Let us lead lives marked by Grace, O Lord.
Let us lead lives contrary to contentiousness,
Sealed from superficiality,
Offended by ostentation.
Let us absent ourselves from judgment
And protect ourselves from abuse.
Let our lives be filled with joy,
Mother of all creatures,
Whose dwelling extends beyond this world,
Let no one trivialize your being.
Let your order prevail.
Let your intentions come to be
For creation and for yourself.
Give us, each day, no more than we need,
And forgive us when we take for ourselves
The well-being of others,
As we forgive others who seek to take ours.
Lead us away from our dreams of power,
That we may be whole,
Satisfied in you.
An Advent Devotion²
In our joyous anticipation of Jesus’ birth, we often overlook the meaning of Jesus’ life. The Christmas season far outshines Easter in our consumer economy. We love the precious infant but remain curious, even uncertain, about the teacher. The story of Pentecost (Acts 2:37-42) reminds us that Jesus’ birth heralds the fulfillment of God’s promises. Jesus comes to redeem the world through his life, death, and resurrection. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit so that we can continue his ministry. These promises of God, Peter reminds us, are for each of us—“for you, for your children,” and for “everyone whom the Lord our God calls.”
As we travel through Advent, may we live more fully into the promises God fulfills in Jesus, and, like the first disciples, may we share that joyous message with others through our words and actions.
A Prayer For You
In the end, at the last, know how I loved God. Know how I smile regardless of my solitude or loneliness, just knowing that my brothers and sisters might, do, and will love God as I do, even more, differently, always, longer and deeper than I. Know how excited I am for things I will never see, for events I will never attend, for people I will never meet, voices I will never hear, eyes and smiles I will never see, prayer I will never pray, praise I will never make, because they all are a part of God’s kingdom, of the Creator’s plan, of God’s children and church and body, all in praise to God. Know that even though my heart breaks to be away from the people I love and would give all to, I still am convinced and assured that God holds them, loves them, leads them, prays with them, speaks to them, protects and secures them in God’s arms. Know that I would give my life without hesitation to the service and purpose of God, that I would pay my greatest sacrifice for another, if only God would ask it of me. Know that in God’s Grace and Mercy and Ineffable love I am saved, redeemed, strengthened; yes, am happy and hopeful in the Christ, my savior.
(11/19/00 (rev. 6/13)
Prayer For Humiliation
Grant me, O God my Creator, the guts to be Christ on the margins, the crucified on the outside; that with any act of exclusion, marginalizing, oppression, I shall see more truly Your Son standing there, as Christ crucified is and was excluded by power, marginalized by leadership, oppressed by authority. Let me celebrate with bravery the Lord’s Supper as ‘a protest to the church’s exclusivity and entrenched prejudices.’ Let me embrace with courage the exclusion from privilege, normalcy, popularity, that in so being I take my place beside the marginalized Messiah. Let me stand with conviction against the entrenchment of prejudice, that in the oppression of difference, challenge, change, I join the oppressed only Son, in whom the oppressed are set free. Wherever these things happen, let me stand there with you, in the truth of your experience and the liberation of your Spirit. Amen.
¹from out walking: Reflections on Our Place in the Natural World, by John Leax (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2000).
²excerpted from “Acts 2:37-42,” by Mark Horner, in Advent: Prepare the Way (Austin, TX: Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 2014).