An Advent Prayer (Sunday Dec 16, 2012)

How Long, O Lord?  We come to you this morning with heavy hearts, filled with anger, confusion, fear, anguish, and disgust.  “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

In the midst of our turmoil we come before you in the name of Jesus, himself a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief, and confident in your promise that the Spirit helps us in our weakness, interceding for us with groanings too deep for words.
We pray for the victims in Newtown, CT; and for the shootings in Alabama, Oregon, California… How Long, O Lord? 

We pray for the family of Officer Martovia Lang.  For the deep divisions in our nation evident in our Congress’ deadlock.  For the siuation in Syria.  We pray for peace, comfort, and protection – for you alone O Lord make us dwell in safety.

And we confess our sins as a people and a nation.  We confess our love of violence, our greed, our knee jerk reactions to defend the party line and using others’ nightmares as a weapon in our arguments with each other.  We confess our sinful voyeurism of others pain, our hollow platitudes given to impenetrable suffering, our immediate cueing up of pundits when what is needed are tears and hugs and prayers and listening.  Forgive us of our foolish chatter that refuses to recognize a time to keep silence – to be still and know that you are God, to contemplate, to reflect.  Forgive our constant claim to rights without a recognition of our responsibility, for our childish desire for simple solutions to deep-rooted problems and for our deranged confidence that we can save our selves.

We confess we need a savior.

As we witness the darkness of our world and see the results of evil and sin so vividly before us we pray Thy kingdom come:
      Come Lord Jesus
      O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care: Come and show your people the way to salvation.
      O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel, controlling at your will the gate of heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.
      O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
      O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man: Come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.
      O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people:
Come and set us free, Lord our God.

Come, Lord Jesus, so that No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Even as we pray, teach us to wait, and to listen – for our hearts, minds and souls do feel a profound need for silence…
so that we might receive your Word.

In the name of the Light of the world, in whom there is no shadow of turning, the Light that the darkness cannot overcome.  Amen