[This is one of a series of Prayers for the Christian Year. To see the other posts, click here.]
Living, loving Father,
Your glory is on display all around us; may we have the eyes to see it.
May we have the ears to hear and hearts to receive Your word.
Your word is perfect, sure, right, clear, pure, never-ending, true, righteous,
more valuable than gold and sweeter than honey.
Your word revives our souls, grows us in wisdom,
makes our hearts rejoice and gives light to our eyes.
We need Your word more than anything else that anyone can give us.
In Your word, You have given us a way to live,
free from sin, and freed to fully love You and those around us.
Speak Your word to us, so that we may live.
We saw and heard this way of living most clearly
when You sent Your Word to be one of us
in the life of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus.
His ways were Your ways.
His life among us was more valuable than gold
and sweeter than honey,
and made the pursuit of everything except knowing Him
look like worthless garbage.
We want to know Him, the power of His resurrection,
and the sharing of His sufferings,
so that just as He lives, we also may live.
You sent Your Word, Your beloved Son, and we rejected Him,
yet He remains the foundation of all that is good in this world,
and it is amazing in our eyes.
Again today as those mercifully given the opportunity to be His students,
we 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 22, or (in 2011) the Sixteenth 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 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20: The sixth of nine consecutive readings from Exodus. This passage contains the Ten Commandments, Israel's response (they were afraid, trembled, stood at a distance and said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die"), and Moses' reply ("Do not be afraid...")
- Psalm 19: Contains a reflection on the goodness of all of God's commandments (including the Ten Commandments), including "more are they to be desired than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb."
- Philippians 3:4b-14: The third of four consecutive readings from Philippians. In this passage, Paul lists the items that could be considered to his benefit as "reasons to be confident in the flesh," but then points out that he considers them as rubbish compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus.
- Matthew 21:33-46: All of the gospel readings after Pentecost in Year A come from Matthew. This passage is the second 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). This passage is Jesus' parable of the wicket tenants, who first kill the landowner's servants, and then his son, and the chief priests and Pharisees realize that he was talking about them.