The prayer of longing in Advent

I saw this prayer by Walter Brueggemann on Margaret Feinberg’s site:

We give you thanks for the babe born in violence.

We give you thanks for the miracle of Bethlehem,
born into the Jerusalem heritage.

We do not understand why the innocents must be slaughtered;
we know that your kingdom comes in violence and travail.
Our time would be a good time for your kingdom to come,
because we have had enough of violence and travail.

So we wait with eager longing,
and with enormous fear,
because your promises
do not coincide with our favorite injustices.

We pray for the coming of your kingdom on earth
as it is around your heavenly throne.

We are people grown weary of waiting.

We dwell in the midst of cynical people,
and we have settled for what we can control.

We do know that you hold initiative for our lives,
that your love planned our salvation
before we saw the light of day.

And so we wait for your coming,
in your vulnerable baby
in whom all things are made new.

Amen.

-ā€œIn violence and travailā€ by Walter Brueggemann

– See more at: http://margaretfeinberg.com/prayer-tired-waiting/#sthash.uI9GU7z2.dpuf

In the midst of a time where emotions seem to run so high in our own culture, I too often forget of the tensions in other parts of the world.

I have a gift on my desk representing Christians living in Bethlehem. They are the forgotten persecuted. As are the Syrian Christians…

The culture I live in deals with violent words and posts of “intolerance,” but I do not live in a world where I am threatened in my existence. Lord, help me to see my brothers and sisters around the world and understandĀ their longingĀ for the coming again of our Savior.

Lord, you indeed are the only One who can make all things new.

Peace on earth.

 

Blessing Those With Whom We Disagree

I butchered that title somehow, so I can’t wait to have the English major jump in and correct me. šŸ˜‰

The series I have been preaching on Daniel has been incredibly challenging. The continuing thought through this whole study has been how to live inĀ blessingĀ toward those who are “enemies.”

Walter Brueggemann preached a message on Daniel a few years ago and mentioned the attitude of Daniel in aiding Nebuchadnezzar. In Daniel 4 the king had a dream that meant he would fall into insanity for a period of time. Rather than rejoice over the plight of his enemy, DanielĀ mournedĀ over the interpretation and begged Nebuchadnezzar to take a way out. Daniel had a deep care for the man who brought down his nation.

The way we hear people throw around sarcasm and rhetoric today, you would think we’re all out for the demise of anyone who disagrees with us. I can understand that in the world, especially in the world of politics. I don’t like it, but I understand it.

But when it comes to the church, we’re just as nasty at times. We disagree horribly with each other, then there are certainly streams of Christian ideologies that seem to wish for the death of the “wicked”, etc.

This journey through Daniel challenges me. Am I looking toĀ blessĀ those with whom I disagree? Do I honestly pray forĀ God’s best in their lives?

There can be disagreements all day long with whoever is president. But the level of nastiness seems a bit shameful. When George Bush was president I would listen to “liberal” Christians wish vile things on the man. I listen to “conservative” Christians do the same thing to Barack Obama. When we don’t like someone, we really don’t like someone!

We need a Daniel generation that will understand WHO they are in Christ, be unafraid to take those stands, but also liveĀ in blessingĀ to those around them… even those with whom they may disagree.