December 23, 2007
Prayers of the People
Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor
Gracious God, from whom we receive the gift of life, in whom we learn the meaning of life, and to whom we owe the glory of life, you cause the heavens to be glad and the earth to rejoice, because you come as no other comes: you come as righteousness and truth.
And so we have set out to Bethlehem to greet you as you come into this world. We seek to wait for you, and yet as so many little ones in our midst, we are impatient. But our impatience is not just about what might be nestled under the tree. We are anxious about our world and about ourselves, for there are great needs and deep yearnings. In these times we have come to know that people are hungry of body and hungry of soul; people are at war within and without; the children who have too little expect nothing; children who have too much whine; the people who have, get; the people who don’t have are angry; too many people who know don’t understand; too many people who don’t understand don’t wish to know; the comfortable make us uncomfortable; the uncomfortable make us uneasy. So as we await your coming, we are impatient. Surprise us, we pray, with good answers to our deep prayers, and bring quickly the full, unadorned, extravagant hope of Christmas.
In our waiting today, we also pray for those whose waiting is of a whole different nature. We pray for those who wait for their tour of duty to end and for those who wait to We pray for those who wait for their tour of duty to end and for those who wait to welcome them home. We pray for those who wait for a day when their hearts will not be so weighted down with grief and fear and loss. We pray for those who wait for the day when war will be no more and the angels sing again of peace come anew in their land. We pray for those who live in the lands and territories and countries where darkness has eclipsed the light and wait for the day when a newborn one is heard crying in the night and learn anew that God is with them.
In these final ever-important days of this Advent season, give us minds of clarity and wisdom showered with new insight. With eager anticipation renewed by the season, grant that we might catch a vision of your promise for our time so that we might move ever closer to Bethlehem, expecting your word to be true, expecting to come soon the day of complete kindness, the day of uncompromised justice, the day of absolute truth, the day of full health, the day when grief shall end, the day when joy shall abound. We pray this and all things in the name of the newborn one to come. So hear us as we join our voices together saying,
Our Father . . .
Portions of this prayer are adapted from Prayers for the Lord’s Day: Hope for the Exiles by James S. Lowry.