all who give them care. We now join our hearts to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Holy Jesus, Firstborn of All Creation
                                                Let us Drink of Your Wisdom    

~ Lord God Almighty, lighten our grieving hearts with joy, as the souls of our cherished departed are with you today, in the ceaseless joy of Your Eternal Paradise. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                Holy Jesus, Firstborn of All Creation
                                                Let us Drink of Your Wisdom 

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

                                                Holy Jesus, Firstborn of All Creation
                                                Let us Drink of Your Wisdom    

~ Lord God Almighty, excite the souls of those chosen to lead us through Your Word and Sacraments, keeping us eager to create harmony and healing together among all God’s People. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Holy Jesus, Firstborn of All Creation
                                                Let us Drink of Your Wisdom                                

The Celebrant adds: Most Holy Christ, Image of the Invisible God, arouse us from our daily complacence to rediscover the fullness of God in Your Presence in ourselves. Teach us to celebrate, praise, and give thanks together in Your Church and in Creation at large, through our Mother Earth and all the Life she contains. Grant us clean hands and a pure heart to receive Your blessing as we seek Your face in all others. We ask through the Holy Spirit, the very Breath of Love; and our Omnipotent Creator; who together with You, are One God, for ever and for evermore.  Amen. 

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