Monthly Archives: December 2012

Prayers for Christmas

Celebrating the coming of the One who brings the reign of God, we pray for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and all people according to their needs, saying, Gracious God, and responding, Hear our prayer.

[Brief pause]

God who has come, open our mouths to sing your praise, and open our hands to share your love.  Gracious God,
Hear our prayer.

God who has come, you send your love into the world in the small, the insignificant, the hidden.  Give us eyes to see and hearts to welcome your presence.  Gracious God,
Hear our prayer.

God who has come, you have spoken yourself into our world in Jesus.  Give us ears to hear you speaking today.  Gracious God,
Hear our prayer.

God who has come, you invite us into a relationship of love, forgiveness and acceptance.  Give us a joyful desire to respond every day.  Gracious God,
Hear our prayer.

God who has come, you come precisely because of our lack of wholeness, our selfishness, our illness.  Show your love through the lives of your people as we struggle to serve those whom we name before you.
[Long Pause]
Gracious God,
Hear our prayer.

God who has come, your presence calls to our empty hearts, our damaged relationships, our broken souls.  Give us hope to trust your promise.  Gracious God,
Hear our prayer.

God who shines in the darkness, receive these prayers and the prayers of our hearts, in the name of the one who comes, Jesus the Christ.
Amen.

Prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Filled with expectation and longing, we pray for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and all people according to their needs, saying, Lord, in your mercy, and responding, Hear our prayer.

[Brief pause]

We pray for your world and the people who inhabit it.  So that reconciliation and peace may be seen among us, stir up your power and come.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for the poor who are blamed for being poor, the jobless who are blamed for being unemployed, and the foreigner who is unwelcome in our community.  So that we may work toward a more just society, stir up your power and come.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for political leaders and elected officials.  So that they may remember their duty toward the weak, and we would embrace our responsibility to remind them, stir up your power and come.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for the Church and the mission to which you call us.  So that forgiveness may be our way of being together, and that we may live your Good News every day, stir up your power and come.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for the sick and those who care for them, the neglected and those who reach out to them, and the excluded and those who advocate for them.  So that we may be part of raising up the lowly, stir up your power and come.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for this congregation as we move toward a new year and new opportunities.  So that we may be willing participants in the reign of God in [your community], stir up your power and come.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Hear the prayers of your people, O God, and in your mercy grant us what we need through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Once Again, God is Being Used

Saw this pic the other day.

176_700b

There is so much wrong with this picture, the mind boggles.

But I don’t want to start listing what’s wrong, because A) I’lll be here all night, B) you already know what’s wrong with it, and C) I’ll never get to the point of this little tirade!

So.  Here’s the point of this little tirade:

Too much of the Church has sold its soul.

It has given up faith so it can have certainty.  It has given up Jesus so it can have Caesar.  It has given up the cross so it can have comfort, and suffering so it can have luxury.

And the t-shirt shows that it has given up trust so it can have proof, proof that it is right, always right, forever and eternally right.  About all things, for all time.

Those who have said such things in response to the horror in Newtown, Connecticut (and there have been far too many!), are trying to say, “I told you so” to a world which no longer takes them seriously.

Their complete and utter disregard for the parents, brothers, sisters, friends, teachers and neighbours of those who were killed in Newtown, as well as the grief-stricken people around the world, is, for me, not proof of their “rightness,” but proof of their pathetic desperation.

And it reveals what is really going on.

It reveals that their “Pro Life” speeches are not about the un-born, but about their own desire for control over others.

It reveals that their “anti gay” signs are not about some kind of moral purity, but about their own need to have their own way at the expense of others.

It reveals that their “Keep Christ in Christmas” campaigns are not about Jesus, but are about their own craving to set the agenda for everyone else.

The church has turned its back on its God-given mission, its God-given Gospel, its God-given Saviour…, and sold it all for a mess of pottage.

And we wonder why we aren’t being taken seriously.

Terror at Sandy Hook School

Again.

And again.

And yet again.

Dead children.  Grieving parents.  Incredulous friends, A stunned community.

My Facebook page is filling up with calls for prayers for the victims. Prayers for the families.  Prayers for the first-responders.

One even asked for prayers for the perpetrator, and all who see violence as the only option, or at least a viable option.

I certainly do not disagree with this call to prayer. In times like these, it is a good and holy thing to do. We need to touch base with our core. We need to re-centre ourselves. We need to remember that the horror we feel is justified. We need to recall that God is in the middle of the pain, suffering as much as any of us.

But there is something else we need to do, and the sooner we get on with it, the better for all of us.

We need to get mad.

We need to get angry!

We need to get completely pissed off!!

We need to start standing up and screaming, “This is no longer acceptable!”

We need to stand up to the bullies in the NRA and the thugs at the ALEC and the gun manufacturers and ammo makers and the fear mongers and the politicians who act as their protectors and the commentators who act as their mouthpieces.

We need to name them for the terrorists they are.

We need to finally acknowledge that this is about so much more than one deranged 20 year old.

This is about a nation which has lost track of everything that matters.  This is about a culture which raises up violence and war as ultimate goods.  This is about an economy based on easy income (and nothing brings in more easy income that weapons).  This is about a political system which has caved in to money.  This is about a national mythology which perpetuates the lie of redemptive violence. This is about an entertainment industry which actively works to undermine our ability to think. This is about a fundamentalist approach to the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This is about the egos of gun owners.  This is about the expendability of fathers and mothers and children and brothers and sisters and everyone else.

And it’s got to stop.

Damn it, it’s got to stop! Now.

We are not helpless. We are not small. We are not isolated. We are not too far away.

But we’ve got to move.

We’ve got to come together.

We’ve got to claim the nation back.

Because if we don’t, it will continue to happen.

Again.

And again.

And yet again.

Prayers for the Third Sunday of Advent

Filled with expectation and longing, we pray for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and all people according to their needs, saying, Lord, in your mercy, and responding, Hear our prayer.

[Brief pause]

God of hope, in the midst of a world which seems bent on self-destruction, come to us and remind us who you are, and who we are.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope, as we once again have to face the ugly reality of gun-wielding young men, grieving parents and dead children, come to us and remind us who you are, and who we are.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope, in the midst of a society frantically running from one distraction to another, come to us and remind us who you are, and who we are.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope, when we are overcome with anxiety, and find it impossible to trust your promises, come to us and remind us who you are, and who we are.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope, when your church forgets that we are part of your mission to love the world, just as we have been loved by you, come to us and remind us who you are, and who we are.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope, when we are confronted with illness, job loss, broken relationships, hunger, war and death, come to us and remind us who you are, and who we are.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope, when you present opportunities for ministry which are new and unfamiliar, come to us and remind us who you are, and who we are.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Hear the prayers of your people, O God, and in your mercy grant us what we need through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Prayers for the Second Sunday of Advent

Filled with expectation and longing, we pray for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and all people according to their needs, saying, Lord, in your mercy, and responding, Hear our prayer.

[Brief pause]

God who comes, your coming challenges the status quo, challenges our power structures, challenges our desire for control. Set us free from all that keep us from responding to our neighbour with love. Stir up our hearts. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who comes, your coming shatters our expectations, and gives us a glimpse of something new. Help us through the painful process of letting go of what was, so we can embrace what is springing up. Stir up our hearts. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who comes, your coming shows our stereotypes for the lies they are. Open us to the stranger, the foreigner, the refugee and the Other, so we may receive what they have to offer us. Stir up our hearts. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who comes, your coming still manages to surprise us. Enable us to accept joyfully whatever you have in store for us, so we may share your joy with your hurting world. Stir up our hearts. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who comes, your coming brings tender healing and active peace. Use us to give the shut-in, the shut-out and the sick a sense of your presence. We offer our prayers especially for those who rest uneasily in our hearts.
[Long pause]
Stir up our hearts. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who comes, your coming brings both chaos and stability, anxiety and peace. Increase our faith, unlock our compassion, release us to celebrate the approach of your new creation. Stir up our hearts. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Hear the prayers of your people, O God, and in your mercy grant us what we need through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.