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 23, 2019

Prayers of the People: Always the Right WORD ~ 1st Sunday after Christmas Day Yr A '19

For Sunday, December 29, 2019, Readings: Isaiah 61:10-62:3, Psalm 147, Galatians 3:23-25, 4:4-7; John 1:1-18

  For the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up...the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all nations. 
[Isaiah 61:11a; 62:1a]

    He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds...The LORD lifts up the lowly, but casts the wicked to the ground. [Psalm 147:3, 6]

     But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law...So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. [Galatians 4:4, 7]

   In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God...What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it...The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. [John 1:1-2, 3b-5, 17]

He became what we are
that he might make us
what he is.

       In the familiar language of the opening to John’s Gospel, the Word he speaks of comes from the Greek, logos, and we understand that the Word is Jesus. As God’s self-expression, Jesus was with God from the beginning, and was sent to be among us with flesh, blood, breath, and beating heart. His mission was and is to make God known to us and to reconcile us to God so that we would know that no amount of our human sin could keep God from loving us. All we need to access that incomprehensible, all-encompassing love, is faith, even if imperfect and wavering. The disciplinarian God gave Moses the Law and now Abba sends us a Redeemer, full of grace and truth. Through and with Christ, we become heirs of God’s Kingdom, filled with the Light that even the deepest darkness cannot overcome.
      In the first few centuries following Christ’s Resurrection, the Patristics ~ early writers of the Church ~ with Bishops Irenaeus in the 2nd century and Athanasius in the 4th century among them, spoke of humans becoming divine through Christ saying, he became what we are that he might make us what he is. Paul tells us in Galatians that Jesus is faith revealed to us by God. Those who followed Jesus in his time and who influenced others who came after, have all tried to instruct us in ways to be more like him, our Christ, the Messiah.
    As the Church year unfolds, we will be led through the penitence of Lent and the woes of Holy Week, until the glorious Resurrection and beyond. In the meantime, let us savor this moment of Great Birth through all of the days to come. If we relinquish our resistance to seeking faith and open the eyes of our souls to see, we can experience the light in our hearts that is Jesus. When we consciously work to deepen our faith, more of God’s mysteries are revealed. It’s no easy task to set aside the temptations, desires, and expectations of our human sojourn. We trip, we slip, and sometimes we just dive right in. Yet the message is clear, we don’t have to wait for a penitential season to turn back to or begin to discover faith. That can happen any minute of any day. 
    This special celebration of Christ’s Birth, whether formally in a grand church service, at home alone, or with family and friends, is an opportunity to try faith again or for the first time. The mind will call up our most difficult times but, if we let it, we can also remember the moments of magic, whether as children or adults, when all our world was aglow with love and peace and happiness, even if they quickly disappear into the mist of time. Recapture those moments, difficult and lovely, and take them often in prayer to the God in Christ who comes at this time as a Child. Become a child of God again and feel loved in the darkest night. When we falter on our journey, as we will from time to time, we can know with certainty that with Jesus, then, now, and always, we are never at a loss for the right WORD to guide us on.


Leader:  ~ Abba! Father! You have sent us Your Word, made flesh and woman-borne, in the Person of Jesus, our Redeemer Christ. Hear us rejoice with our whole beings, as heirs of Your eternal Kingdom, proclaiming Christ’s grace and truth for all to know and share.

                                                       Holy Word of God
RESPONSE:                  Shine in us and through us

~ Abba! Father! In the Spirit of the Son sent into our hearts, keep our voices strong and unceasing. Grant us courage to speak the glory of Your Word to lawful governments and to vengeful despots until righteousness, peace, and mercy prevail across this Earth.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Holy Word of God
                                                       Shine in us and through us

~ Abba! Father! Heal the hearts and bind the wounds of those who are broken in body, mind, or spirit, and comfort all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…  add your own petitions

Holy Word of God
                                                       Shine in us and through us
~ Abba! Father! Pierce the darkness of our grief through the radiance and joy of all who now live again in the fullness of Your eternal life. We pray especially for…  add your own petitions

Holy Word of God
                                                          Shine in us and through us

~ Abba! Father! We pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently…  add your own petitions

Holy Word of God
                                                          Shine in us and through us
~ Abba! Father! Gladden the souls and hearts of those entrusted to bring us Your Word and Sacraments and guide us on our walk together, as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

Holy Word of God
                                                          Shine in us and through us
The Celebrant adds: O Lord our God, shine through the darkness of our own making and free us of the arrogance of spiritual independence. Till the fertile depths of our souls that we may sow and reap seeds of forgiveness and hope with righteousness and praise. Let us go forth to bear the fruit of the Gospel for ourselves and for all we meet. We ask through our Messiah, Jesus, the Light of All People; and the Holy Spirit, Your Sacred Breath; who, with You, reign as One God, now and forever. Amen. 

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