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 9, 2019

Prayers of the People: The Safe and Holy Way ~ 3rd Sunday of Advent, Yr A '19

For Sunday, December 15, 2019, Readings: Isaiah 35:1-10, Canticle 15, The Song of Mary, Magnificat/Luke 1:46-55; James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11

The wilderness and dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice...like the crocus it will blossom abundantly...He will come and save you...A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way...the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return...and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. [Isaiah 35: 1-2a, 4b, 8a, 9b, 10a-b]

      My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant...he has remembered his promise of mercy... [Luke 1:46-48, 54b]

      Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. Strengthen your hearts for the coming of the Lord is near. [James 5:7a, 8b]

      Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A prophet?...Yes, I tell you...This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you'...among those born of women no one has risen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." [Matthew 11:7a, 9, 11]

 Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily,
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

       We light the 3rd candle in the Advent Wreath as our anticipation and expectation of the birth of Jesus accelerates. However, there's a notable change. This week, instead of a penitential purple candle or a blue candle of hope, some Traditions use a rose colored (or pink) candle and perhaps even rose vestments and hangings. Why change color in the middle of the season? Advent has traditionally been a penitential season, as is Lent, with somber readings and admonishments to fast and pray to be ready and worthy for Christ's coming. Yet, historically, the Latin name for this Sunday is Gaudete (gow-day-tay), which translates as “REJOICE!”  It comes from an Introit (opening) of the Liturgy. We hear the Joy, the Rejoicing, the Hope and the excitement in the readings. We’ll be ransomed from sorrow and sadness, lifted up, healed, beloved, and blessed. When our God in Christ comes, we who are redeemed will walk on the Holy Way, safe from lions and ravenous beasts.
      Within the aspect of a strictly penitential season, all the candles, hangings, and vestments were Lenten purple, and but on this Sunday, the rose color was a symbol of a respite in the midst of serious repentance. (There is, apparently, no truth to the rumor that the rose candle indicates that Mary was secretly hoping for a girl.)
      With the Revised Common Lectionary and newer scholarship, there has been more of an emphasis placed on remembering the Joy that is to come – which isn’t to say we should not also be prayerful or penitent as we wait. 
       So let us, in the midst of the solemn and sedate, stop, breathe, and experience JOY for the coming Nativity. Let our souls proclaim the greatness of the Lord and our spirits rejoice. We still have to be patient, there’s still some time before THE DAY, but we can smile as we wait to walk on that Heavenly Highway with singing and everlasting joy upon our heads.


Leader:  ~ Holy and Almighty God, grant us strength of heart and prayerful patience as we discover that the voice in the wilderness is our own. Keep us without fear as we await the everlasting joy of Christ’s coming.

                                                       Lord of the Holy Way    
RESPONSE:                    Look with favor upon us

~ Holy and Almighty God, as You scatter the proud in their conceit, guide the hearts of all who govern on this Earth, in this Nation, and in our Community, that they may rule with equity, mercy, and justice. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Lord of the Holy Way
                                                       Look with favor upon us

~ Holy and Almighty God, lift up all who suffer with chronic illness, addiction, or severe life circumstance, and energize all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       Lord of the Holy Way
                                                       Look with favor upon us
~ Holy and Almighty God, may the sorrow and sighs flee away from those who mourn, as Heaven is ablaze in joy and gladness for the arrival of all we hold so dear. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                       Lord of the Holy Way
                                                       Look with favor upon us

~ Holy and Almighty God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions
                                                       Lord of the Holy Way
                                                       Look with favor upon us
~ Holy and Almighty God, refresh and invigorate those who endeavor in Your Church to prepare us for the coming of Christ through Your Word and Sacraments. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Lord of the Holy Way
                                                       Look with favor upon us
The Celebrant adds: God of Glory and Majesty, as we await the Messiah who ransoms us from sin and death, fill us with rejoicing that our souls may also magnify and proclaim the greatness of Your love. We ask through Jesus, our Redeemer Christ, and the Holy Spirit of Truth, who together with You are One God, forever and ever. Amen. 

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