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, November 30, 2015

Prayers of the People: Time Out, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Yr C

For Sunday, December 6, 2015, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C, Readings: Malachi 3:1-4, Canticle 16 (Lk 1:68-79), Philippians 1:3-11, Luke 3:1-6 


          See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple...he is like a refiner's fire...   [Malachi 3:1a, 2b]

          In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death... [Canticle 16/Luke 1:78-79a]

          [A]s it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight...'" [Luke 3:4]

         I know that Advent is supposed to be a time of waiting; a time of preparation for the Christ Child's birth. Yet who has enough time? The clock is ticking, the dates on the calendar fly away, there's so much to do, to get, to buy, to wrap, to cook, to clean, to list, to finish........so where exactly am I supposed to fit in some time to just wait?

          The One Thousand Four Hundred and Forty (1,440) minutes in a day flash away in a blur in the midst of all necessary (and addictive) activities. Yet if I sit still, with no electronic or other entertainment (e.g., real paper book), a minute can feel like an hour.
          A thought arises ~ how many of us have used "time out" periods for misbehaving children to give them a moment to reflect on a troublesome deed and re-enter real time with a new attitude? Hmm, there's a concept brewing here! Let's think of Advent as a time out from the ordinary hurry and worry. How many times a day do you wait for something to happen? A line at the copier, the elevator, the grocery store, in traffic, the doctor's office, etc.? Instead of caving to frustration and irritation, I can use it to take long, slow, deep breaths and reflect on my deeds of the day, the week, or whatever time frame I choose; the moments that were good, bad, or really not pretty. How often have I looked for God in those moments? How might a little time out with God result in my own attitude adjustment? One minute now, 5 later, in the shower, just after turning out the light...just before opening my eyes in the morning, on the way to work...I can make those times God-moments and the more of those I have, the less stress I have with the waiting. The waiting times are for refining my soul, for preparing the way. Jesus IS coming - don't look busy, look hopeful, look thankful, look as if you're waiting for him.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer* said, "We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.” Get ready! Time out starts NOW.


*Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian, Lutheran pastor, dissident anti-Nazi.  His book The Cost of Discipleship is considered a modern classic.  Polish by birth, he studied at the University of Tubingen and received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees and his Doctor of Theology at the University of Berlin. He completed a second doctorate - all before the age of 25. He did post graduate study at Union Theological Seminary in New York and was introduced to and was profoundly inspired by the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.  His teachings and writings continue to inspire generations after his death.  With great angst but complete abhorrence of the Nazi dictatorship and violence, he was involved with the German Military Intelligence Office's plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and executed on April 9, 1945, 23 days before the German surrender. He never justified or excused his action but accepted that he was taking guilt upon himself as he wrote "when a man takes guilt upon himself in responsibility, he imputes his guilt to himself and no one else. He answers for it...Before other men he is justified by dire necessity; before himself he is acquitted by his conscience, but before God he hopes only for grace." Much more can be said about this inspiring and admirable man and all by just using his own words.





LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ God of Abraham, Isaiah, and the Baptizer, slow our anticipation of the joy to come and awaken us to this moment-in-time that we may reflect, repent, and refine our souls to prepare the way for our salvation.

  Lord of Compassion
RESPONSE: Hear our faithful prayer       

~ God of Abraham, Isaiah, and the Baptizer, for all who cry out from the wilderness of hunger, homelessness, and war, strengthen us to entreat all political leaders everywhere to deliver them from the shadow of death into the brightness of safe new life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Lord of Compassion
Hear our faithful prayer

~ God of Abraham, Isaiah, and the Baptizer, shine Your healing light and love on those who dwell in the darkness of chronic illness, emotional trial, or spiritual isolation, and sustain the energy of all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

Lord of Compassion
Hear our faithful prayer

~ God of Abraham, Isaiah, and the Baptizer, smooth the way of those traveling the rough way of grief as You embrace our loved ones now living in the fullness of Your grace and glory. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Lord of Compassion
Hear our faithful prayer

~ God of Abraham, Isaiah, and the Baptizer, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

Lord of Compassion
Hear our faithful prayer

~ God of Abraham, Isaiah, and the Baptizer, hold in Your heart all who come to us as Your messengers of the Covenant, who guide us in our worship, and share our journey to eternal life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Lord of Compassion
Hear our faithful prayer
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  Almighty and Merciful God, grant us the wisdom in these busy days to first put our life in You above all worldly pursuits, that if suddenly called, we will not be found unprepared to account for our time of human living. We ask through Jesus the Christ, our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier, who together with You are One God, forever and ever. Amen.


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