Unimaginable Adoration of the heavens,
be gentle with me as you enter the world and step into my life.
Be mindful that my flesh bruises easily and my skin shows stretch marks where it has strained its limits. In your eternal brilliance, remember that my imagination barely leaps and hardly soars. Do not be discouraged with me, I pray, but condescend to whisper in words that I can understand and to set a path before me that I can discern to follow. Proceed carefully please as you break open my heart to brave fuller life, as you shatter the stained glass before my eyes to reveal deeper faith, as you call the whole of my existence to unrestrained use & unrestricted purpose. Amen.
We are called to proclaim the truth . . . And let us believe:
It is not true that this world and its people are
doomed to die and to be lost.
This is true: I have come that they may have life
in all its abundance.
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and
discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction.
This is true: the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life,
the poor are hearing the good news.
It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last
word, and that war and destruction have come to stay forever.
This is true: death shall be no more, neither shall there
be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore.
It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of
evil who seek to rule the world.
This is true: the Lord whom we seek will suddenly
come to the temple; and the Lord is like a refiner’s fine.
It is not true that our dreams of liberation, of human dignity,
are not meant for this earth and for this history.
This is true: it is already time for us to wake from sleep.
For the night is far gone, the day is at hand.
The words of Allan Boesak, adapted from an address for the World Council of Churches, in Bread of Tomorrow: Prayers for the Church Year (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books 1992); quoted in Imaging the Word: An Arts and Lectionary Resource, Volume 2 (Cleveland, OH: United Church Press 1995), p 95.
It came upon the midnight clear, That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men, From heaven’s all-gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay, To hear the angels sing.
I pray for courageous world leaders who pursue the common welfare before political gain, who consider cooperation before the triumph of strength: for real conversations about poverty and women’s health and violence and hatred and greed. I pray for the nations’ citizens to sing of peace on earth louder than they sing of patriotism: for listening and understanding to lead us in complex matters of trade and migration and security. I pray for foresight and insight to see the world’s possibilities and live into them: to hear of war and still live for community, to see despair and still speak of hope, to learn of the breadth of injustice and yet work for reconciliation.
O ye, beneath life’s crushing load, Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way With painful steps and slow —
Look now! for glad and golden hours Come swiftly on the wing:
O rest beside the weary road, And hear the angels sing.
(Text: Edmund H. Sears 1850; Tune: R. Storrs Willis 1850)