|A Christmas Icon, made by young people from our church. <3|
Church was glorious this morning. Our choir sang the cantata, "And Glory Shone Around," and the music and voices lifted all our hearts and spirits.
My job was to proclaim scripture (Isaiah 61:1-11) and pray. Here is my prayer.
God of day and God of night, God of sun and God of storm, God of joy and God of sorrow, you have anointed your Son Jesus Christ with your Spirit: to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of your favor; to comfort all who mourn; to give those who mourn garlands of flowers instead of urns of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of the tears of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit faint with horror and sorrow.
And we are oppressed by the news of another slaughter of innocents—your children in Newtown, Connecticut, and in Oregon, and in China, Afghanistan, and Chicago.
And we are brokenhearted, at the thought of so many empty arms and beds and hearts, torn apart by unending violence.
And we are in need of comfort, comfort and joy, on this day when all joy—even joy that rings out in beautiful voices and music—is salted with the taste of tears.
And so we turn to you, God of Gentleness and God of Power, and we place it all in your hands. And we ask you:
You who know the agony of watching your Beloved child die, weep with us as we mourn these children and adults.
You who taught in Jesus that we must become like children to enter into your life, rage with us at the senseless loss.
You who promised garlands instead of ashes, show us the signs of your life and love, every green bud of hope that pushes through.
You who promised to bring good news to the oppressed, give strength and courage to those who are sick and dying.
You who promised to comfort those who mourn, surround all who lose loved ones with your powerful and loving presence.
You who promised to lift us up on the wings of eagles, strengthen our failing spirits,
Until every one of us can proclaim, with confidence, with hope, and yes, even with joy, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, God has anointed me to bring the Good News, in the name of Jesus Christ, the prince of peace, who taught us to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven: hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever, Amen.