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 29, 2021

Prayers of the People: Un-Trap from the Wrappings ~ 2nd Sunday of Advent, ‘21 Year C

For Sunday, December 5, 2021, Readings: Baruch 5:1-9, Canticle 16/Song of Zechariah/Luke 1:68-69, Philippians 1:3-11, Luke 3:1-6

     For they went out from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back…carried in glory, as on a royal throne. [Baruch 5:6]

    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]

  I thank my God every time I remember you…And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight…so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless… [Philippians 1:3, 9, 10b]

     [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]
             "Slow down you move too fast, got to make the [moment] last..." sang Simon and Garfunkel once upon a long time ago. But at this time of the year we seem to be in warp speed. We get mired and wrapped up in the clock ticking, the dates on the calendar flying, there's so much to do, to get from the attic, to buy, to decorate, to cook, to clean, to prepare, to finish in time...so how is THIS supposed to be the season of waiting? The clear question arises ~ for what is it, exactly, are we waiting? Of course we’re (supposed to be) preparing for the coming of Jesus, the birth of the Child raised up by God as our Mighty Savior, as we hear in the Song of ZechariahJohn, first cousin of Jesus and the son of Zechariah, as the voice crying in the wilderness, came as Isaiah foretold, to proclaim a baptism of repentance and remind us to prepare the way of the Lord.
      Advent is time again to set aside the habits that have crept in over the last year(s), to think new thoughts about the whys of what must be done; a time to be conscious about the true gift of this life that is to prepare us for the next life; time to take a break from the ordinary hurry and worry and make ourselves ready for the Christ who saves our souls. Yet by habit and culture, we make this time excessively stressful by self-imposed earthly expectations that we accept on behalf of this holiday season rather than making a time for a focus on this holy season
      Waiting in these few weeks exacerbates the multiple frustrations of life. There are lines everywhere ~ at the Post Office, the grocery store inside or pick-up, in traffic, the doctor's office, and even the resurging malls! But instead of caving to irritation and anger, we can use it to take long, slow, deep breaths and reflect on our actions of the day, the week, or whatever time frame we choose; the moments that were good, bad, or just indifferent. How often do I remember to look for God in any of those moments and offer a brief prayer, a petition, a thanksgiving? 
       How might a little waiting time with God adjust my perspective during my short time in this world? 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 or errands...I can make those times breathing times and God-awareness-moments and the more of those I have, the less stress I will have, or at least the stronger I’ll feel in the midst of it all.
      Another suggestion I’ve seen is to start Dec 1 and read one chapter of Luke per day so that by Christmas Eve we will have read the entire life of Jesus. Perhaps we’ll arrive at a deeper understanding of the meaning of Christmas itself. Even the decorations take on a new vibrancy, as if we prepare our homes for the arrival of an amazingly special guest, the One on whom our entire life depends. So, even though this is the second Sunday of Advent, there's time to catch up and prepare our own way for the Lord.
      The theme for this week is Love. As we light the second candle on the Advent Wreath, take a long, slow deep breath and remember what this preparation time is truly about. Light your own candle and read two chapters in Luke this week (there is time enough) to catch up! Slow down. Don’t move too fast. Let us listen and hear the voice of one crying out in the wilderness reminding us to prepare the way of the Lord within ourselves. Let us un-trap ourselves from the temporary, fragile, and externally imposed wrapping of this life to give Love first, last, and always. We can wrap up in the truer Love we receive when remember that the best gift ever is knowing The Lord is with us always.


Leader:  ~ God of Glory and Praise, calm our rush in preparations for the earthly celebration ahead, that we may take time now to prepare ourselves for Christ, Your True Gift for our life and soul. Overflow us with Your love as we make way for the coming of our Savior in each and every day.

                                                      O Lord, our God
RESPONSE:               Guide us to Your Peace 

~ God of Glory and Praise, for all who cry out from the wilderness of hunger, separation, and fear, urge us to exhort all who govern on this Earth, in this Nation, and in this Community, to deliver the distressed from the shadow of death into the brightness of safety and abundance. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                    Guide us to Your Peace

~ God of Glory and Praise, shine Your healing light and love on those who dwell in the darkness of chronic illness 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

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                    Guide us to Your Peace

~ God of Glory and Praise, hold fast to those traveling the rough way of grief as You embrace our loved ones, now forever clothed with the glory of the Everlasting. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                    Guide us to Your Peace

~ God of Glory and Praise, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                    Guide us to Your Peace  
~ God of Glory and Praise, grant continuing renewal and unlimited energy to all who guide us in our faith and worship, teach us Your words, and share our journey to eternal life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our God
                                                    Guide us to Your Peace

The Celebrant adds: O God of the Eternal Dawn and Endless Love, guide us to accept and proclaim a new baptism of repentance as we strive to put our life in Christ above all worldly pursuits, that if suddenly called, we will be ready to account for our time in this brief earthly journey. We ask through Jesus the Christ, our Glorious Savior; and the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier; who together with You are One God, forever and ever. Amen.

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