Thursday, December 13, 2012

Prayer of Thanksgiving.. A word picture of the Season and the Reason to Rejoice and Again I Say Rejoice.

This Sunday is the Third Sunday in Advent. In the candle lighting liturgy I am using (I Know it sounds very high church) the bible verses that focus us on the Joy that comes from Christ's coming are Isaiah 12:5 and Philippians 4:4-7. I wanted to pick up some of the themes of both Isaiah 12 and the refrain from Philippians 4:4-7 in our prayers of thanksgiving this week.

Also I am finishing off a series on the Olivet discourse and preaching on the parable of the Sheep and the Goats. So I have wanted to include some of that into this prayer of thanksgiving.

As I sat down to write this prayer I looked out my office window and saw a group of people walking down the road in Santa hats all trimmed with tinsel... obviously there is a Office Christmas event happening down the road. It for me epitomised  the way people rejoice this festive season. I also noticed (sadly for the first time) a Pohutukawa tree in the corner of the church car park all decked out in its crimson bloom. The Pohutukawa Tree is our native Christmas tree, it blossoms in our southern summer Christmas. It usually grows on the coast and in New Zealand Christmas usually revolves round summer holidays... in fact if I may make a really bad joke the closest most Kiwi's get to acknowledging the incarnation is when almost the whole nation jumps in our cars and heads off to the beach. That is if the weather doesn't pack it in. Those things remind me of the rejoicing in God's creation... Yes I am aware of a cyclone hitting Samoa at the moment and we will pray for those effected in our prayers of intercession. Nature by itself cannot tell us God is good.

Then of course we move into rejoicing because of Christ. His birth long promised, his kingdom proclaimed and what they means, his death and Resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit... and the joy that comes from seeing Jesus revolution of grace shared to the least in simple acts of kindness and mercy.

This prayer is my attempt at painting a word picture of all those things... not wanting to simply engage peoples logical mind but inviting them to envisage what those things mean in their own lives.. almost a guided meditation and in that to rejoice before God.

Santa hats and tinsel trims

Office shouts

Mince pies and Christmas cake

Cards from far away friends

School year ends

Finding gifts that say we care

The festive season has begun


Rejoice, rejoice again I say rejoice


Pohutukawa blooms

Clear blue skies (hope they stay)

Twinkling seas

Ocean breeze

Cool leafy shade

Cicada chirp

 Beaches beckon


Rejoice, rejoice again I say rejoice


Not the wrath of an angry God

Rather we behold  his mercy and grace

A promise fulfilled

A child is given

A light in the dark

Glory to God in Highest heaven

Peace on earth on all whom his favour rests.


Rejoice, rejoice again I say rejoice


A new kingdom come

Good news for the poor

Liberty for the captive

Sight for the blind

The oppressed go free

A time of jubilee

God sets all things right


Rejoice, rejoice again I say rejoice


Died and rose again

Sins forgiven

The slate whipped clean

Restored and made whole

New life in abundance

Spirit given

God dwells within


Rejoice, rejoice and again I say Rejoice


In response mercy shown

A glass of water given

The hungry feed

The stranger welcomed in

The naked clothed

The sick tended

The prisoner included


Rejoice, rejoice again I say rejoice

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