The Prayers of the People, Redmond United Methodist Church, February 3, 2019 Led by Pastor Lara Bruce Bolger
Let us pray
Loving and Gracious God Where Love and Charity are You are here; You are there. You are where all Love can be found. Even in the places where we don’t think it might be. We praise you that your Love reaches into far places Of this world and in our community. We thank you that it reaches deep into our hearts In our struggles and in our joys In our hidden places of fear and shame In our sorrows and disappointments We’re so grateful that, in your Love, you meet us where we are You sweep aside any sense of inadequacy You overturn misplaced dependencies You open windows of light and hope So we can see our true home. Thank you God.
Thank you for your love that comes gently
That sits beside us
That enters into the stillness of our hearts
We are here with You.
Just as you care for every detail of our lives
Help us care for others
Especially for those people who feel overlooked
For those people who are unnoticed
Driven away by policies that do not include them
Pushed away from the corners of our minds and our society and our world.
Just as you give us people who look us in the eye
Who do not turn away from our vulnerability and pain
Help us to have eyes of love so that we may not turn away from theirs
Give us a different way of seeing
May we see with clarity
For all those people who are suffering this day
Due to weather, due to violence
Help us to see them.
All the people you have placed on our hearts this day
We take this time now to lift them up.
(Pause while the people in the congregation mention names of those they’re praying for)
We pray for them
Your Love came to us embodied in the person of Jesus Christ
And we can embody your Love as well
Thank you God.
We continue to pray the prayer Jesus taught us to pray (Aloud in unison) Our Father who art in heaven Hallowed by thy name Thy kingdom come thy will be done On earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation But deliver us from evil For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen
Matthew included a scene in his Infancy Narrative that was probably based on an actual event in history… arranged to make the point that Jesus came for all people, not just Jews. The Magi were an ancient sect in Persia, scientific thinkers, observers of the heavens, trusted with the task of reading the signs and identifying, as a child, the next King of Persia. That tradition lives on in Tibetan Buddhism in fact, where a similar process is used to identify the next Dalai Lama. So Magi showing up, following a star, to bring the gifts that designated royalty would, to his readers, helped them understand Matthew’s answer to Who do you say Jesus is?”
Matthew is clearly answering, in context of the entire Gospel, “The new Moses, God’s chosen leader, for the whole world.”
There were three Buddhist missionaries in Judea who brought ideas like the Golden Rule and Love is the highest commandment. Traditionally they were named Balthasar, Melchior and Gaspar. The ancient Church used those names for the Magi of Matthew’s story. In that conflation it becomes Three Wise Men (Matthew doesn’t number them). Balthasar is an Arabian name. Melchior is Persian and Gaspar is Indian.
Today it is conflated into the season and day of Epiphany (the Magi followed and saw the Light). But that is another layer of meaning in the conflation. The Epiphany at this season was, in Northern Europe, the day folks realized that all human hierarchy, in families, between men and women, in the economy between owners and servants, lords and tenants, in government… all of it is just an invented institution. On Epiphany our ancestors woke up basking in the realization that goodness and provision are gifts none of us owns nor earns.
No matter which layer of the story appeals to you; men on camels, the magical recognition of the next King, Eastern wisdom showing up in nascent Christianity, or pagan traditional world-upside-down celebrations, the meaning is about the same. We are loved by the Author of Love, gifted resources to spread that love to the whole world as a bright star, a light that leads others to truth, forgiveness and healing.
Sunday’s sermon was on the healing story in Acts 3. You probably know it. Peter and John command in Jesus’ name that a man born lame stand up. He does. He dances. Everyone’s amazed because a lame person is standing up and dancing. Faith healings often have people abandoning wheelchairs or throwing crutches to dance around stage as part of their “thing.” I’ve always been skeptical. Continue reading →
I’ve been to Coolidge Arizona, between Phoenix and Tucson on the old Butterfield Stage route. It’s south of the Gila River, mostly dry now. Once canals irrigated the crops of the Anasazi community, builders of Casa Grande, still-standing rock and mud building, an accurate solar calendar. Old West Coolidge was the site of Arizona’s first power plant and envisioned itself equal to the Old Pueblo and the new State Capital rising to the north.
I love and care for my LGBT family members and LGBT friends and am very upset about the way modern American Evangelical Christianity is homophobic in the name of Jesus… It has almost made me not want to go to church… and certainly made me very angry at the homophobic Bible bangers and all the damage they do. They preach that all Scripture is God-breathed, then go straight into forcing their personal prejudices into mistranslations and misinterpretations. Continue reading →
It was written in Alexandria, Egypt by a Jewish Greek-speaking scholar during a time of local unrest there (around 25 BCE). Most folks believed in the Cult of Caesar and Jews refused to worship Caesar. Alexandria was a place of great learning, a wonderful library, but nearly constant conflict until the Romans gave up and burned it all to the ground (I wish we still had that library).
It’s a charismatic church that seldom discusses policies or doctrines. The emphasis is the Kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven. They seek more. Worship is authentic and heart-felt. The community is warmer than most in the PNW. Calls to faith and repentance are left to the work of God’s Spirit, changing lives touched by Love.
I was invited to a Bible Study here at the 55-and-older complex. I’ve been three times now. It’s not a Bible Study. It’s a local Baptist Church’s evangelism outreach to the old folks. In fairness, this church doesn’t use the word “Baptist” anymore. The “study” is in a small paper-backed study guide (published by the Baptists). Continue reading →
Also known as the “miracle of the five loaves and two fish.” When Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been killed, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place near Bethsaida. The crowds came to Jesus on foot from the towns. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
I have a Facebook Friend named Rasha Foda. She has a blog site called Share Everything. Her vision for a better world is one where people simply share. At first I thought it was about “sharing” information as a way to get around the censorship in the corporate media (which is significant). Her vision goes beyond that.
I’m in a Facebook Group called Buy Nothing (Redmond) which has been divided into three areas due to popularity. I think the whole Buy Nothing movement is growing. You can read about it at The Buy Nothing Project: