Prayers of the People: March 25

Published on Mar 30th, 2018 by Member of Congregation | 0

During the prayers, when I say, Spirit of Joy, please respond with “guide us on our journey.
In silence, and as one, we breathe deeply and calm our hearts, minds and bodies. Let us pray…

On this final Sunday of Lent, we have heard the familiar story of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, and with joyfulness, we have waved our palms in welcome. We have also heard stories of betrayal and mob rule, and we have been saddened as joy gave way to despair, to arrest and crucifixion.

These stories of love and hope, and of fear and cruelty, remind us of our own personal life journeys, and the journey of our earth’s people. Even as we strive to live lives of joy, we know there will be obstacles, both within us and outside us. There will be crosses to bear – betrayals, unkindness, illness and death. At times, we will be afraid, angry, lonely, and we will turn inwards.

Today’s stories remind us to prepare ourselves for both joy and pain. As we try to enable joy to triumph, we learn that our greatest happiness comes when we seek to do good for others, when we reach outwards, when we act as compassionate messengers of the way of Jesus. For ourselves, we pray for courage and for joy, and for the wisdom of Jesus to guide us. For our world, we pray that intelligence and kindness will triumph. Spirit of Joy…   guide us on our journey

This morning we join Kootenay Presbytery in praying for Tif McNaughton and the congregation of Fernie Pastoral Charge. May the spirit of joy be with them. We pray for the countries and people of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia. May they be graced by justice and compassion in this season and always. We remember and pray for peacemakers and peacekeepers, and all those who serve throughout the world through various organizations. And we pray for their loved ones who await their safe return. May they all be held in joy. We pray for our friends, our brothers and sisters, at Nyanyadzi Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. May joy and compassion grow for them and their country. We also pray for the hundreds of thousands of inspiring young people who marched yesterday, in the U.S. and other countries, as part of the March for Our Lives. In pressing for gun control legislation and an end to gun violence, they act with determination, incredible wisdom, and powerful words, and we honour them.
And closer, we pray for those on our prayer list, and for the people who care for them. And we pray for those in our hearts, their names spoken aloud or silently…   … Spirit of Joy…   guide us on our journey.

And now I offer Archbishop Tutu’s prayer for us:

“Dear Child of God, you are loved with a love that nothing can shake, a love that loved you long before you were created, a love that will be there long after everything has disappeared. You are precious, with a preciousness that is totally quite immeasurable. And God wants you to be like God. Filled with life and goodness and laughter – and joy.

God, who is forever pouring out God’s whole being from all eternity, wants you to flourish. God wants you to be filled with joy and excitement and ever longing to be able to find what is beautiful in God’s creation: the compassion of so many, the caring, the sharing. And God says, “Please, my child, help me. Help me to spread love and laughter and joy and compassion.” And you know what, my child? As you do this – hey, presto – you discover joy. Joy, which you had not sought, comes as the gift, as almost the reward for this non-self-regarding caring for others.”

We receive this prayer from Archbishop Tutu with gratitude, and the people say…   “AMEN!”


I’ve been reading The Book of Joy which centres around a week-long series of conversations between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. They talk about various aspects of joy, sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing. These two men love each other deeply, and also love to tease each other. It’s a wonderful book. At the end of my prayer today, I read a prayer that Archbishop Tutu offered as their week together ended.

 

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