Sunday, December 16, 2007
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor
God, you are the Creator whose light shines through the deepest of nights and darkest of days. You are the Proclaimer whose burning word speaks in the most common of places and in the routine of time. You are the Savior whose brilliant herald appears to the most simple of mortals and scorned of souls.
The words “Do not fear” challenge us. So reassure us, O God that neither poverty nor ignorance, neither hunger nor thirst, neither nakedness nor sickness, neither class nor culture, neither race nor religion, nor anything in all creation, can ever separate us from your love. When we encounter those who are less convinced of your love for them, Gracious One, use us to embody your care. Where there is despair, let us kindle hope. Where there is oppression, let us bring justice. Where there is pessimism, let us awaken faith. Where there is violence, let us wage peace.
Hearing the words “Do not fear,” we are reminded of the many around this globe who live in the shadows of fear. We pray for those who are afraid that life might end or that life might never end, for those who fear that the evening shall last forever and morning will never dawn, for those who afraid that they cannot provide shelter or food for their family or themselves, for those who fear that peace shall never reign and war will be forevermore. Just as you have assured your people for generations, assure those known and unknown to us who stand in need of comfort and compassion, encouragement and hope. Let them hear the words “Do not be afraid” echo around them, and let them stand firm in your promises that the day is coming when every valley shall be filled, every mountain brought low, the crooked made straight, and the rough made smooth and that a heavenly host shall be heard proclaiming peace, a newborn shall be heard wailing in the silent night, and a savior indeed draws near.
May the one born in Bethlehem—who joined divinity and humanity, love of God and labor for people—unite heaven and earth, in our lives, in our neighbors’ lives, in our communities, in us as in him. We pray in the name of the light of the world, as he taught the disciples, saying, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church