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Sunday, December 18, 2016

"Blessed Are You, O Sovereign Lord" - 18 December 2016


Blessed are you, O Sovereign Lord, God of our ancestors: to you be praise and glory forever. You called the patriarchs and matriarchs to live by the light of faith and to journey in the hope of your promised fulfillment. May we, similarly, be obedient to your call and be ready and watchful to receive your Son, and live forward in hope-filled trust and joy.

Thank you that in the fullness of time you sent your Son, born of a woman, born under the law, born into a low condition, who, from early on, underwent the miseries of this life. Therefore, we implore you to look in on those who find this time of year a grief and hardship due to painful memories, sorrowful losses, adversarial family relations, broken promises, and impending privations…may the Gospel-hope ricocheting around the walls and halls in the Christmas carols, lift their hearts and faces to look up to you and rejoice in Spirit-breathed confidence.

As your Son was born in a time of great conflict, of oppression, of “might-makes-right,” of faith and religion used as a moralizing machete, of frustrated national ambitions, of revolt and rebellion, and he came as the beginning of a new way of being human; we pray that you would hear the weeping of those who are in despair; see the blood-splattered walls and streets; take notice of the horrors in our world; and guide the directions, decisions and dealings of earth’s leaders, such as King Norodom Sihamoni; Paul Biya; David Johnston and Justin Trudeau; Jorge Carlos Fonseca; Faustin-Archange Touadéra; Idriss Déby and Michelle Bachelet; along with the Oklahoma County Judges – all 34 of them. In the words of Jeremiah, may they do “justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood” (Jeremiah 22.3). O God! Hear our pleadings!

We are grateful that the Word, who was with God and was God, became flesh and dwelt – tabernacled – among us, and that even from his infancy grace and truth came through him. We ask for your Church, including God’s Chosen People Baptist Church; Good News Church; Goodrich Memorial Methodist; Gospel Celebration Fellowship; Grace Baptist and Grace Bible Church. Preside over your Church with your protection and direction; prevail within your Church to remove all heresies and schisms, to build up holy unity, and to foster wholesome compassion; and project from your Church the hope of that first Christmas, all wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger; whose coming was announced in angelic splendor, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2.10-11).

And, Father, your Son was born at the end of travels and journeys. It reminds us to pray for those already travelling and those about to head out on their trips. Keep them safe and sound going and coming. And finally, please turn the family gatherings into times of pleasure and peace. May that ornery Uncle, crabby Auntie, bitter parent, or offended sibling be overcome with a peacemaking and positive disposition.

Please hear our prayers, which we present to you in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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