Hear us, O God - Reflections - 7-21-19

Texts for Sunday July 28, 2019
7th Sunday after Pentecost 


Genesis 18:20-32
Psalm 138
Colossians 2:6-19
Luke 11:1-13

Treasuring your promise to hear us when we call, we pray for the church, those in need, and all of your creation.

That is the opening of this Sunday's Prayers of Intercession. Each Sunday our worship service includes them. According to the dictionary, intercession is the act of praying on behalf of another. The great thing about that is “another”, as seen by the church, includes all kinds of things. 
Here what the worship planning resource says to include in our weekly prayer at church:
Prayers reflect the wideness of God’s mercy for the whole world—
    for the church universal, its ministry, and the mission of the gospel;
    for the well-being of creation;
    for peace and justice in the world, the nations and those in authority, the community;
    for the poor, oppressed, sick, bereaved, lonely;
    for all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit;
    for the congregation, and for special concerns.
Prayers of thanksgiving for the faithful departed may include those who recently have died and those commemorated on the church’s calendar.

We’ve prayed for humility for the church or boldness for the church, for prairies and seas, for all manner of living things, for war zones and refugees, for Ebola patients and medical staff, for people facing drought, or floods, or storms, or earthquakes and human-created disasters. We’ve prayed for presidents and legislatures, governors and community leaders, for people facing injustice or oppression, for those facing hunger anywhere, for those facing homelessness, mental illness, loss, imprisonment, pain, isolation, discrimination. We’ve prayed that all may know that God loves each of them beyond words, just as they are.

What would you write? What would you have our prayers say? What situations or places or others would you include?  

Some people say that our prayers are God’s call to us for action; to be a part of the answer to the prayer. What do we need to be doing?

In the Genesis story for this Sunday, Abraham seems very comfortable in his relationship with God.  And frankly, God seems very comfortable in his relationship with Abraham. He chose Abraham as the start of a nation by which other nations would be blessed. Abraham and his descendants would live by righteousness and justice. 

In this story, Abraham was able to stand near God and to challenge and push God about righteousness, justice, and mercy. Surely this God of justice will be just, right? How many good people, righteous people have to die? How many are too many in terms of “collateral damage”? God heard Abraham and gave ground on this. 

Spoiler alert: The cities are destroyed anyway.  Evidently there were only four righteous. In recognition of his relationship with Abraham, God spares Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and his family from destruction. 

Have you ever challenged God? Or at least maybe wanted to challenge God? Did you feel God listened and considered what you said?

In the Gospel, Jesus’ followers ask him to teach them how to pray. So he teaches what has become known as “The Lord’s Prayer”. It feels a bit like an extension of that “love God and love neighbor” discussion that has been going on the last two Sundays.  Note the pronouns used are plural. We are all in this together.

Where have you seen signs that the kingdom has “come”? How can we be an answer to “Give us this day our daily bread”? How easy is it to ask for forgiveness? How easy is it to forgive? What can cause our trust to waver?

Jesus then tells a story of friend asking friend for help. It goes back to that hospitality thing from last week…. Pound, pound, pound…. Friend I need some bread. I’ve got a late night visitor. Do you really want to make me look bad by not having food to offer?   Jesus says surely the person in bed will get up just to make the other one shut up.

About what have you pounded on “heaven’s door”? 

Then Jesus assures us that if we ask, seek, and knock, God answers. We schmucks are able to answer our children’s needs appropriately. Jesus says if you can manage, “how much more” do you think God can handle the job.

What do you want to ask? What do you seek? Where do you want to knock?

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Written by Pam Larabee-Zierath


Gathered by Grace, Scattered for Service
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