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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Prayers of the People

Today our prayer was:


Today we begin Holy Week, walking the Via Dolorosa with Jesus of Nazareth…sitting at the table at the Last Supper, watching and waiting in Gethsemane’s garden, seeing with horror and dread the arrest and torture and trials, and finally, weeping at the foot of the cross. But today, Gracious God, we begin with his arrival at Jerusalem, riding on a borrowed colt, and surrounded by people praising God loudly:

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!


And then, as happens so often in our world even today, some of the religious people complained and admonished him, “Rabbi, order your disciples to stop. They’re making too much noise. They are offending the religious order. Tell them to stop.” And Jesus said to them, “I tell you,


If these were silent, the very stones would shout out.


As we look around our world, O God, your world, as we open our eyes and ears and hearts, we become aware of the many situations which demand our attention, our intervention, our words… so why are we so often silent? Forgetting that Jesus said,


If these were silent, the very stones would shout out.


Wars rage, and hopes for peace talks in Syria are dimming. The people of South Sudan continue to live in fear and flee their homes, with little hope of ever returning… yet we remain silent, forgetting that Jesus said,


If these were silent, the very stones would shout out.


Everywhere we look, the mistreatment of girls and women continues–in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Turkey, yet some courageous young women in Palestine and the United States and Kenya and Guatemala are using their voices, their spoken word poems, to challenge and confront, to tell the truth, remembering that Jesus said,


If these were silent, the very stones would shout out.


Even as we attempt to honor the Prince of Peace, contention seems to be the rule of the political day in so many places, with the people of Great Britain divided about remaining in the European Union, with the people of the United States divided about their choice of candidates in the Presidential primaries, with words being used to foster enmity and hate, separation and exclusion, while so many of us remain silent, forgetting that Jesus said,


If these were silent, the very stones would shout out.


And throughout the world, refugees are being treated, not with welcome, but with anger and resentment, as hospitality is pushed aside, replaced by fear of the other. Where is our outrage, O God, as so many of us remain silent, forgetting that Jesus said,


If these were silent, the very stones would shout out.


Why do we remain silent, O God? Is it out of fear of what other people will think of us? Is it out of fear for our jobs? Our lives? How do we live out the call of the prophets to “Do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with our God”? Jesus has told us, and his words echo again and again,


If these were silent, the very stones would shout out.


Fill us with daring, O God of justice. Fill us with compassion. Fill us with the determination to be the people you have called us to be, to be the Body of Christ in this world. Open our ears to hear the words of Jesus as he says,


If these were silent, the very stones would shout out.


So make of us shouting stones, Lord of Mercy and Daring…shouting stones who dare to speak out for those who have no voice, for those forgotten by our world, for those who need someone to speak for them. And let us do it in the name of the One who spoke with his life for us–Jesus the Christ. Amen


(From World News This Week in Prayers)