Living, Loving Father,
We give thanks to You, O Lord, and we call upon Your name today. We sing praises to You, we glory in Your holy name, and we cannot help but to speak of the wonderful things You have done. We seek You, O Lord, and Your strength. Today, as always, we seek Your presence.
You have been faithful to us, even when we have been unfaithful to You. Even if we have tried to make deals with You, perhaps deceiving ourselves and others in doing so, You have never acted as we do, returning deception for deception, but You have always only been loving and faithful to us.
Although others surely fail us, regardless of the things that happen, the good and the bad, when we look back upon them, we can see that, incredibly, You have managed to use them all for our good. Indeed, the very worst that people can to do us cannot separate us from the love that You have shown us so clearly in the life of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus.
It was He who showed us most fully what Your love is like. It was He who taught us about life in Your kingdom, and how it is easily worth any price we may have to pay. And it was He who taught us how to pray, so again today we join together as 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 12, or (in 2011) the Sixth 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 29:15-28: The tenth of thirteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Genesis, and the third of five on the life of Jacob. In this passage, Jacob, who has been a deceiver of his father and brother, now becomes the deceived by his father-in-law, Laban.
- Psalm 105:1-11, 45b: A portion of this psalm, which recounts God's acts in the history of Israel, which recalls how God worked through the first families of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in faithfulness to his promises to them.
- Romans 8:26-39: The ninth of sixteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Romans, and the third of three consecutive readings from the great passages of Romans 8. In this passage, Paul concludes a major section of his argument and description of the Christian way with the strong declaration that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
- Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52: All of the gospel readings after Pentecost in Year A come from Matthew, and this is the third of three consecutive readings of Jesus’ parables in Matthew 13. This passage actually includes five short parables about the kingdom of heaven: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, ...yeast, ...treasure hidden in a field, ...a merchant in search of fine pearls, ...a net that was thrown into the sea."