Bible verses for the week: Matthew 4:1 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned. Luke 1:78-79 The day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 For you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.
Presbytery Prayer It is our calling, and our joy, Father of Light, to walk in your light. We live, not in a gridlocked universe, where light and darkness tussle and supplant each other endlessly, and nothing goes anywhere. Faith grasps the movement from all things from darkness into your light. Ground us now, in these deep patterns of faith. John announces the coming of Jesus, which his father proclaimed over him at his birth, “you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways….when the day shall dawn upon us from on high.” Jesus comes, and with him the Kingdom breaks in. Christ died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. The defeated night loses ground. Yet we still live in the darkness, as the people of the dawn. This is the raw material, the DNA, of our faith. We pray for those around us, in this time of pandemic, for whom the darkness is a close-woven fabric of anxiety and uncertainty. We know, and feel, and register these things too. We pray for those who chafe at restrictions, those who find confinement to their homes frustrating, socially-distanced queues strange and unsettling. Even after all this time. We have felt all these things. We share the joy, too, that the lifting of restrictions brings. We rejoice to travel short distances, to be with people we love, even if the rules we must obey remind us that the night, far spent, is not yet by. We remember those for whom the easing of restrictions highlights their grief, that it should have happened then, or now, when the rites of loss are so truncated. Strengthen us, your congregations to keep our promise, when the times permit, that communities may remember, and give thanks together for those who have died when this could not be done. In other words, Lord, we pray for people just like us, the people we know so well, because we live among them, our friends and neighbours. They are our communities. And we are their church. We know that in the darkness we seize on every glimmer of light, because we human beings are reassured by as little as the burning of a match when there is nothing else. But for us, in faith, you make the glimmers more than “light at the end of the tunnel”. They are the promise of a new day. We pray for our politicians and leaders, and the whole political process. “That it may generate light not heat“ is the old platitude, Lord , we know-but now it is light that we need. Guard them from the seeking of advantage, and the playing of games, that their leadership, and their questioning of leadership’s direction, their formulation of policy and their interrogation of policy, may always be grounded in truth, and concern for the well-being of all. We pray for the press, in their high calling of seeking the truth by the shining of its light in rigorous and proper scrutiny. We pray for the General Assembly that never fully happened, its Commission, and its Moderator, who embody its ongoing work and the momentum of its predecessors’ work, as they have sought to bring light to our work, and move us out into a new day. We pray for boldness to emerge into a dawn that will be strange, full of challenges, even beyond what we could have imagined when the Radical Action Plan was conceived. We pray for our Presbytery’s role in this, and that our planning and thinking be grounded in hope, in light, in faith and in prayer. Amen