December 12, 2009

Advent prayer

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,

And usher in the morning;

O shepherds, shrink not with afright,

But hear the angel’s warning.

This Child, now weak in infancy,

Our confidence and joy shall be,

The power of Satan breaking,

Our peace eternal making.

Break forth, O beautiful heavenly light. Break forth around us and illuminate the world in which we live. Give us eyes to see what you see, O Lord: a world broken, rent, in a thousand cross-like ways; yet a world, being reconciled and redeemed by your love—with a million resurrection possibilities.

We come to worship this Advent morning with six days of living on our hearts: 144 hours of walking in the Way while walking in your world. 8600 minutes is long enough to gather a week’s worth of intercessions, our fervent prayers for those we know in need—for neighbors, strangers, lovers, friends, coworkers, roommates … even our enemies. We pray for them now …

Break forth, O beautiful heavenly light. Break forth into the lives of those who are today covered in the darkness of grief, mourning the death of someone they love. We pray for all we know who are shadowed in grief …

Break forth, O beautiful healing light. Break forth into places of struggle and illness. Shine on those in need of healing and hope, cause cells to grow and hearts to heal and spirits to quicken. Shine upon those we name now …

Break forth, O beautiful Christ-refracted light. Break forth into the lives and homes and places of all those who walk in darkness—the darkness of doubt, of despair, of disappointment and dread. From the smallest family to the largest nation, where there is bad blood, bring healing; hatred, peace; resentment, freedom; wreckage of relationships, healing and new life. Shine your light, O Christ, in the places we name now …

How we thank you O Lord that we need not shudder in fear.
How we thank you for the angelic message of purposeful hope.
How we thank you that Christ shares our weaknesses
and makes buoyant our confident joy.