A s a community of believers we gather this night having feasted and celebrated with family and friends about the birth of our God into this world. We gather to continue the work of learning how to care for one another, learning how to be family, learning how to be friends. So we bring or prayers and petitions, our pain and hurt, our intentions to the only one who can knows them.
On this night we are reminded of the families who morn the loss of those killed in the latest Philippine ferry disaster, it is the second one this week. We pray for the Iranian protesters, we pray for those whom they protest against. For those in India who have perished in the water due to a bridge collapse today. We sit in comfort, with freedom as a right, we are regulated so as accidents are not common place. Remind us often that this is not the case in most of the world. Inspire us and prompt us into action to make this a reality for more people than ourselves.
We pray this night for your church, for the many ways it expresses itself. We pray for Pope Benedict who is back visiting after the attack on Thursday. We remember the city of Jerusalem, the city of three faiths knowing that the tension and truce is always at risk of collapse. We pray for those who live in that place. We pray for the Anglican Church, we pray for its leaders, in Canada we pray for Fred, in Winnipeg we pray for Don. We move towards another year of their leadership, please offer direction and guidance in their roles.
This night we remember those who find themselves in this city out in the cold with no where to go. We are grateful for the shelters and places where someone can find a warm place to stay. We give thanks for the volunteers of Agape Table who will open their doors tomorrow morning to hungry Winnipegers. These are our neighbours, again show us ways to share, to help, to give, that is more than just sentimentality of the season.
All of us here knows of someone who is not well. They may be suffering with disease of the body, suffering with imbalance of the mind, or restlessness of the spirit. Some may be trapped in lives surrounded by grief, and emotional pain. We ask for strength, for healing, for grace. We take a moment to name those know to us aloud……
For those named aloud, those held in the deep places in our heart, and especially for those whom we have forgotten tonight.
Written by Helen Manfield, to be offered in worship on the 1st Sunday in Christmas, December 27, 2009.