Proper 25 (30)
Joel 2:23-32 or Sirach 35:12-17 or Jer. 14:7-10, 19-22
Psalm 65 or Psalm 84:1-7
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Eternal God, the holy one, we are often presumptuous when we come before you. We are so often like the Pharisee who went up to pray. We feel him inside us.
• We feel him inside us when we feel that somehow we are of all your people most deserving.
• We feel him inside us when we feel that we are not needy like other people because we are so self-reliant.
• We feel him inside us when we feel that we are a cut above those with whom we live daily.
• We feel him inside us when we are uncomfortable with the evil within us and we do such a marvellous job of self deception by denying it.
• We feel him inside us when we feel that it is better to project evil onto others where we are able to see it so blatantly.
In all these ways we are the one in that story Jesus told, and in all these ways we are overcome by a pride which is unbecoming of your people. Forgive us and save us from this useless and destructive pattern. Give us the courage to pray that you would also be merciful to us because we are sinners. Grant us to find true humility of heart and spirit and the courage to look inwardly even when we fear what we may find. Help us again to discover and to believe in your grace which awaits a humble and contrite spirit. And help us to gain a faith which includes those who struggle, those who sin, those who have a ways to go. Make us into gracious people who know we live by grace and who make allowances for, rather than criticize, others. Give us generous hearts. Help us to own the humanity which we share with others and to embrace all your children. Amen