Tuesday, December 3, 2013

ADVENT?

 

 

What is Advent?     With the serious nudge (or even shove would be a good word) of encouragement of a good friend, I am going to post some intercessory prayers that I have been writing to be used in the Sunday Service for my local Episcopal Church for the Season of Advent. But, perhaps YOU don’t know or have forgotten what Advent is really about.  SO, a brief description is in order.  Then the prayers for the first week of Advent will follow and I will post the prayers for the following three weeks in their time.

In the Christian calendar, Advent is a season of hopeful waiting.  We spend the four weeks before Christmas preparing for the birth of Jesus, our Savior.  It is also the beginning of the Church’s Liturgical Year. Liturgy is, simply, the public worship, the Mass, or the Service (most often on Sunday) of the Church as parish or congregation. The Liturgical Year, in some denominations, consists of various seasons of the Church such as Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time.  Different colors are used for the various seasons – the colors for Advent are usually Purple and Pink although some Churches will use Blue and Rose. The colors are used in hangings on the lectern, the pulpit, the vestments and the altar. 
 
      We mark the beginning of each week by the lighting of a candle in the Advent Wreath and some
people will also use an Advent Calendar to mark each day.  For children, there may be a gift of candy or tiny toy to increase the excitement for the coming Christmas in each of the doors or envelopes of the Advent Calendar.  Ideally, adult Christians will use the Advent Calendar and the Candles at the Service as a way to make a special effort to pray, meditate, and look at what the meaning of Christ’s coming is for everyday life. Just as a New Year's resolution starts well and means well, Advent is the opportunity to be intentional about preparing for and renewing our commitment to Jesus as our Savior.  The seasons of the Liturgical Year that follow are designed to help us remember and continuously renew and re-commit.

     In several denominations, notably Episcopal/Anglican, United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, United Church of Christ, some branches of Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic, we follow a Lectionary – that basically means we all use the same Scripture readings for the same Sunday/Week/Day. There are always exceptions here and there but mostly we can be fairly sure of what is being used widely which helps our own individual prayer planning. 

     Also in several denominational Liturgies, we use Intercessory Prayers.  In the case of the Episcopal Church, they are also known as The Prayers of the People.  They are led by a lay reader and the congregation has a response.  The Book of Common Prayer has six different forms of the Prayers of the People but there is also the allowance for the Prayers to be written by a congregation, an individual, or even be extemporaneous.  To that end, the Rector of my local parish asked me to pen the Prayers of the People for Advent weeks 1 and 2.  Then I was asked by another group to write the other two weeks as well.  For each set I will give the references for the Scripture from the current Revised Common Lectionary which inspired my thoughts.  The reader reads each one with the response being in the boldface.  You can use them in a Service, a small group, or on your own as a meditation. They are available to everyone who wants them and all I ask is attribution, a copy of how you use them, and they may not be sold or charged for in anyway.  I hope they will inspire you to commit yourself to preparing for the coming of God in Jesus, to the renewal of your life, and to the Hope that will fill us with Joy upon His arrival!

THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE – Advent, Week 1   
Readings:  Isaiah 2:1-5, Ps 122, Romans 3:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44

~ O God of Hope, as the approaching winter brings us into ever shorter and darkening days, help us to prepare ourselves for the radiant light that will announce the birth of our Savior.

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

~ O God of Hope, the nations, states, and cities of Your Earth continue to battle one another and their own peoples, even in our home streets and neighborhoods. Give us Your strength to work together to melt guns into cooking pots and drones into tractors; let us want and learn to turn warring into peacemaking.  

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

~ O God of Hope, we pray especially for the peace of Jerusalem, the ancestral and spiritual home of all of us who are the children of Abraham so that peace in that City will spread among her children everywhere.

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.
 
~ O God of Hope, as the weather turns bitter, cajole us to seek and serve Christ in all and especially to provide necessities for those among us without shelter, food, or loved ones in this season of Waiting, Joy, and Excess.

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

~ O God of Hope, we send you our prayers for those who are ill and for those who help them so that fear and pain may be relieved and replaced with healing in spirit, mind, and body. (add your own petitions silently or aloud)

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

~ O God of Hope, teach us to give the gift of listening and comfort without platitudes to those who are in mourning; and to remember in prayer those who have gone ahead to prepare the way for us. (add your own petitions silently or aloud)
 
May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

 
~ O God of Hope, give us the fortitude to turn away from all that glitters falsely and turn toward the coming light of the Son of Man.  Let us charge our spirits with Your love and shop for the light of Christ ‘til we drop into the arms of Jesus and everlasting life.

Prepare us, Lord, for the coming of Your Reign

~ O God of Hope, wake us from the sleep of complacence and keep us alert and active in Your service, awaiting the unknown hour of the coming of Christ Jesus.

Prepare us, Lord, for the coming of Your Reign


The Celebrant adds:  O God of the Present and of the Future, keep us ever watchful for the signs of Your works and wonders as we prepare ourselves and each other for the renewal of the face of Your Earth as the New Jerusalem, through the coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

 

These Prayers and those for the next three weeks are available for use as long as they are not sold or charged for in anyway.  All other content and photos on this blog are proprietaryPlease contact me at leeosophy@gmail.com for further information.
 
I beg a pardon from my friends in the Southern Hemisphere as I am well aware that your
approaching summer is giving you more light, rather than less as my first prayer indicates!
 
 

1 comment:

Mark Harris said...

well, returned with triumph, of course. Great beginning. Look to see the rest soon!