7th Sunday after Pentecost—Year A—July 27, 2014

7th Sunday after Pentecost—Year A—July 27, 2014

Preached at the Lutheran Church of Framingham 

Let the words of mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Amen.

The last couple of weeks, it has been pretty crazy to watch the Nightly Nightly News day after day. Plane crashes, rockets, civil war, dead bodies, unaccompanied children, tornados, wildfires…things just seem to be getting worse and worse. And on top of that there is the news closer to home…declining health, illness, cancer, miscarriage, grief, financial trouble, family strife…it is hard to find a glimpse of hope.

But this week I did find comfort in today’s readings:

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, not angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, […nor Putin, nor Hamas, nor failed cease fires, nor terrorists, nor viruses, nor rapidly replicating cells, …} nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[1]

With that assurance, I was driven to pray. I was again reassured by today’s texts:

Paul reminded me that “we do not know how to pray as we ought”[2] so “the Spirit helps us in our weakness”[3] and “intercedes with sighs too deep for words”[4]

As soon as I read that, I had a piece of music start running through my head: http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/lyric_search/lyric_search.php?f=S

For me this is a constant reminder that we do not have to have the right words, right timing, right frequency, right posture when praying.

We do not all have to be as wise as Solomon who knows the right thing to pray for: “an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil.”[5] Even if we misguidedly pray for “long life of riches, or for the life of your enemies”[6] we are not ignored from then on, we are not deleted from God’s contacts list, we are not less favored. It is Christ who won our forgiveness, life, and status for us…there is nothing we can do to mess that up.

Prayer is a powerful practice of faith, listening, patience, and trust…but I think at times we might all forget just how powerful the act can be.

What if instead of the “kingdom of heaven” we think of prayer being like a mustard seed…or yeast…or treasure in a field…or a field

  • The smallest of actions can have a huge impact
  • It can bring people together
  • It can elevate any situation…no matter how big
  • It is precious (but thankfully not expensive)
  • But it is not like the fish…there are not good and bad prayers
    • Eloquent does not equal good
    • Formulaic prayers are not by definition bad
    • There are not good and bad pray-ers

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, not angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, […nor misguided, wisdom-less, skipped prayers, …} nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[7] Amen.

[1] Romans 8:38-39, NRSV.

[2] Romans 8:26, NRSV.

[3] Romans 8:26, NRSV.

[4] Romans 8:26, NRSV.

[5] I Kings 3:9, NRSV.

[6] 1 Kings 3:11, NRSV.

[7] Romans 8:38-39, NRSV.

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