Prayer: The Humble Way
Jesus, you are lowly, vulnerable
You choose to be with us in our weakness
You win the world with your love, sacrifice, and humility
Your power is made perfect in
our honesty with our dusty condition
Free us from posing as experts with all the answers
Free us from burdening others with mortal mandates
Free us from chasing human favor and status
Let us know nothing with certainty other than the eternal truth
that you are the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, the Liberating King,
who was crucified and raised on behalf of all creation
We receive you and your saving
We receive you and your teaching
We receive you and your humilty
Hallelujah! Glory to your Holy Name. Amen.
Prayer: My Heart is Not Proud
Jesus, Savior, my heart is not proud
I trust you and need you and honor your blessed presence
Cleanse and nurture my soul
that I may rejoice in what delights you,
see as you see, love as you love
Cleanse and nurture my soul
so my thoughts are as yours,
so I am quick to respond to your bidding
Cleanse and nurture my soul
so that I may leave this world more as you intend it to be
I place myself honestly and humbly into your care,
for you know me truly and love me completely
Prayer: A Holy Centering
Eternal and Beautiful God,
The One who births us and names us
Grant us perspective
A holy centering
of truth, humility, and our belovedness
Not too high that we fall away from you
our need of you
our need of others
Not too low that we fail to trust
to reach out for you
to reach out with you
In you, with you, for you we are
humble and powerful
unique and alike
common and regal
priceless and dust
Grant us perspective, Merciful One
A holy centering
So we may persevere in faith
For the next few months, I’ll be posting prayers to accompany Bishop Ken Carter’s Bible Study on Facebook. Each week, Bishop Carter will bring in a guest to speak about the passage. We’ll be walking through the last chapters of the Gospel of Matthew.
You’re most welcome to read along and to join this Facebook discussion group. You don’t need to be a Methodist or attend a Methodist church. All are welcome and all means all.
May the grace of God’s word, the challenge, and the call, inspire us to great faith and great good works in Jesus’ name. – Lisa <
Think about how one person has the power to bring goodness, healing, and change
Like little Mack’s burp
Sometimes we think “I don’t have the power of the leader of a company or city or nation.” You have power. Often it’s the little things done with great love which change the world.
Example: Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus because it was an injustice and how it rippled through an entire system of injustice
Examples: Mr. Rogers, Gandi, Dr. Seuss
Think about how one person has the power to bring pain, injustice, oppression, and harm. How one person’s actions can ripple through a family, a school, a community, or even the world.
Yertle is modeled after Hitler
Yertle the Turtle is such a simple story and yet it beautifully contrasts the power of one. The power of one to do good in Mack using his voice, in doing a small thing which ends an injustice. Yertle using his power and twisting it something it was never meant to be.
Power is a good gift of God. It is neither good nor bad. It is a gift. How will you use the gift? Will you use it for good, healing, grace, and hope or will you twist it into something it was never meant to be.
Jesus had a great deal to say about this. We’ll read one the times he spoke about it.
Matthew 23:1-7 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.
Jesus had many encounters with the scribes (lawyers), Pharisees and rabbis (teachers), and priests (clergy)
One way to twist the gift of power is to twist it with hypocrisy. You lay down the rules but you are above them and don’t have to practice them yourself. How frustrating and unjust.
4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.
Power misused brings burdens on others.
5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6 They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.
Practicing faith in order to be seen, to show off
Self-centered, prideful, arrogant
Demanding respect, demanding the place of honor
C.S. Lewis Quote from Mere Christianity As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Jesus is saying there is another way to wield the good gift of power. Look at the way Jesus wielded power himself. Look at the humility of Jesus, the grace, the welcome.
Jesus wielding his power to heal. Jesus wielding his power to give voice to those who have no voice. Wielding his power to be in solidarity with people others had labeled outcast, insignificant, and other.
Jesus wielding his power as a servant, never demanding title or position. Jesus wielding his power to the point of death, the point of blood and torture and sacrifice and generosity and wielding his power to take up his life again in resurrection.
This is the other way to use the good gift of power and influence.
Matthew 23:8-12 Jesus said: 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. 9 And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
Jesus said, “I have not come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
How will you use your gift of power and influence?
Will you let go of your ego? Will you let go of your willfulness and surrender wholly to God’s self-giving passion for the love and salvation of the world?
Will you take up your cross for the oppressed, the outcast, those yet to follow Christ?
Will you carry in your heart and prayers the sorrow of another?
Will you speak truth? Will you stand alongside those the world labels do not count and have no voice?
Will you mentor?
Will you welcome?
Will you use your power and influence for good and for the glory of God?
Little things can make a huge difference if they are done with love and grace. If they are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
An Invitation to Christ by Dimitri of Rostov Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins
kindling my heart with the flame of thy love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there.
For you alone are my King and my Lord.