Epaphras Prayer Letter

All Saints Sunday

Week of November 1, 2021 | Sunday, November 6, 2021

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Mt. 5:11).  Jesus inserts a jarring note.  The previous beatitudes had been mild, comforting, and rather platitudinous.  This blessing comes at the cost of being reviled, being persecuted, and having evil thrown at you.  Jesus repeatedly tells his disciples of the world’s hatred (1 Jn. 3:13; Jn. 7:7; Mt. 24:9; Mt. 10:22; Lk. 21:17; Mk. 13:13; and others).  With the blessing delivered here, Jesus encourages and sustains those who bear his name, Christians. To be blessed is to be fruitful.  Jesus encourages his hearers as they are in the throes of persecution from the world, they will be fruitful.  You can hear a resonance with John 15 where Jesus declares himself to be the vine and his followers to be the branches... branches that are destined to bear fruit—that is, to be fruitful or blessed.  The blessing... the fruitfulness is hidden—as so much of God’s work is—under the sign of persecution, revulsion, and hatred.


Prayers from one who laments the hiddenness of the blessing of fruitfulness...


Holy Father, you have seen to it that I bear the name of Christ, Christian.  Grant that, in the midst of persecution and hatred, I can be confident of your blessing and your gift of fruitfulness despite all evidence to the contrary.  In the name of Jesus.  Amen


Holy Father, you have seen to it that I bear the name of Christ, Christian.  For the sake of his name forgive my sins, known and unknown, as I confess my sinfulness toyou.  In the name of Jesus.  Amen


Holy Father, you have seen to it that I bear the name of Christ, Christian.  See to it that I am not silenced by the world’s threat of hatred and persecution but declare the name of Jesus Christ all the more in the face of it.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen


Holy Father, you have seen to it that I bear the name of Christ, Christian.  Set before me my neighbors that I may give them water and bread, and the other necessities of daily life that they may need, not in my name for my honor but for Christ’s name and his honor.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen


Holy Father, you have seen to it that I bear the name of Christ, Christian.  Set before me my neighbors that I may give them living waters and the bread of life—that is, Jesus Christ—to sustain their life in the world to come, so that Christ’s name will be honored and not my own.  In Jesus name.  Amen


Holy Father, you have seen to it that I bear the name of Christ, Christian. Grant that I may enjoy the Institute of Lutheran Theology as it establishes the name of Christ and sets its students to bear his name as well.  In the name of Christ.  Amen


Holy Father, you have seen to it that I bear the name of Christ, Christian.  Grant that as I wait in this old, passing away creation, I may see it as the vestibule of heaven and wait for that day when your Son will come in his glory.  In the name of Jesus. Amen

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