Thursday, April 12, 2012

Immanuel, God with Us: A Prayer of Thanksgiving and confession based on Immanuel, God with us

This year I've been looking at Easter from the perspective of Matthew's Gospel. In putting a message together for Good Friday and Easter Sunday I became aware of the way in which Matthew book end's his gospel (to quote Mark Woodly) with the immanence of God, God with us. In Matthew 1:23 the angel speaks to Joseph and says that the child born to his fiancee will be the very child mentioned in the book of Isaiah, Immanuel, God with us. Then at the end of his gospel when the risen Jesus meets his disciples on the hill in Galilee, he finishes his great commissioning with the promise... and low I am with you till the end of the age. The truth of this has stayed with me this week and so I've used the 'Immanuel, God with us' as the basis of a prayer of thanksgiving and confession for Sunday.

the line "On mountain top and lowly road' comes from Matthew's Gospel where Jesus meets his disciples on mountain tops... (the Sermon on the Mount, the Transfiguration, the Olivette discourse, Calvary, the mountain in Galilee) and Luke's wonderful story of Jesus meeting two disciples on the road to Emmaus. God is with us in the high lofty mountain moments and in the slow trudging steps along life's journey.

Yes, I've tried to present it as poetry.Yes, it does follow a formula three stanzas of praise (declaring the goodness of God) a prayer of confession, the words of assurance of forgiveness and asking for the Holy Spirit to continue to fill us and enable us in our christian life and witness.

Feel free to use it.

Immanuel God With us

We hear it every Christmas

In Jesus you became one of us

Dwelt amongst us

Shared our sorrow and pain

Entered into our joys and life

Proclaimed Good News to the poor

Healed the sick, set the captive free

Broke bread with outcasts and sinners

Immanuel, God with us

We remember every Easter

In Christ you bore our sin

You paid the price

You died in our place

We know what love is because of the cross

You died and were buried

On the Third day you rose again

You are alive and with us to the end of the age

Immanuel, God with us

It is our present reality and future hope

Risen Lord Jesus, you dwell with us

On mountain top and lowly road

You fill us with your Spirit

Lead us into all truth

Comfort and guide

Empower us in love to serve and proclaim

Show us your mercy, new every day

Immanuel, God with us

We respond to you today

We thank you for your presence

Give you praise for who you are and all you have done

We acknowledge our sin and ask forgiveness

We have done what we should not

We leave undone the good you call us to do

Thank you that you are faithful and just  

Thank you that you forgive and wipe the slate clean

Immanuel, God with us

We ask for your blessing today

Fill us afresh with your spirit

May we always be aware that you are near

Help us to love and to care as you do

To walk humbly and love justice

Aid us to proclaim your kingdom come

To boldly speak out and live it out

To the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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