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, December 26, 2022

Prayers of the People: Above Every Name ~ Holy Name Sunday '23 Yr A

For Sunday, January 1, 2023; Readings: Numbers 6:22-27, Psalm 8, Philippians 2:5-11 (Galatians 4:4-7), 
Luke 2:15-21

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. [Numbers 24-26]

O Lord our Governor, how exalted is your Name in all the world! [Psalm 8:10]

 Therefore, God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend... [Philippians 2:5-11]  or (But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. [Galatians 4:4-7])

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen...After eight days had passed it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus..[Luke 2:20-21]

     It is the first day, the first Sunday, and the first week of the New Year, and it is filled with opportunities to celebrate. As we know it today, Holy Name Sunday, has also been known as the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus. In addition to Luke's Gospel for today, there are several other naming accounts of this Holy Child ~ from Joseph's dream in Matthew 1:21, when God's angel appears dissuading him from dismissing Mary, and explaining that the son she will bear will be called Jesus, which means "God is salvation." Following quickly on is Matthew 1:23’s Emmanuel, which means God is with us, referring back to the Prophet Isaiah 7:14's prediction of the child of the virgin that will be called Immanuel. [The spelling is irrelevant]
     The approaching Feast of the Epiphany, will also be celebrated this week in western Christianity.
     This Sunday's naming focus gives us a moment to think about what is the power of a name? What does your name mean to you? Do you know your name's history, why it was given to you? How do you feel if someone mispronounces or misspeaks your name? When that happens to me, especially by someone who knows me, it can feel as if my name and I are unimportant. Because of that, I try to remember people’s preferred names and use them. And then, for me, there is nothing so touching and wonderful as hearing my name spoken by someone who cares about me.
    Using a name well creates a connection with another. It is more than mere identification, it is relational, even if only a brief encounter in a retail or service location. If someone is wearing a name tag, I will call them by name. If it is an unfamiliar kind of name for me, I ask how to pronounce it.           
    There is power in a name, and no greater power in any name than in the name of Jesus, as Paul said in the Letter to the Philippians it is the name that is above every name. Sadly these two familiar syllables are, far too often, used in less than honorable ways. It has become a verbal football to throw around casually as an exclamation, or worse, even by some of us who profess to be faithful to the name and the man. 
   Here's an idea for a New Year's Resolution: if you haven’t before, start now using the name of Jesus in only the most sincerely reverential tones. Begin again to use the name with intention as a prayer ~ a reverent invocation as an acknowledgement of His presence within, even use it as a meditation by repeating it quietly perhaps with a following prayer phrase such as my heart is with you. Fr Richard Rohr says, "Prayer isn't primarily words; it's a place, an attitude, a stance." Let us use the Holy Name of Jesus as our place of holy introspection, our attitude of faith, our stance of firm ~ or at least firm-er ~ willingness to turn toward the Way that Christ beckons us to live. From Psalm 51 come the words: Open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Will what is on my lips create a clean heart and renewed spirit? Let me begin again with the power of and in the Holy Name of Jesus.


Leader:  ~ Jesus, our Light in all Darkness, we praise Your Holy Name that is above every name, as the most perfect and sacred word our thoughts and our lips can form. It is at once a prayer, an inspiration, the intentional beckoning of our humbled souls to accept and live into Your Promise of Salvation.

                                                 Blessed Child, our Christ                           
RESPONSE:           May our lives reflect Your Glory

~ Jesus, Lord of Light, illuminate life’s righteous road of empathy, wisdom, and peace, and guide along it all who govern in our names on this Earth, in our Country, and in our Community. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Blessed Child, our Christ   
                                                May our lives reflect Your Glory                                     

~ Jesus, Lord of Light, help us to see with new eyes those who are ill, lonely, homeless, or desperate, and find ways to provide needed love and help. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Blessed Child, our Christ   
                                                May our lives reflect Your Glory       

~ Jesus, Lord of Light, as the grieving seek Your comfort, let us remember all those we have loved who now live again, radiant in the joy and peace of Your eternal life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Blessed Child, our Christ   
                                                May our lives reflect Your Glory

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

                                                Blessed Child, our Christ   
                                                May our lives reflect Your Glory   

~ Jesus, Lord of Light, embrace the souls and hearts of those entrusted to bring us Your Word and Sacraments, as we walk together with renewed faith and fervor in Your Holy Name. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Blessed Child, our Christ   
                                                May our lives reflect Your Glory                                             
The Celebrant adds:  O Lord, our Governor Most Gracious, into this fullness of time You have sent our Messiah, woman-borne, to bless us and keep us, to be the Compass for our lives. Quicken our desire to follow Love’s pure Light and seek that bold path that leads us to Eternity. We ask through Jesus, our Redeemer Christ; and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate; who together with You are One God, now and forever. Amen.

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