Monthly Archives: March 2014

Reflections on Lazarus

The Gospel reading this coming Sunday is John, chapter 11, the raising of Lazarus (read it here).

A few thoughts….

This is not a story of comfort. This is a political story, in which the status quo is overthrown.

In a world in which the ability to inflict death is seen as the ultimate form of power, a story in which death is overcome is the ultimate threat.

In a world in which the inflicting of death is understood as the ultimate form of punishment for behaviour that is utterly beyond the pale, calling someone out of death and back into life will be perceived as the most hostile act of rebellion against the powers that be.

In a world in which death is the reserved prerogative for a select few (i.e. the government), someone who is capable of challenging and overturning that prerogative will be viewed as public enemy number one.

In all the gospels, but most especially in John, the machinations of the powers that be are shown in their true colours: as small, pitiful and ultimately powerless against the love that is God.

It should surprise no one, therefore, that Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, would become the target for the wrath of the powerful.

It should also surprise no one that, in those places and times in which Christianity has had a recognized societal impact, the powers that be would do all they can to pull the Gospel’s teeth, and recast this story as one of comfort for a future sky kingdom, and downplay the challenge to the status quo which is really at the heart of this story.

The raising of Lazarus is , in reality, a politcal manifesto, in which the powers of the world are rendered null and void, and the victory of God’s love, light and life are demonstrated.

Prayers of the People for the Third Sunday of Lent, 2014

Looking to God for healing and direction, we offer our prayers for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and for all the needy, saying, “Hear us, O God,” and responding, “Your mercy is great.”

[Short pause]

God who welcomes all, Jesus received a misunderstood woman.  Enable us to be open to all who are outcast or different.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who welcomes all, you have made us your people through baptism into Christ.  Help us share the welcome you have given us.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who welcomes all, no one is outside your loving care.  Strengthen us to break down the barriers between people.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who welcomes all, you do not wait for us to come to you.  Motivate us to go out and look for opportunities to share your concern and care.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who welcomes all, we pray for all those who need our prayers: the dying, the outcast, the persecuted, the sick, and all those we name before you.
[Long pause]
Make us instruments of your healing.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who welcomes all, inspire us with your love, to be your loving people in this place.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

We offer all these prayers, as well as the deep yearnings of our hearts, to you, gracious and merciful God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for the Second Sunday in Lent 2014

Looking to God for healing and direction, we offer our prayers for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and for all the needy, saying, “Hear us, O God,” and responding, “Your mercy is great.”

[Short pause]

God of life, God of the journey, you called Abraham to leave, to go, to move out.  Give us faith to walk with you.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of the journey, we desire security, we crave certainty, we want to know results beforehand.  Help us let go; help us trust your presence.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of the journey, you have promised to be with us on the way, regardless of our route, regardless of our wrong turns, regardless of our destination.  Free us from our fear.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of the journey, you accompany us wherever we go.  Use us to share your concern, your compassion, your presence and your promise with those who are on the road with us.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of the journey, nothing separates us from your care.  Be with those who need our prayers, whom we name before you.
[Long pause]
Assist us to reach out to the sick, the shut-in, the lonely, the unemployed, the addicted and the outcast, that all may know your love.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of the journey, you walk with us.  Give us the faith to trust, and the courage to step out.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

We offer all these prayers, as well as the deep yearnings of our hearts, to you, gracious and merciful God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for the First Sunday of Lent, 2014

Looking to God for healing and direction, we offer our prayers for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and for all the needy, saying, “Hear us, O God,” and responding, “Your mercy is great.”

[Short pause]

God who walks with us, you do not abandon your people.  When we are willful, selfish, short-sighted and uncaring, remind us of your compassion.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who walks with us, you do not abandon your people.  When pain, loneliness, isolation and broken relationships crush us, remind us of your presence.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who walks with us, you do not abandon your people.  When the needs of the homeless, the hungry, the refugee and the stranger overwhelm our ability to respond, remind us of your grace.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who walks with us, you do not abandon your people.  When injustice, war, prejudice and fear cloud our sight, remind us of your persistence.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who walks with us, you do not abandon your people.  We offer our prayers for those people and situations which lie heavy on us.
[Long pause]
When sickness, disease, mental illness and death threaten our very existence, remind us of your promise.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who walks with us, you do not abandon your people.  When the unknowns of life seem too big, remind us of your love.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

We offer all these prayers, as well as the deep yearnings of our hearts, to you, gracious and merciful God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.