You are our Lord, our King, and we bow our hearts in worship to You today. Even though You are over all, we are humbled because, for some reason, You desire us and have come in pursuit of our hearts.
Your pursuit of us has taken many forms, surely more than we are aware of. In everything that we have done, every place we have been, every person we have encountered, and every task we have set ourselves to doing, You have been there. You were with us all along, You were there before we were, working good before we had any idea, and You remain after us, keeping all of Your children in Your loving care.
Yet if this is true, why do we still find ourselves so far from You? Free us, O God, from the things that hold us back from You, from the sin that dwells in our bodies. May we come to delight in You as You delight in us, so that our minds, hearts, bodies, and souls may all be rescued as we learn more fully to live under the easy yoke and light burden of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
We come today to receive the rest for our souls that He promised, entrusting the things that burden us over to You. And again we take His yoke upon us, for we are Your children and His students, praying the prayer that He taught us, saying,
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours now and for ever. Amen
Depending on which system of ordering one pays attention to, this Sunday can also be referred to as Proper 9, or (in 2011) the Third Sunday after Pentecost. Regardless of the system, the readings are the same. So, the readings for this week, on which this prayer is based, are:
- Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67: The seventh of thirteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Genesis, and the fifth of five on the life of Abraham, although he is only an indirect character in this week's passage. This is the story of Abraham's servant being sent back to Abraham's native land to find a wife for his son, Isaac.
- Psalm 45:10-17: A wedding psalm which has also traditionally been interpreted as a Messianic prophecy.
- Romans 7:15-25a: The sixth of sixteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Romans. In this passage, Paul famously describes his tendency to do the things he does not want to do and his inability to do the good things he does want to do. He concludes with the question and answer, "Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
- Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30: All of the gospel readings after Pentecost in Year A come from Matthew. This passage is Jesus' thanksgiving to God that he had revealed his identity to "infants" and hidden it from "the wise and the intelligent." It concludes with Jesus' profound invitation to take his yoke, learn from him, and find rest for our souls, because his yoke is easy and his burden is light."