A Prayer for the Second Sunday in Advent

I wrote this prayer for community worship in 2009. And then I folded it into a small, home-copied book of community prayers that I gave as gifts to the members of our congregation when I retired at the end of 2010. Periodically, I am going to publish those prayers in this space. If anyone wishes to use any of them in worship, just let me know. Please do not print and distribute without written permission from me. Thank you.

DSC03573 Advent 2014

We had just listened to the beautiful song about Joseph, “A Strange Way to Save the World,” written by Mark Harris.


“A strange way to save the world,” indeed.
If we’re really honest with you and with ourselves, Lord God, we don’t completely ‘get’ what you’ve done for us in the coming of Jesus.

We get pieces of the puzzle, and we celebrate joyously what our limited imaginations can grasp.

But we, too, can easily join the chorus of,

            “Why him?”  “Why here?”  “Why her?”

And I, for one! (and probably many others in this room might join me in this) I am very often one to second-guess what angels have to say!

I try, and fail, to wrap my mind around

            the mystery of the incarnation,

            the mystery of salvation,

            the mystery of faith itself,

and I second-guess everything … a lot!

It sometimes seems like a highly visible, high and mighty, fully-grown military leader extraordinaire might fill the bill as savior a whole lot better than a red-faced, squirming, squalling very needy, tiny baby,
who makes his grand entrance on the scene
     with no one but animals and shepherds 
     and dirt-poor parents for company.

And when my second-guessing takes me down that particular road, it’s time for me…
     to stop, to slow down, to step back,
     to breathe in and breathe out, and be still.

Still enough to hear your voice of love through all the garbage in my head.

Still enough to allow your Holy Spirit to re-capture my imagination.

Still enough to remember that You are God and I am not.

To remember :

            that you always do things in unexpected ways,
            that you continually confound those who are wise in                           their own eyes,
            that you choose to make yourself visible in
                                             the weak, the lost, the little, the least;
                       that you are not in the business of taking over the world by force;

            you are in the business
                  of wooing your human creatures
                  in ways that are subtle and strange, surprising and mysterious.

And for that, we most humbly say, “Thank you.”
And for that, we most humbly ask, “Woo us, O Lord.”

For we’re here in this place today, God, to say that
            we need a Savior, we need a healer,
            we need a companion on the way.

Many of us are dreading these days ahead –
            we’re missing people from our family circle, through illness or death or divorce;
            we’re struggling with illness and pain ourselves;
            we’re tired of the overhype and the overkill;
            we’re broke and we’re frightened about the future;
            we’re struggling to find our place in the world and we don’t quite know where to put our feet next;
            we’re facing into exams and papers due and not enough time or energy to do any of it;
            we’re facing the harsh reality of aging, failing bodies and we yearn for heaven.

We’re a mixed up, crazy bunch here, Lord.
And we truly don’t ‘get it’ a lot of the time.
BUT – we deeply desire to get YOU.

Through all the questions and all the wrestling, and all the sighing and all the wondering – we want you.

We want you to be – in us and through us – the God who surprises people with grace.

We want you to be – in us and through us – the God who welcomes the stranger with words of hope and peace.

We want you to be – in us and through us – the God who comes to us as one of us, tiny and squalling, poor and needy.

The one who cries tears of compassion over our lost-ness.

The one who heals our diseases and feeds our souls.

The one who lives a fully human life,

            and dies a fully human death,

            and who is resurrected by the power of Divine Spirit,

and who will come again to bring justice and mercy where justice and mercy are due.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!  Amen.

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  1. I felt I was back in Montecito Covenant , with eyes closed, drinking in the wisdom and truth you spoke.
    Always a thank you Diana.

  2. “we deeply desire to get YOU.” Oh Yes Diana. Thank you for writing so many thoughts that run through me head. I must speak them more in prayer…give them to the only One who can get it…even if we never do.