+ Behold, our savior will come; you need no longer fear
Reading #1 Psalm 79
Reading #2 Luke 20:9-18
The Advent season is about more than just preparation for Christmas. It is a time when we connect with the deep longings of our hearts for God’s presence and salvation to be visible in our world. This means that it is a season of hope in God’s accessibility and love. But it is also a season in which we are challenged to recognize that we don’t always experience God’s presence as we would like.
Our world is a challenging place, and the pain of this can be overwhelming. When we see violence, corruption, poverty and disease ravaging our world, it is natural for us to grieve and to long for a better world. This is why the lament prayers of the Bible are so comforting. They show us that the Bible does not ignore our suffering, that God feels our pain, and that it is right and good for us to cry out for God’s intervention.
Today’s prayer from Psalm 79 is a good example of biblical lament. As the writer observed the destruction of his homeland, and the violence done to his people, he cried out in grief and longing to God. This prayer contains all kinds of emotions that we may feel are inappropriate. There is grief and offence at what Israel’s enemies have done. There is anger, both at the invaders and at God for allowing this disaster to happen. There is even a request for God to enact vengeance on the enemies of God’s people. This vulnerable honesty gives this prayer its power and reveals the writer’s deep faith in God’s love. He knew that even his “unacceptable” emotions were not a problem. In the end, he finally declares thanksgiving and praise, which reveals his underlying faith in God’s grace. Where in your life do you need to get honest with God like this?
DO: Sometimes we try so hard to be good, that we bury our negative emotions deep within us. But our negative feelings always come out –and if we don’t work with them consciously, they come out in destructive ways. This is why lament is such a healing practice –it helps us express our negative feelings in a positive way. Today, express any feelings of grief, anger, fear, and despair through a prayer of lament to God.
PRAY: Hear my grief, God. I pour it out to you.
Faithful God Hear our Prayer.
For all who suffer, that they may find comfort through their faith, we pray.
For all those who minister to the sick, that they be signs of God’s love we pray.
For doctors, nurses and caregivers, that their actions be done with love we pray.
For Ourselves, that we always believe that God holds us gently we pray.
Our Father which 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.
Look with favor, O God.
On all our needs
And hear our pleas when we cry out to you.
Grant to us, the faith of the centurion,
That we might give you glory
For the mercy and compassion
That lifts us up with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever Amen!