A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.


Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Prayers of the People: What are You Giving? 2nd Sunday of Advent

for  December 7, 2014, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 40:1-11, Ps 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a, Mark 1-8 

          And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. [Mark 1:5]
         Can you imagine it? The whole town and the countryside waiting in line...but not at the mall, those people were waiting for John to baptize them! Their lives were filled with wars, pestilence, racial hatred, and oppression and here comes this person from the desert telling them to straighten up and straighten out - the way of the Lord must be prepared! To be fair, they all thought that the Messiah's arrival was imminent and for them, it was. We've gotten a bit complacent, 2000+ years later, forgetting the admonishment about not knowing the time that Christ will come again. We have set aside imminence for: whatever.
           Yet here today, in our world filled with wars, disease, racial hatred, and oppression, from the first chapter of the first Gospel ever written, John is still the voice crying...in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  [Mark 1:4] Are we listening and heeding or is it just that same old familiar refrain we hear on the way to Christmas, in the soul-less wilderness of an increasingly secular society, more interested in buying and receiving presents, than in presenting ourselves to our God?
           To repent means literally to "turn from" or even to "turn toward." Through the waters of baptism we are forgiven, cleansed, and the fire of sin is doused. Let us reclaim the forgiveness and cleansing of our baptism and if it truly is more blessed to give than to receive, now is the time to give - the gift of ourselves preparing for the Coming of Christ who will baptize us with the Holy Spirit. 
 
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Gracious LORD of Comfort and Hope, Your messenger, John the Baptizer, calls us to prepare the way for the One who is coming; the One who will baptize us with the Holy Spirit. As we wait for the new heavens and a new earth, we come before you seeking the patience of heart and faithfulness of soul to live in holiness and godliness, ready for our Savior, Jesus. 

                                      O Righteous God of Steadfast Love
    RESPONSE:       Help us heed the Baptizer’s call and turn our lives back to You  

~ Gracious LORD of Comfort and Hope, the world is in turmoil with war and disease; with racial, religious, and political hatred; with devastating natural disasters, fear, and poverty.  Let us use this sacred waiting time to speak up and take positive steps to hold ourselves and our political leaders accountable for actions that favor only a few to the detriment of the very many. We must all repent as we us pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                    O Righteous God of Steadfast Love
                                    Help us heed the Baptizer’s call and turn our lives back to You

~ Gracious LORD of Comfort and Hope, in this season of prayerful expectation, we ask Your special care for those who are suffering in body, mind, or spirit through illness, addiction, or despair. Uphold, also, the hearts of the ones who see to their daily needs.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                    O Righteous God of Steadfast Love
                                    Help us heed the Baptizer’s call and turn our lives back to You

~ Gracious LORD of Comfort and Hope, as we embrace those grieving the loss of loved ones, we celebrate those who have departed their earthly woes and entered the peace that passes all understanding through Your eternal salvation.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                    O Righteous God of Steadfast Love
                                    Help us heed the Baptizer’s call and turn our lives back to You

~ Gracious LORD of Comfort and Hope, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, silently or aloud…

                                    O Righteous God of Steadfast Love
                                    Help us heed the Baptizer’s call and turn our lives back to You

~ Gracious LORD of Comfort and Hope, as we look ahead in excited anticipation of the joy that is coming, we, more than ever, need the assistance of the earthly guides, anointed by You, to help us make straight our own path to the way of Christ.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                    O Righteous God of Steadfast Love
                                    Help us heed the Baptizer’s call and turn our lives back to You

The Celebrant adds:  Jesus, Lord at thy birth, let us be impatient to make perfect our preparation, longing to know You as the Christ, with refreshed hearts, renewed joy, and profound faith in Your salvation. We ask this through You, the Holy Spirit, and our Creator God, who together are our One God, on earth as it is in heaven, for ever.  Amen.





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