Prayers of the people | December 20

W

e call the community into a time of prayer.

Emmanuel, we are in awe of your incarnation. We are amazed that the Ancient of Days, the One whose origin is from of old, would come to us as a baby. In a world where so much is determined by rank, class and social status, we cannot comprehend why someone with power would choose to become lowly. We furrow our brows and shake our heads and think it’s probably a hoax. When have we ever seen someone who is rich volunteer to be poor? Why would anyone choose to be born in a smelly stable? And yet, those of us gathered here today accept this mystery as truth: God became flesh and dwells with us. Tonight, all our hopes are in the womb of a peasant girl. The whole world waits for the birth of the one who will bring peace.
Our souls to you give glory, Lord,
Our hearts pour out their praise;
You’ve lifted up our lowliness
In many marvelous ways.

We pray for the needs of the world. We pray for countries experiencing political instability and violence. We pray for the people in low-wage factories who are producing the luxuries we give each other at Christmas. We pray for forgiveness, as we know that we participate in a system that exploits the world’s poor. Please help us to move beyond placating our guilt with easy charity to finding real ways to make changes in our habits and lifestyles. We pray for the earth. As the Copenhagen conference has ended with vague agreement regarding climate change, please help us to find ways to move toward sustainability and creation care. We pray for those in need of shelter, food and clothing in our city and in cities around the world. Shelter the needy, merciful God. Show us how we can be part of providing that shelter.
Our souls to you give glory, Lord,
Our hearts pour out their praise;
You’ve lifted up our lowliness
In many marvelous ways.

We pray for the church worldwide and for our church community particularly. Thank you for the shelter that we find here at saint benedict’s table. It is a privilege to gather together and celebrate in these holy mysteries every week. Thank you for Don, our bishop, for Jamie, our priest, and for all those who serve this community. We pray for Agape Table as they help to provide food and warm clothing for those who need it. Thank you that we can be part of this necessary work. We pray for Lola, Roger and Oren and for the HOME Uganda project. We pray for the Sisters of the Church in Burlington. We pray for each other, knowing that those in the pews next to us are our brothers and sisters. May we be mindful of each other, finding ways to bear each other’s burdens and share each other’s joy.
Our souls to you give glory, Lord,
Our hearts pour out their praise;
You’ve lifted up our lowliness
In many marvelous ways.

The holy-days are filled with pain for many people: the poor, the imprisoned, those far from loved ones, the lonely, the grieving. We remember those who have died, especially those whose anniversaries of death occur at this time. Guide us to comfort one another, and to pray for those we know are in need. We take this time to speak the names of those known to us…
For those spoken, unspoken and for those we may have forgotten, we ask that you would hear us, O Lord.
Our souls to you give glory, Lord,
Our hearts pour out their praise;
You’ve lifted up our lowliness
In many marvelous ways.

God With us, watch over those who travel. May celebrations be joyful. May we be able to set aside family dysfunctions and focus on being incarnations of love to each other. Living in the awe of Advent, may we, with Mary, magnify the Lord, remembering all the good things you have done for us.

Amen.

Written by Mari Raynard, to be offered in worship on the 4th Sunday in Advent, December 20, 2009.

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