Saturday, December 15, 2018

Prayer 2148: For Trust and Courage


(Inspired by Psalm 30)
In the midst of struggle and heartbreak, O God,
you abide with us,
and set your kiss upon our hearts.

The Holy One lifts us up
and calls us to strength and courage,
for your faithful love is neverending,
O Savior and Redeemer,
who shares our joy as well as our pain.

You, O Merciful, Life-giving One,
are our sanctuary and our home;
make us true disciples,
aflame with your love
and filled with your Holy Spirit.

May we set out from your altars
rededicated to embodying your peace and justice,
and bearing your light to all corners of the world.

Sealed by your promise of mercy, Lord Christ,
we ask your blessing
as we dedicate ourselves to your Way.
Gather within your embrace
all who call out to you,
and grant your peace to those whom we lift before you.

Amen.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Prayer 2147: On the Sixth Anniversary of the Gun Massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary



Most Merciful God,
we thank You for your care of us as we have rested:
gather us within your hand and guide us, we pray.

For our hardness of heart against You
and each other,
we humbly ask your forgiveness and mercy.
Let us sing a new song,
a song of peace,
whose melody is rooted in the music
our Savior taught us
in all his ways.
Let us shine forth with the glory of our God,
proclaiming grace through our lives,
O Incarnation of Love Divine.
Let us put healing hands and hearts
toward the divisions that hurt us,
and vow to live and work for the cause of love.

Fill us with the power and beauty of the Holy Spirit,
O Creator God,
and shelter and bless those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Prayer, day 2146


All creation worships You, O God,
in the splendor of your majesty.

Holy One,
You sent your Son into the world for our salvation;
make us true disciples of His Way, Truth, and Light.
Christ came to remind us
that the least shall be the greatest;
make us humble servants of those we meet.
Give us courage,
knowing that our confidence is in You:
let our first response always be hope,
not fear.

Lord God, we thank You for bringing us
through the trials and tests of these last days,
and rejoice at your providence and love for us.
Guide, guard, and strengthen all those
who turn to You for help or comfort,
covering them with your wing.

Amen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Prayer 2145: On the Feast of the Virgin of Guadelupe


Fairest Lord Jesus,
we open our hearts before you,
extolling the transformative power
of your love and mercy in our lives.

May we empty ourselves
of all bitterness and rancor,
repent of all exploitation and envy,
and re-member we are your Body in the world.

Work in us your new creation
of justice, healing, and reconciliation, O Christ,
and make us willing instruments of your peace,
reflecting and embodying your grace, forgiveness, and mercy.

May we receive with joy
the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit,
and be shaped by our seeking of your truth, O God.

Holy One, You are our shield and our stay:
nourish our spirits
and refine and renew our souls,
refreshed by the Living Water
of the gospel of hope you bring us.

Grounded in compassion,
guided by hope,
inspired by faith,
we ask your blessing, O God:
Earth-maker, Love Incarnate, Life-giver.

Grant your comfort and protection
to those whose needs we bring before You.

Amen.
1785


Image: Icon of the Virgen de Guadalupe by Mary Whiting.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Prayer 2144

Blessed are You,
O Holy One, Blessed Trinity,
our Protector and our Hope.

We give thanks for the day before us,
for your guiding hand upon our heads.
May we prepare the ground of our hearts,
that your Word may flourish within them,
O God of Mercy and Truth,
that we may bear good fruit
that nourishes others in joy and abundant praise.

May we walk in the tender compassion of our God,
and bear the gospel of reconciliation
into all the wounded places we find.

Lord, we put our trust in you:
bless and keep us as your children,
and grant your peace and healing
upon those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Prayer 2143


Our faith rests in God our Creator
who calls us to walk the pilgrim path
of righteousness and truth.
Teach us to love each other, Lord Christ,
as you have loved us,
without reservation or limit.
Strengthen us to act in faithfulness
and testify to your gospel of peace
through our actions as well as our words.
Place your hand of healing
on those who are weary or worried, Almighty Savior,
and grant the kiss of your blessing
upon those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Preparing the Way-- Sermon for Advent 2C


One of my favorite movies is Forrest Gump. Besides being one of Tom Hanks’ greatest acting roles, it’s a beautiful story of how a common man—no, a man who might have been considered a throw-away man, due to his intellectual and physical challenges—ends up being involved in extraordinary events in the last half of the 20th century. But more than that, to me, it’s about the power of love, integrity, and loyalty to transform people’s lives. It’s about how love doesn’t insulate us from pain or grief—sometimes love can even lead to pain and grief—but expecting love to do that is having the wrong focus. Love carries us through the times and changes of our lives—even pain and grief.

From the beginning to the end, a small white feather blows through the scenes of Forrest Gump’s life. We could spend days discussing the multiple meanings of that feather, and about all the meanings of this wonderful film, but for now the thing about that feather that resonates with me is its reminder that often little things can be overlooked, and yet they end up being present at so many important things.

Forrest's ability to be present in the moment is a great gift of his. Being present—being alert and awake to what is going on around us right now—I am convinced is one of the great lessons of Advent. In a time when our identity and sense of self-worth is wrapped far too tightly around what we do or who we know, Advent reminds us that simply BEING is perhaps even more important. And Forrest Gump is a great example of that, too. Furthermore, Forrest demonstrates the effect that fidelity—that old fashioned word that means more than simply keeping promises-- have as the bedrock foundation of a person’s life. 

 The movie shows Forrest, even though he was from humble circumstances and had to overcome a lot of obstacles both physically and mentally, being involved tangentially in a number of the most important events of the last part of the 20th century. He meets Elvis when Elvis was still just a truck driver. He meets presidents. He goes to war in Vietnam. He loves greatly—and loses some of the people he most loves. And yet he perseveres. Just like all of us. The events flash past, seemingly disconnected.

And that reminded me of the characters we have been hearing about in our lectionary the last few weeks—there have been a dizzying array, and many of them seem to not be obviously linked, they’ve whirled by so fast. We missed out on the story of Ruth when we celebrated St. Martin’s Day, and that’s a shame, because her story is one of my favorites. And then we heard about Hannah, and her longing to have a child was so strong that she promised God to give the baby right back to God’s service if only she could have one and take care of it until it was weaned. 

 This week, we get the introduction of another character who is important to the overall narrative of scripture. This week we get the arrival of John the Baptist. Like Forrest Gump, though, John could easily have been an insignificant character from an insignificant place. He certainly doesn’t seem positioned to make a big impression on the powerful or the mighty. Far from being a common man, he seems to be downright weird. 


He’s a familiar character to most of us, in our mind’s eye: a wild-haired, wild-eyed man dressed in camel’s hair, which had to be pretty itchy, one would imagine, with a belt around his waist, known for eating a diet of grasshoppers and wild honey—which always makes me wonder if he flossed or brushed his teeth because that just sounds like a dental hygiene nightmare, you know? And that’s also my way of distracting myself from the fact that he ate bugs. 

From the stories we get about him, he kept to the wilderness near the Jordan river, because the Jordan was necessary for the baptisms he offered to people. His message could be harsh and abrasive—and yet it seems that people flocked to hear him anyway. But we don’t hear that part of him this week. Instead, we are reminded that John started out as a longed- for baby born to parents who were thought to be too old. And he’s a baby boy whose life will be intertwined with another baby boy born not too long after his own birth.

Our gospel today starts with an illustrious list of names—powerful men who were wealthy, connected, whether they were Romans or of Jewish descent. And into this middle of this "Who’s Who in Ancient Palestine" comes a nobody—John, son of Zechariah—and even the fact that he was Zechariah’s son was improbable, for John had been born to Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth when both were considered to be far too old to be having babies. And when his father, Zechariah, is told by the archangel Gabriel that there will be a baby boy coming to his wife and himself, Zechariah just can’t believe it. And even though if you know anything about scripture, you know that that is often the reception that angels get when they start announcing improbable births, for some reason Zechariah’s skepticism rubs Gabriel the wrong way, and so Zechariah becomes mute for the duration of his wife’s improbable pregnancy.

Once the baby was born, there was a lot of talk about what his name would be. It seemed like all their neighbors had an opinion. But Gabriel had already told Zechariah to name the baby John, and Zechariah was NOT about to anger Gabriel twice, so he wrote on a tablet that the baby’s name was John, which is what Elizabeth his wife had been saying all along. The second this was made clear, Zechariah’s ability to speak was restored, and he wasted no time in using his restored voice to praise God loudly and fervently.

Just like we heard from Hannah a few weeks ago, in response to her own improbable gift of a son, Zechariah songs a song of praise and justice to the Lord. His song, called the Benedictus to this day, is a song of salvation and jubilation, recounting how God is working in the world at each moment to restore it, to repair it, to sanctify it. It extols the savior God has given us even before that savior is born. And then it predicts that this little baby son he has been blessed to have is going to be the one to prepare the way for that longed-for savior. The gospel further makes this point, naming John as


A voice crying out in the wilderness….
Preparing the way of the Lord, and making his paths straight,
Leveling out any obstacle, whether mountain or valley, that might stand between the Messiah and the broadcasting his message of salvation.

Now, that’s an amazing claim. How does John plan to prepare the way for Jesus to save us?

By calling God’s people to repentance to turning around their focus and priorities, not half-heartedly, but decisively. What the ancient Greeks called metanoia-- a decisive changing not just of the mind but of the heart, so that we experience reality in a different way. For John’s ministry is meant to prepare us for Jesus’s ministry. They complement each other. John’s radical pronouncements of condemnation and demand for repentance reminds us that Jesus’s message of reconciliation, healing, and forgiveness doesn’t come cheaply.

Jesus comes to restore creation to its proper beauty and balance, but that same beautiful vision meets resistance from the powers of the world that thrive on oppression, division, fear, and chaos. Reconciliation cannot happen unless we own up to and repent—renounce, even-- all that we have done to harm our relationships with the earth, with each other, and with God. Mercy forgives, but in forgiving, there is inevitably judgment. As the Rev. Becca Stevens says, love heals, but in order to heal love also has to reveal the places where there is woundedness and brokenness.

It is this kind of preparation that Advent calls us to make. Starting inside of ourselves. Making what is crooked straight, setting what is turbulent at peace, and turn our focus so that it rests outside ourselves. Changing our emphasis from doing Christianity to being Christians within the same flesh and bones that God sanctified by sending his Son to be one of us. Yet that’s what we’re preparing for. Salvation WILL be visible to us, because it is coming in the form of a little, helpless baby, born in the middle of nowhere to parents who are nobodies, too. A little baby who shows us the spark of God inside us all, grounded in love, in promises made and kept, in fidelity, peace, integrity and wholeness—what our Jewish friends call shalom.

The feather blowing through the Bible is this truth: it is from the unexpected places that great prophets, leaders, and teacher arise. It is from the most humble of parents and circumstances that a Savior will be born. We profess him to be God incarnate, in human form and experience, just like you and me, sent to show us how to recover our full humanity, how to BE fully human in celebrating our being made in the image of God.

It’s easy for us to get distracted from that. It’s easy for us to get dragged down by the weight of alienation and fear that fills up so much of our existence today-- fear and isolation that pulls us away from realizing that love is why we are made. Forrest Gump, in all his simplicity, embodies this truth that Jesus teaches us. Like Forrest Gump’s feather, love is the thread that runs through our lives, and calls us back to valuing being over doing. Of being present in this moment, this time of waiting and preparation, centering ourselves to joyfully proclaim the promises of God being fulfilled in our lives every day, starting in the most unlikely of places.

John helps point the way to the promises of God being fulfilled in our midst, and urges us to prepare ourselves that we can receive our savior with open hearts, cleansed of all that we have acquired that weigh us down. May we take this time to straighten our path to wholeness, and embrace who we are called to be as fully beloved human beings. May we repent of all that weighs us down and pulls us into fear and sinfulness. May we level the barriers within us that cause us to turn away from the coming light and hope approaching through the Advent Season, so that we may, with full hearts, say, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Amen.






Prayer 2142: Second Sunday in Advent


The light from on high rises in the East,
and we raise our prayers on high
as we await the coming of the Prince of Peace.

May we open our ears
to hear the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
and make straight the way of the Lord
in the tracks and paths of our hearts.

May we prepare a place for the newborn Savior
within our understanding,
that we may shine forth with God's grace,
our lives telling forth the gospel
without words.

United in your holy fellowship,
may we serve You
and each other
with steadfast truth, O God.

Holy One, rest your blessing upon us,
and pour out your Spirit to kindle your love within us,
as we worship You in gratefulness and joy.
Grant your abundant peace and confort, O Lord,
upon all those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Prayer, day 2141


As the Earth is called from her slumber, O God,
we hear your call to us: 
let us sing out our praise to the Most High!

Holy One, we have wandered from your paths
and abused each other
and your love:
forgive, Lord, forgive.

Your glory, O God,
fills the world in golden dawn,
in crimson close,
in velvet dark.
Astounded by your grace,
led by the star of your wisdom,
You lead us into a broad green land of plenty.

Give us strength to act for love's sake
in all things.
May we raise our spirits above
the clanging noise of fear-filled striving
and embrace your mercy and peace.

May we tend to those in any need,
remembering your abundant love that sustains us.
Comfort the weary and hurting,
the sick and the suffering,
Lord Christ,
and grant your peace to those we now name.

Amen.
1424

Friday, December 7, 2018

Prayer 2140


In the name of the Merciful One,
Love drapes over us like a silken garment
trusting in us to wear her proudly
even when raindrops threaten;
so too boldly may we enflesh our faith
to bear healing into the hurting places of the world.

Arise, O Wisdom, and lead us,
that we may embrace new hope
and claim our place as your disciples,
devoted to the light you kindle within us 
that we may shine with joy
and banish the shadows that linger.

Let us take the hand of the fearful
and comfort the aching hearts among us,
as our Savior Christ teaches us,
that we may wear his name with justice.

Almighty Creator, bend near;
hear the whispered prayers of your people,
and enfold those for whom we pray
within your steadfast embrace.

Amen.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Prayer 2139


Night tells its tale to the dawn:
it has gently enveloped us in its velvet embrace,
opening our eyes
to the delicacy of light's filigree from the candle's flame
as our prayers ascend to You, O Creating God.

Almighty One,
we thank you for the darkness which opens our eyes,
reminding us to seek you always,
even when our way seems veiled.

Take us by the hand, Precious Savior,
and lead us deeper into the mysteries of your grace,
for we know our faults,
and yet your mercy continually draws us in.
Accept our repentance, we pray, O Lord.

Let our mouths be filled with praise,
and our hearts with gratitude and tenderness,
that we may serve you in constancy and love.

Pour out your spirit upon the turbulent waters of our souls,
and grant your peace to all who watch or weep, O Holy One,
especially those whose needs we lift before You.

Amen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Prayer, day 2158


Bright Morning Star,
we seek your light and guidance.
You herald a new dawn for those who feel lost or alone.
Your light brings promise
of the dawning of a new day
 a day in which all things are made new.
Inspire us to focus on your rising,
which drives all shadows from our hearts.
And, we pray, be a beacon of hope and fortitude,
especially to those for whom we now pray.

Amen.
1057

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Prayer 2137: Confession in the face of indifference


Almighty One,
you have crafted and tended the galaxies in their glory
and the wren in her spry industry:
we praise your wondrous works--
the tapestry of life, visible and unseen,
that supports us throughout the day.

Inspire us, O God,
to defend the weary and the oppressed,
the poor and the refugee,
in obedience to your law of love and righteousness.

As we confess the things we have left undone,
let us consider our own indifference to suffering,
our justification for inflicting pain on others
for our own comfort
or to assuage our own fears,
and let us turn from the darkness of cruelty and greed
to the light of love and empathy.

For by your grace we live and move and have our being,
O Creator and Lover of Our Souls:
may we seek to do your will
in the name of healing and restoration,
for the sake of this world You have made
and charged us to tend and preserve in peace.

Pour out your reconciling power, O Holy One,
on all who cry out to You,
and place your hand of protection
over all those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Prayer 2136


Holy is the Name of the Lord,
and holy are the people whose trust is in God!

Center us, Lord Christ, within your mercy and compassion:
make us bearers of your good news
and living testaments to your grace.

Gentle us and heal us, O Savior,
that we may work for reconciliation and peace,
founded upon the bedrock of justice and charity
that your kingdom reign within our hearts.

Holy One, watch over us throughout this day,
and spread the canopy of your mercy
over those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Every December Sky: Sermon for Advent 1 C


I spent my day off on Monday, fully geeking out, reading and collecting Advent liturgical materials from all kinds of sources. Now, to some that might not sound like much of a day off, but I also had puppies to distract me and all kinds of mayhem that they… unleashed… to keep me from getting too far into the weeds. But I am enough a liturgical nerd that I enjoyed reading and praying all these prayers and poems.

I really am not a fan of winter, especially the days that are so short. When I was younger I thought it was kind of a crazy idea that the Church would choose to start its calendar now, when it’s dark and cold and dreary. But the more I have grown and come to embrace the season of Advent, the idea of pushing back against the darkness in these four short weeks DOES make sense, especially for today. Our collect for the first Sunday of Advent, written by the “Father of the Book of Common Prayer,” Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1549, goes straight to the heart of the matter. Let’s hear it again: 

ALMIGHTY God,
give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness,
and put upon us the armor of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility;
that in the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge both the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal,
through him who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, now and ever.
Amen.

It’s an amazing gathering prayer, which is what a collect is—it “collects” our scattered thoughts and focuses them outside our own concerns and worries so that we can assume an attitude of worship and prayer. And Advent itself is a season for us to pause, collect our scattered impulses, and focus on waiting. On anticipation. So it’s doubly appropriate.

This collect spans the full sweep of our lives, from the time we are born until we are united with the saints after we dies. It also pulls off the trick of talking about the two comings of Jesus that Advent focuses on: the coming of the Incarnate One, the Christ-child who will be born of Mary, and also the Christ who will “come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,” as we repeat in our Nicene Creed.

The collect reminds us that we can find the will and the strength to keep our orientation God-focused only through God’s grace. It is through God’s grace that we have strength to cast aside all that is comfortable and yet turn over our lives to Jesus, the Incarnate One who was and is and is to be.

The collect is hopeful and comforting in a way that at first, our gospel passage seems NOT to be. In our gospel passage today, Jesus talks about signs—how to look for them, how to interpret them, how to respond to them. And those signs can seem terrifying—including turbulence in the very stars themselves. The apocalyptic visions of heavenly turmoil described by Jesus that spin through our gospel passage brought to my mind the swirls of yellow in the night sky of Vincent Van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night.

Painted after Van Gogh had had a breakdown and had committed himself to an asylum, it shows stars and the moon swirling, vibrating, and spinning over a town at night. It’s as if Van Gogh was seeing the same celestial signs and portents that Jesus describes in our gospel. And yet, beneath the sky there is the sleeping town. And if you look closely in the center of the painting and in the center of the town, there is a church with its steeple reaching almost as high as the hills in the background. I wonder if that might have been comforting to Van Gogh.


The disaster that is being described in Luke’s gospel is the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. The fall of Jerusalem had brought the world tumbling down to the early listeners of Luke’s gospel—and they wanted to understand the cataclysm they had been through. They felt bereft. They were afraid.

Yet just like in Van Gogh’s painting, there is hope in the center of our gospel passage today—hope and promise that we may overlook if we only look at the signs of tumult. And isn’t that the way it often is for us?
When we’re anxious, when we’re afraid, our vision narrows to only the threat before us—it’s how we were instinctually made to operate. Of course Jesus understands that. But that’s why he offers us a promise and a hope in the center of our gospel passage. The challenge for us as individuals, and in the Church now, is to collect our attention to hear the words of promise that are within our gospel passage today, instead of focusing on the predictions of destruction that Luke’s community had just lived through.

We have in common our feelings of loss, our struggles against the darkness. So often nowadays, it feels like we are besieged on every side by worries, anxieties, crises, earthquakes, famines, wars, prejudice, and hatred—and many of us feel afraid. Afraid for our children, that they may grow up and be unable to establish themselves in the way that my generation did, or that they will inherit a planet that is polluted and rebelling against our abuse over the past 200 years. Fear that they will encounter the racist hatred and prejudice that seems emboldened in our world today.

Fear is also a powerful weapon in the hands of those who seek to divide us and get us to turn on each other. And unless we consciously name that attempted fear-mongering and reject it, the darkness may overwhelm us.

And for the Church itself, there is the constant foretelling of our obsolescence. We are told that we live in a “post-Christian” age, and that religious faith is an antiquated, foolish notion at odds with reason and the post-modern world, a world where everyone determines their own truth, their own values. In the face of the anxiety that both Luke’s community and our community face, however, Jesus offers words of promise and assurance. There in the middle of the gospel is the promise: even though heaven and earth might pass away, Jesus’s words will not, and stand forever, offering us light in the midst of darkness. Even if heaven and earth were to pass away, Jesus’s words, and his healing love for each of us, abides forever. Even when it gets darkest, the kingdom of God draws nearer still. Jesus asks to come into our hearts, to be invited in to the center of our lives, so that we can engage together in the work of transformation and reconciliation of ourselves, of our relationships, and of the world around us.

Advent recognizes not just two, but three distinct approaches of Jesus: the advent of the Christ Child, and the Advent of Jesus coming in glory to judge the living and the dead, of course. But there’s a third Advent: the one that is ongoing in our souls, as we pluck up our courage to let go of our fears and move more deeply into the life of faith. The challenge for us as the Church is to recognize that we are stretched between the arrival of Jesus--the one two thousand years ago, and the one that is ongoing even now inside our hearts.

We live in the in-between—and we can let that make us uncertain, or we can use this time to grow deeper in our collective relationship with Jesus and with each other. At our best, the Church makes present and visible God’s ongoing work of redemption and healing in our world. The season of Advent calls us to slow down and remember that.

Thinking of Jesus's admonition about the trees brought to mind singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman's beautiful description of what that faith is like in the first verse of her song “Every December Sky:”

Every December sky
Must lose its faith in leaves
And dream of the spring inside the trees.



Now, there’s some deep wisdom there. The dead leaves have to be released, and when they are, the bare branches are then revealed, reaching for the sky with a naked longing that is all too often obscured under the cloud of green they wear for half the year. By December, even the most tenacious leaves that have rattled overhead for months give way so that the new buds can push their way through. Those leaves have to give way, in faith that there WILL be spring stirring inside those trees, stirring even in December, so that the forest can shine out with new life and growth again. The trees unfurl their leaves in faith of the warming spring, and they shed their leaves in faith even in winter’s grip.

The courage to let go enables the promise of new growth. That’s the lesson of December, and it’s one of the most important lessons of Advent. To let go of all that the old year held in promise of the new.

To be watchful and alert for signs of hope and community all around us, countering that drumbeat of division that beats around us. To slow down. To let the anticipation build rather than grab as if the good is going to disappear. To trust that God is active in the world, everywhere from a stable two thousand years ago to the wintry hearts of you and me and everyone.

That’s a blessing and benediction for us that’s vital to hear, especially at the start of this advent season of watching, of waiting, of preparing for Christ’s coming among us that is ongoing, as we are invited to cast away the works of darkness, the fears and anxieties and tumult that so much of our life in drenched in, and instead fasten our hearts upon the promise of Jesus to always be beside us as our companion, teacher, and Savior.

It’s the promise we hear everytime we kneel around this altar and receive Christ’s body, given for each and every one of us. It’s the promise we hear in the middle of the night when our anxieties swirl overhead like Van Gogh’s stars. It’s the promise that, through grace, we will be strengthened in holiness so that we may welcome the three advents of Christ into our hopes and our lives: our past, our present, our future. Welcome Advent, under every December sky.

Amen.

Prayer 2135: First Sunday in Advent



God of all Grace,
You are the source of all being.
You are the fount of every blessing
 and your mercy endures forever.

May we be ever watchful
to see the signs of your approach around us,
even in times of anxiety or fear.
Help us to lift our eyes
from the cares and concerns that trouble us,
and see your goodness in our lives.
Come, Lord Jesus,
as the Incarnate One,
as the Redeeming One,
as the Ever-Present One in our hearts.
Help us to be grateful for all that we have,
and set our sights on the Higher Ground that we have in You.

We thank You and bless You
for our breath, our life, our hope.
We ask that your radical love hover especially
over these beloveds whom we lift up in our prayers today.

Amen.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Prayer 2134


Joy comes in the morning,
as the Light of Christ illumines the world!
Lead us, O Holy One,
anointing us to your service for your Name's sake.
Make us beacons of hope and trust
in a world too often rent
by division and faithlessness.
Shape us as steadfast servants of your Truth,
that we may give all of our selves--
heart, mind, and soul--
to You.
Draw us into the holy mystery
of your abiding grace and mercy,
that our lives testify to your goodness.
Spread the canopy of your protection and blessing
over the hearts and minds of those who seek You.

Amen.