As I post this a remarkable and sad piece of American History is unfolding. Some may call this a “coup” and perhaps it is such an attempt. I am a veteran as many of our parishioners are. We, so many, have invested so much of our heart and hope in our local community. Yet, the nation seems intent on tearing itself apart. Yet, I maintain my hope and forward looking thoughts in spite of the apparent violence that assaults all of us. I provide you with these two prayers from our own Book of Common prayer:
Prayers for National Life
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In Times of Conflict
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I simply ask you to breath, to take stock of who you are, to be the people of God that Saint Anna’s people proclaim. We are members of the Jesus Movement and we will continue to love and to work for the Kingdom of God. Be a people of peace, take heart, there is light at this dark hour. We can take heart in the nobility of those who worked in Georgia and in so many other states – not to elect Democrats or Republicans but to stand with honesty and integrity. To work in the streets for the common good. Take heart and pray deeply. This present darkness will pass. I will leave you with this written by Emily Essex of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford England:
The light that shines in the darkness has come, the darkness is being banished, but the work is not yet over. Begun but not finished. In process, in motion. We celebrate Christmas every year, not just to remember something that happened but to re-establish it in our hearts and minds, this thing which is still happening.
Darkness has no power to extinguish even the faintest of lights, but we can fan a single flame into a roaring fire. We can spread this light by embracing it, by becoming lights ourselves: the lights of the world.
Christ is the light that shines in the darkness, the true light that has come to enlighten all people. We can approach it, embrace it, set ourselves alight with it, and shine hope into the lives of anyone who is seeking it. That is what Christmas calls us to: to embody the hope we have in Christ, that others might find it for themselves.
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