Sunday, December 28, 2008
Offered by Thomas C. Rook, Parish Associate
Holy God, as shepherds and wise men in their day joined with angels in celebrating your coming, we too have made our way to Bethlehem and added our voices in praise. In these days of celebration, we have received unexpected gifts, as at that birth long ago—a king in a cattle shed, jeweled magi kneeling beside rough shepherds, a choir of angelic voices accompanied by lowing cattle.
And now comes the time for our return trip, time to find our way from Bethlehem to more usual landscapes of life. And yet as we leave that blessed stable, we pray, O Lord, that we are not the same people who started the journey, that your transforming presence remains yet within our souls, restoring eyes to see again and hearts again to feel. Lord of peace and love, having glimpsed your own defenseless form in a manger, let us journey ahead with our own defenses lowered, ready to see Christ in unexpected places.
As we turn from that holy stable, let us not turn from you, loving Lord. Deliver us from pointless pursuit of things, from entangling idolatries, from the spirit of unforgiveness. Guide our journey in steps of faithfulness and kindness and justice.
So we pray this day for those of us here and beyond these walls—
for those who have a song they have not yet sung,
for ones who have burdens they can no longer bear,
for those who live in chains of mental darkness that they cannot break,
for ones who’ve wandered far from home and cannot find the way back.
for ones who are sick and for those who care for them,
for those who wait for loved ones and for those who wait in vain,
for those who live in hunger and for those who will not share their bread,
for all who are misunderstood and for those who misunderstand,
for those whose words of love are locked within their hearts
and for ones who yearn to hear those words.
O God of our future, guide us from Bethlehem with renewed courage for the journey, with eyes lifted in hope and gratitude, looking to your faithful Son, who beckons us toward that city whose law is love and whose light is your glory. In that hope and promise, we pray as our Savior taught us, saying together, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church