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, March 18, 2024

Prayers of the People: From an End to a New Beginning, Palm and Passion Sunday, 6th Sunday in Lent '24 Yr B

For Sunday, March 24, 2024, Readings: Liturgy of the Palms: Psalm 118:1-3, 19-29; Mark 1:1-11; Liturgy of the Word: Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16, Philippians 2:5-11; The Passion according to 
Mark 14:1-15:47

  Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" [Mark 11:9]

  Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. [Isaiah 50:8]

  But as for me, I have trusted in you, O LORD, I have said, "You are my God, my times are in your hand... [Psalm 31:14-15a]

  Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus...and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:5, 11]

   Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard." So when [Jesus] came [the betrayer] went up to him and said, "Rabbi!" and kissed him. [Mark 14:44-45]

   [Peter] began to curse, and he swore an oath, "I do not know this man you are talking about." At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and wept. [Mark 14:71-72]

The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday 

  What a day it was! The palms, the cloaks, and branches on the road with cheering and exuberance for this Jesus, heralded as a prophet and a known miracle worker, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey (a donkey was symbol of peace, a warrior king would have ridden a horse). It was all being carefully watched by the Roman occupiers and the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Council who had its own police force and trial court. 
  Just as suddenly as the air fills with joyous gusto, the week turns deadly and the same crowd’s Hosannas turn to shouts of Crucify him! And this is the Sunday we revisit, re-enact, and relive it all through the appointed readings.
  Decades ago the celebration of Palm Sunday and the commemoration of Passion Sunday were two separate successive Sundays. These were later combined into the one-Sunday, two-part Liturgy we have now. At first thought it seems a shame to shortcut the two experiences and yet, I think, it can truly heighten the experience of both parts ~ if we let it. It highlights the stunning speed at which any and many of us can be manipulated into changing what we think we believe, and by virtue of who is telling us, we can be artfully redirected to know that we want to believe whatever he/she/they are saying. 
  Yet, whether we are attending church in person this Sunday, or watching online, how much of the combined readings do we really hear, feel, or think about later in the day, or the week? We’ve heard them all before, or at least we know the story. The readings are long, even if acted out more than simply read. Where am I in this? Am I listening, or watching the clock, warming the coffee or tea in the microwave, answering texts, or thinking about the grocery list for Easter baskets and Easter Dinner and peeps, jelly beans, and chocolate bunnies? 
  Am I willing to look at the world as it is now, with how many examples of crowd-manipulating, politically- and religiously- , sexually-, ethnically-, racially-, and gender- motivated-murders take place every day in my country and around the world? Am I willing to wonder what it is that I could possibly do about it now? Or, at the very least, am I even considering who and what Jesus is to me? 
 When my younger grand-daughter was 4, she loved singing a little happy-clappy ditty she learned in Vacation Bible School, "I am following Jesus" and her volume increased exponentially ~ as she also learned ~ with the line he changed my life forever. So, wise and self-proclaimed Christian grandmother that I think I am, the hard question for myself, again, is how am I following Jesus? Has he changed my life forever, or, more to the point, have I let him? When have I betrayed and deserted him ~ or if that's too hard for me to willingly acknowledge ~ when have I ignored him? Yes, it’s Palm AND Passion today, and it's here all week! And, it's here every day of every year that I choose to profess my faith in all that I think and do ~ often uncomfortably and unpopular in places, but oh so redeeming
    Anticipating the Gospel events as they arise this week, I resolve to start over, re-read the lessons, pray with them, and seek the courage and confidence to live into and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God [Phillipians 2:11]It is time for me to look at each day in this Holy Week, again, as if for the first time, as a sincere period of reflection, penance, and re-commitment. There's no Easter without Good Friday, and when I am following Jesus ~ the real Jesus ~ my life does change, and the rising joy is palpable. Holy Week takes us from an end to a new beginning in, of, and through Jesus, as Christ takes us forward into Forever.

Leader:  ~ Jesus, Light of God, today we begin with Hallelujah and Hosanna and end with Heartbreak and Hostility. How quickly the crowds turn, prodded by intentional distortion of truth, political manipulation, and betrayal. Grant us the courage to listen deeply, to walk the path to Your coming death as if for the first time, to stand with You through it all now, and to never deny that You are our Messiah, our Lord.
                                                Hosanna! Messiah!                                          
             RESPONSE:           Into Your hands we commit our souls
~ Jesus, Light of God, embolden us to earnestly engage the leaders of this World, this Country, and this Community, to confront and eliminate the fear mongering, treachery, and racism, and all  -isms that lead to cruel deaths like Yours. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                Hosanna! Messiah!
                                                Into Your hands we commit our souls
~ Jesus, Light of God, enfold with Your loving arms all who are ill, desperate, or hopeless, and all who worry and care for them.  We now join our hearts to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Hosanna! Messiah!
                                                Into Your hands we commit our souls
~ Jesus, Light of God, You came to lead us all into the glory of eternal life through Your gift of Salvation. We rejoice in knowing that those we mourn are alive again with You, in everlasting peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                Hosanna! Messiah!
                                                Into Your hands we commit our souls
~ Jesus, Light of God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials… add your own petitions
                                                Hosanna! Messiah!
                                                Into Your hands we commit our souls
~ Jesus, Light of God, as we begin this sacred week, endow our spiritual leaders with extraordinary grace, that we may all be drawn together, to be opened and accept the same mind in us that was in You, and live always aware of Your continuous life-changing embrace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                Hosanna! Messiah!
                                                Into Your hands we commit our souls
The Celebrant adds:  O God of Enduring Mercy, guide our experience this day and through the fullness of the week to come. Grant us awareness of the times when we, too, have deserted and betrayed Jesus by turning first to the ways of this world. Guide us in the willingness to confess through our thoughts, words, and actions, that Jesus Christ IS Lord, to the Glory of You, our God. We ask this through our Savior Christ, Your Holy and Sanctified Son; and the Most Holy Spirit, Your Breath and Wisdom within us; who live and reign with You, One God, now and forever. Amen. 



All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution and edited for local use as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. For more information or comments, contact:

No comments:

Post a Comment