Morning Prayer Wednesday, 16 December 2020
Good morning, good people.
Third week of Advent, so we are speeding our way to Christmas.
I don’t know about you, but the time is rolling by so quickly
and there seem to be so much to do before we get to Christmas.
It will be good for us all to have a short period quietly thinking
about some scripture readings and spending time in prayer.
Show us your mercy O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
I will listen to what the Lord will say,
for he shall speak peace to his peoples and to the faithful,
that they turn not again to folly.
Truly his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth are met together,
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth shall spring up from the earth
and righteousness look down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give all that is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness shall go before him
and direct his steps in the way.
Psalm 85: 7–13
Show us your mercy, most holy God,
when we come to you fearing that truth condemns us,
show us that truth is one with love in your Word made flesh,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’
When the men had come to him they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”’
Jesus had just cured many people of diseases, plagues and evil spirits and had given sight to many who were blind. And he answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’
Luke 7: 18b–23
‘I will listen to what the Lord will say,’ says the Psalmist, and John did the same.
Interesting to note that even John needed reassurance about Jesus,
so we need not beat ourselves up for our own uncertainties.
Perhaps the message of the readings is just that: ‘slow down, be quiet and listen’.
O hush your noise ye men of strife and hear the angels sing.
Let us pray for the Church, expectantly waiting for the coming of our Lord,
in a year that is so different from any that most of us have experienced before.
We have more limitations on our activity,
but with the internet we can join in worship and fellowship together.
There are even plans for ‘Gentle Spaces’ to be offered via Zoom
to those who are suffering with loneliness in their grief following the loss of close family members.
This will be especially valuable for people who have been prevented from visiting
and close contact with their loved ones in the last hours.
It is good too that our mission to the wider community
is not totally extinguished by the pandemic.
We pray for our own fellowship and for all churches
seeking ways to worship and serve their communities at this time.
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light, look favourably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery, and by the tranquil operation of your perpetual providence carry out the work of our salvation: and let the whole world see and feel that things which were cast down are being raised up and things which had grown old are being made new and that all things are returning to perfection through him from whom they took their origin, even Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us pray for the world.
Right now we are in the period of the darkest days in the northern hemisphere.
This is the time our Jewish friends celebrate Hanukah
by lighting a menorah and placing it in their window. A sign of hope.
Soon the days will be getting longer.
It does not mean that the cold winter is over, it will be cold for two more months or more,
but we can take heart that the light is returning
even if the heat takes a little longer.
It seems as though we are in a similar situation with the Covid pandemic,
we can see a turn in conditions, with the introduction of vaccinations,
but we have to be ready for a longer wait before we can reduce our efforts
to protect ourselves and others.
I have to admit that I find it difficult to make this longer day analogy fit
to the economic and political situations as we experience them right now!
Both with the pandemic and the politics, I guess, we should think,
‘It is always the darkest hour of night before the dawn’.
Even more reason for us to pray for our nation and all the peoples of the world,
most of whom would love to swap places with us.
Almighty God and Father; you have so ordered our life
that we are dependent upon one another,
prosper those engaged in government, commerce and industry,
and direct their minds and hands that they might rightly use your gifts
in the service of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We need to remember to give thanks for our health
and pray for all those suffering from this virus and other illnesses,
those grieving the loss of loved ones,
all who have lost jobs or are fearful of their future.
We need to ask God to give renewed strength to all medical and support staff,
to all those who are offering support and encouragement,
from both the official bodies and the voluntary sector,
to those suffering directly and indirectly from this major outbreak of disease.
Christ the Healer, we give you thanks for places of healing all over the world.
Places where we can be still, and discover afresh the wonder and immensity of your love.
Lord Christ, give me some of your Spirit to comfort places in my heart where I hurt …
then give me some more of your Spirit so that I can comfort others.
Have a day when you find opportunities to listen to God during all your activity and concerns.