A Prayer for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Olympic mountains

Olympic mountains at sunrise - promise and hope from God

My prayer for the fourth Sunday of Advent was inspired by my view of the Olympic mountains early this morning sun drenched, snow covered, rose tinted, silhouetted against a dark sky. I was overwhelmed by the promise and goodness of God I saw reflected in that view.  I had planned to post this later today but I was so impacted by the scene in front of me that I felt I had to post it immediately – so much for waiting quietly and expectantly for Christ’s coming. In fact as we are now more than half way through Advent, for some of us the fact that we need to wait another couple of weeks to celebrate the coming of Christ seems almost unendurable.

This year Advent is as long as it could possibly be – four full weeks because Christmas is on a Sunday. I already know that the fourth week will seem to drag on and on like those last days of pregnancy when a mother longs for the birth of her child. But this is still the season to wait and hope and anticipate what is coming.

The coming of our Lord is near,

Something new is around the corner,

Love, joy, peace and hope, 

We await the promise of your coming. 

The coming of our Lord is near,

Something new is appearing,

A child, a saviour, God’s much beloved son, 

We await the hope of your coming. 

The coming of our Lord is near,

Something new is being birthed,

A new heaven, a new world, a new community,

We await the long expected One.

The coming of our Lord is near,

We wait in joyful expectation for what is emerging,

Love comes down at Christmas, 

And we await your coming.

 

Longing for the Rain of God

Scottish Highlands - Wade mackey

Confess the light within as it breaks forth into ever increasing brilliance

It is raining outside.  The brown parched lawns that are such a halmark of the Seattle summer are giving way to verdant green.  The leaves are showing signs of red and gold, preparing for the winter days that lie ahead.

Like most Seattlites I usually complain about the rain.  But this morning as I sat watching it fall gently on my thirsty garden and drank in the fresh fragrance of the rain cleansed air my heart rejoiced.  Baptism I thought.  God has drenched the whole earth with love and faithful this morning.  God has touched me too with a cleansing rain that has seeped into the dry and parched areas of my soul much as I wrote about earlier this year in a post entitled Thank God for the Gift of Water

My present morning readings come from Richard Foster’s new book Sanctuary of the Soul which I am reading to participate in a roundtable at the Patheos Book Club.  This book contains some wonderful gems that are nourishing and refreshing me.  In a section on repentance and confession Richard reminds us that confession is not just about rooting our the sinful and still unrepentant parts of our lives.  Confession is also about revealing “the goodness and light and life that we never knew about ourselves.  I love this quote he uses from Gordon Cosby:

Confession has to do with the facing and naming before God the darkness within us; it is also concerned with facing and naming before God the light within as it breaks froth with ever-increasing brillance.

This morning as I sat and watched the dawn break on a rain drenched world these words revolved in my mind and I started thinking about the many times I have had to face the darkness within myself and confess it.  Then I thought about the places where light has broken in and I started to confess those too – not something that I do very often.

Wow, it really is like a morning after cleansing rain when the light shines more brightly, the air smells more fragrant and song of birds fill the air.

So my suggestion to all of you today is – take time to confess before God, not the places where darkness still needs to be uncovered but those wonderful places  where God’s light is breaking through.  I suspect that as it was for me, this will be like a cleansing rain, a moment of baptism and a very special encounter with God.