September 18, 2016
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
A Contemplative Service
WORDS FOR SILENT REFLECTION
“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”
–Thérèse de Lisieux
“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” –Kahlil Gibran
“Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.” –Fyodor Dostoyevsky
*CHIMING THE HOUR
*LIGHTING THE CHRIST CANDLE
*PROCESSIONAL “Hallelujah” p. 35 in songbook
CHILDREN’S TIME “Praying What We Feel”
THE PSALMIST’S ANGRY PRAYER Psalm 79: 1-9
One: O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins. They have given the bodies of your servants to the birds of the air for food, the flesh of your faithful to the wild animals of the earth. They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them.
Many: We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by
those around us. How long, O God? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealous wrath burn like fire? Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the nations that do not call on your name.
For silent reflection:
How do you feel about this prayer? Do you feel it’s permissible to express anger in prayer? What has angered you lately? Take a moment of silence to acknowledge anger you may be feeling and express that to God.
SUNG PRAYER “Kyrie Eleison” p. 43 in songbook
THE PROPHET’S DESPAIRING PRAYER Jeremiah 8: 19-9:1
My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick. Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land: “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not in her?” (“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their foreign idols?”) “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored? O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!
SONG “There Is a Balm in Gilead” African-American spiritual
PRAYERS FOR THE WOUNDED
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.
THE EPISTLE READING I Timothy 2: 1-6
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all—this was attested at the right time.
SUNG RESPONSE “Be Still and Know” p. 15 in songbook
REFLECTION ON SCRIPTURE
1. Praying the Joy. Thérèse de Lisieux prayed by “embracing both trial and joy.” The verse “Give thanks in all things” (I Thess. 5:18) encourages us not to deny our pain but to live gratefully even in times of trouble. Using a card you’ll find at the first prayer station, briefly describe a difficult situation during which you nevertheless were able to find some experience of joy. No need to sign your name. Place this in the bowl if you would like your card to be read aloud later.
2. Praying the Hard Questions. The Bible is filled with hard questions that people ask God. Today we heard the psalmist ask, “How long will you be angry with us?” and the prophet ask, “Is there no balm in Gilead to ease your people’s pain?” If you have a hard question about your life or life in general, use a marker provided to write it on the poster at the easel. (No guarantee of any answers!)
3. Praying the Holy Communion Liturgy. Read silently the communion liturgy before taking the bread, dipping it in the cup, and eating with thanksgiving. There are Hard Questions that the Lord’s Supper might provoke. In this moment let this shared feast of love speak for itself.
4. Praying by Giving. Let us present with joy our offerings of commitment and support for the work of Christ’s church. As you give today for work to be done in our community, give thanks to God for your own blessings and ask to find ways to serve others.
SHARING FROM YOUR EXPERIENCES OF PRAYER