We remember how You have worked to bring us to this point today. You have been faithful to us in good times and bad, just as you were to those who have gone before us and to everyone who has ever looked to You. Even at times when it has seemed that all hope was lost, You have given us hope and life in abundance, giving us the water we needed when all we could see were rocks in the desert.
Lord, we will not forget Your faithfulness to us, that it was You who brought us into life and who has never left us alone in anything we have done.
When we forget You, we grumble, worried about our own needs being met. But when we remember You, and even learn to think like You, we realize there is a better way. We can look to the interests of others rather than our own. We can regard others as better than ourselves, rather than acting out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
We can live the kind of life that we have seen lived by Your Son, our Savior, Jesus, who emptied Himself to be one of us even though that led Him to the cross. It is to His name that we kneel with our knees, and that we confess as Lord with our tongues, together with all of creation.
Help us to recognize the people and works in our world today which resemble the way that Jesus lived and worked among us so long ago. And when we see them, help us to be quick to respond obeying His command to love one another and following His example of how that can be done.
It is as we continue to seek to learn to live our lives from Him, as His disciples, that we again pray 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 21, or (in 2011) the Fifteenth 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:
- Exodus 17:1-7: The fifth of nine consecutive readings from Exodus. In this passage, the Israelites are grumbling against Moses (and, by implication, against God) for bringing them out of Egypt into the desert "to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst." God then provides water for them to drink out of a rock.
- Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16: Part of a psalm that recounts God's saving acts toward Israel throughout history. This week's section remembers how God miraculously saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and how he guided and provided for them in the wilderness.
- Philippians 2:1-13: The second of four consecutive readings from Philippians. In this classic passage, Paul encourages his readers to "let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus," and gives a description of what that meant for Jesus and what it can mean for the rest of us. The passage concludes with Paul's exhortation to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you..."
- Matthew 21:23-32: All of the gospel readings after Pentecost in Year A come from Matthew. This passage is the first of nine consecutive readings containing Jesus' teachings during the days of the week between his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Sunday) and his arrest (Thursday night). Religious leaders try to trap Jesus with a question about his authority, and he responds by trapping them with a question about John the Baptist. He then tells a parable of two sons, one who does what his Father asked and one who doesn't, making the point that "the tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of heaven ahead of you.