Lincoln Advent: 10 December

Advent Prayers, 10 December
Centrepoint Outreach, Boston

Say to those who are of a fearful heart:
‘Be strong, do not fear. Here is your God.
He will come and save you.’
(from Isaiah 35.4)

Where is the boundary line between hopeful visions, and fanciful dreams?

Our Advent stories are full of wonders. Jeremiah plants trees of righteousness in our imaginations, where all God’s people can shelter and Jerusalem can find peace.

Baruch dresses us with the garments of salvation, and lets us swirl in the glory of God. Isaiah offers abundant vines and sweet-tempered lions; healing, streams and straight roads. These are stories of a world yet unborn — stories that seemed no more likely to their first hearers than to us, with our rational, skeptical minds.

God will not be held by our predictions. We cannot say when God will come, or how God will come, or what our lives will look like when he does. The prophets knew this. And yet, they sought to fill our imaginations with wild dreams and bright visions of peace. ‘Will it be like this?’ the young man asked the ragged prophet. ‘Oh yes, it will be like this. You should imagine all this and more.’

That is the point of the prophet’s wild visions: they teach us to trust God to do more than we can ever imagine. With faith in a God who moves mountains, creates dragonflies, sends the stars dancing and dwells within us, we can perhaps have faith in our own beautiful visions: a sorrow healed, a relationship restored, a pain eased, a dream fulfilled.

Trevor Hart and Richard Baulkham say this:

Christian hope… neither attempts what can only come from God nor neglects what is humanly possible. Sustained by the hope of everything from God, it attempts what is possible within the limits of each present… It does what it can for its own sake, here and now, confident that every present will find itself, redeemed and fulfilled, in the new creation.

(T. Hart & R. Baulkham, Hope Against Hope, p. 43)

We dream our best dreams and act on our best possibilities, trusting God to create something new.

Today, we pray for Centrepoint Outreach in Boston. We pray that through their work, lives will change and dreams will be fulfilled as God’s presence is embodied and made known.the orginal post is here.

Lincoln Advent: 9 December

Advent Prayer, 9 December
Community Development, Louth

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet in the way of peace.
Luke 1.78-79

In darkest night, we grow afraid.
A sound, a rustle, a hint of breath
makes our heart race and our mind spin terrors.
It is better to be alone than afraid.
It is better to stay very still, and play dead,
than to flesh out our fears with a cry.

And yet, the dark is a lonely place.
Perhaps the breath brings blessing
and the foot falls in peace.
Perhaps the stranger
fears as we do,
and wants nothing but a friend.

Cut fine, between hope for acceptance
and our dark-born, deepened fear,
God comes to pierce us with blessing:
the radiant promise of life.

Today we pray for The Trinity Centre and the Team Parish of Louth. We give thanks for the diversity of their work, and for God’s abundant blessings. Pray that all who gather there will feel dawn break and be led in the way of peace.

the original post is here.