You are invited to find a quiet location. Your position will be one of sitting at the feet of Jesus. Pray and meditate on the last part of the prayer above: Be our Christmas, and start the world again; Be our Easter, and draw us from death to new life; Be our Pentecost, and breathe on us to begin again . . . To close your prayer time, commit to beginning again in wonder, love, and joy.
Holy God, we have known forever that You call to obedience, that our obedience to Your purposes brings well-being, that our departure from You may bring trouble, that life proceeds on a tight calculus of expectation and requirement, that in Your awesome rule there is rigor along with generosity.
We have set out to be Your faithful people and then we fall into an unintended brokenness. We know about alienation from You and loss; we know about shame before our neighbors and embarrassment in the family; we know about the will to hide and become invisible, and we are consumed by depths of remorse.
When we are able, we come out of hiding long enough to face You. We know all the cadences of confession and repentance, and that we have no secrets not already known to You. We sense before You our deep dread of failure and our last shred of innocence gone.
We ask forgiveness and wait, at times before Your presence we wait a very long time as we know of Your silence and absence in our bottomness.
But we know more! We know of Your unfailing love, Your willing generosity, Your readiness to remember our sin no more. And so, after shame before neighbor, after embarrassment within family, after dread before You, we wait and then eventually You appear, You reach, You speak, You touch. You give yourself to us without judgment – after we have judged ourselves.
You invite us to Your presence, to the table of Your feast, to Your walk of companionship, to Your mission of well-being. We take timid steps toward home and are welcomed.
Now, in this hour of free-fall, be Your good self again, meet us not according to our flaw but according to Your generous self-giving:
Be our Christmas, and start the world again;
Be our Easter, and draw us from death to new life;
Be our Pentecost, and breathe on us to begin again;
Be Your full, generous self toward us; we will begin again in obedience, and as we can
obey, we will begin again in wonder, love, and joy.
- Prayers for a Privileged People, by Walter Breuggemann
Photo: Ice and St. Benedict in Schuyler, Nebraska by Don Hasty