Sometimes it feels like all
we hear are stories of pain
and trauma, of fighting and
discord, stories of disaster
and destruction, of people
hurting and abusing each other.
We could use some good news.
This morning, let us take a deep breath.
[pause here for the congregation to take a breath]
May we give God the chance to be
present with us. May we let God in
on our hurts, our pains, our mistakes,
and our wrongs.
And may we give God the opportunity
to rewrite these stories into ones
more beautiful, good, and true.
We light the 3rd candle of Advent for joy,
and pray in the name
of God, the Creator,
Christ, the Emmanuel,
and the Holy Spirit, Deliverer of Peace.
It is so easy this time of year
to just go through the motions.
We let the season of Advent become
all about obligation and consumption.
Show us a different way to
celebrate, rooted in your
vision of restoration, provision,
and healing justice.
Some of us struggle this time of year.
Expectations weigh heavy,
old wounds might open, and
grief can be overwhelming.
Comfort those of us who are hurting
this season. Teach how to make
space for suffering alongside our joy.
Give us a holiday season filled with community
and love, so that we can support one another,
wherever we are at and however we may feel.
In the name of
God, the Creator,
Christ, the Risen One,
and the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life.
Sermon and Reflection
What practices help me feel God’s spirit?
How does it feel to say, “Your will be done?”?
One day the wilderness will blossom
with flowers; the desert wasteland will
come alive with new growth and God’s
glory and splendor will be on full display.
With this news, strengthen
those who have tired hands,
and encourage those
who have weak knees.
Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to save you.”
So go with confidence into the days ahead.
May the love of God,
the grace of Jesus Christ,
and the presence of the Holy Spirit,
be among you and within you.
Go in peace and live the church.
See you throughout the week.
[Photo by Isa Gelb @ Flickr]