Saturday, October 27, 2012

Christmas Prayers of Intercession

I've been planning this year's annual Christmas cantata since last December.  Literally.  It's one of my favorite things to plan, our annual big-choir event, a chance to dwell on the music and message of the Christmas season.  I love putting things together, but as a student of Perkins School of Theology, I'll never be able to put together a simple concert.  We always strive together to put on an evening of worship, with a point threaded through from beginning to end.  Sermons in sounds to celebrate the birth of Christ.

This year I felt convicted to bring a message of peace, to sing for it, to pray for it - to remember Christ's purpose in coming down among us to begin with: bringing down the Kingdom time with all of the peace, love, hope, and joy.

In planning for this year's program, I came across the following prayer.  If you haven't heard of the Iona Community, I highly suggest you Google them to see what's what.  Our prayer for this weekend comes from one of my favorite resources of the community, Cloth for the Cradle.  When we offer it in worship during the cantata, we will be singing (praying) the Taize chorus Jesus, Remember Me between the stanzas of the prayer.

It's not to soon, even in October, to pray for Christ to come down and intercede on our behalf just as he did at Christmas.  Let us call Christ down to us again, and show us the meaning of the incarnation, to bring the world the healing and wholeness that we have always longed for:

When the World Was Dark
When the world was dark
and the city was quiet,
you came.

You crept in beside us.

And no one knew.
Only the few
who dared to believe
that God might do something different.

Will you do the same this Christmas, Lord?

Will you come into the darkness of today's world;
not the friendly darkness
as when sleep rescues us from tiredness,
but the fearful darkness,
in which people have stopped believing
                       that war will end
                   or that food will come
                   or that a government will change
                   or that the church cares?

Will you come into that darkness
and do something different
to save your people from death and despair?

Will you come into the quietness of this city,
not the friendly quietness
as when loves hold hands,
but the fearful silence when
                    the phone has not rung
                    the letter has not come,
                    the friendly voice no longer speaks,
                    the doctor's face says it all?

Will you come into that darkness,
and do something different,
not to distract, but to embrace your people?

And will you come into the dark corners
and the quiet places of our lives?

We ask this not because we are guilt-ridden
or want to be,
but because the fullness our lives long for
depends on us being as open and vulnerable to you
as you were to us,
when you came,
wearing no more than diapers,
and trusting human hands
to hold their maker.

Will you come into our lives,
if we open them to you
and do something different?

When the world was dark
and the city was quiet
you came.

You crept in beside us.

Do the same this Christmas, Lord.
Do the same this Christmas.
My prayer is that we give ourselves the freedom to be bold in our prayers, not just in the time of Advent and Christmas, but at all times.  Peace be with you as you worship this weekend!