Mosaic: Journey through Advent and Christmas 2015
Prayers for the First Week of Advent November 29-December 5
Prayers contributed by the people of Faith United Methodist Church and compiled by Faith UMC’s Spiritual Formation Ministry Team.
A mosaic is an artistic expression created from broken pieces brought together and made into something beautiful. In many ways, our congregation is a community of broken people brought together by God’s love and grace to build God’s Kingdom on earth. As you use this resource to prepare for the coming of Christ this Christmas, may you experience the blessing, joy and passion of this mosaic body of Christ. To God be the glory!
This Week’s Scripture Readings: Isaiah 42:1-4, Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalm 25:1-10, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-36
November 29 Advent Prayer written by Laura McNutt
Prepare our hearts and souls, oh gracious Lord,
So your teachings and love may touch a chord.
Within our busy, hectic days,
Help us stop to offer praise
For the gift of Jesus, your only son,
A treasured blessing when the day is done.
Anoint us with your shining light,
Remove oppression with your might.
Help us, Lord, your voice to hear.
Assure us that your son is near.
Take away our sadness and our strife;
Replace these burdens with joy in life.
Your name will live forever- that name is love.
Teach us to appreciate your gifts from above.
November 30 Advent Prayer written by Pastor Steve Stultz Costello
O God. In this season of Advent, give me patience and perseverance. Put your spirit in me. Create in me a servant’s heart so that I may be:
Gentle without becoming soft
Compassionate without compromising call
Disturbed and centered
Deeply concerned and profoundly hopeful
Let sadness and righteous anger be transformed from haughty arguments and verbosity to a quiet, listening presence.
Deepen my faith in you and in your ways. Let me trust humility and kindness.
Devote my life to restorative justice.
Open my heart that I may receive your teaching.
December 1 Advent Prayer written by Pastor Cara Stultz Costello
The days behind me look like a wreckage.
If I offer myself as a living sacrifice, this cracked vessel is what you’ll get.
I would understand if you might not want a gift like this.
Maybe you’ll open it up, take a stunned step back and mark it ‘return to sender.’
But I have been told as far back as I can remember that you don’t send back, ask for a refund, or toss out.
In the moments, those darkest ones, just before I wake, I have heard you say, “I long to transform your brokenness.”
Others have lives like mine too. We don’t speak of that in polite company…
So, you long to transform our brokenness.
You came in the person of Jesus into the most broken places:
Colonies of outcasts;
A hill of death.
So, maybe you’ll come into the most broken places today?
Syria and the camps and couches that house this shattered nation’s migrants;
The city of Paris with its rising multi-cultural and inter-religious anxieties;
Homes in which violence and shame has a seat at the table;
The vaguely grey corner of grief.
I say ‘maybe you’ll come’ but, huh, I just remembered, you’ve already come.
Thank you for receiving my faulty self.
Thank you for opening yourself to me and in turn allowing me to open to you.
Thank you for not calling it a loss with me.
Thank you for longing for
The one belonging to all of your creation
Thank you for coming.
In this moment.
December 2 Advent Prayer written by Sandy Vaughn
O most Holy Lord, as Advent begins, we rejoice and give thanks that you look upon us in mercy and grace. We are broken and separated from your true and magnificent love in so many ways. That you would send your blessed son to be born, grow, and walk among us so that we could be repaired and learn to love in truth and goodness we give thanks. Enter our hearts and souls this season of love.
Repair and make us whole so that we may be filled with your spirit to overflowing.
In Jesus sweet name we pray, Amen.
December 3 Advent Prayer written by Matt Hart
Heavenly Father, it is good to know that you love us, and we thank you that you sent a perfect gift for us, the perfect Servant, Your Son Jesus Christ. None of us, even though we were created by you, are adequate to serve You outside of our relationship with Jesus. So we praise you and thank you that He who is with You in the
beginning is alive and well and reigns.
December 4 Advent Prayer written by Pat Willis
Oh, God, we are weary of a world at war. Our spirits cry out. Must we learn to accept the inhumanity that darkens our days? Will the inconceivable cruelty ever end? Can our world, overwhelmed with strife, find a path to peace? Will the madness of hatred and destruction continue until humankind is no more? We yearn for peace on earth.
In this holy season, the lights of Christmas shine in our darkness. From that long-ago star glowing in the desert sky to the shimmering star topping our Christmas tree, we see your love sweeping away our
hopelessness. The birth of a baby that fateful night in Bethlehem assures us once more that love is stronger than hate. And we believe that our world can be made new again. Thank you for the hope the Christ child brings. Amen.
December 5 Advent Prayer written by Emily Jacobs
I pray that whenever I feel broken inside that You make me whole again. God, please just take all of my broken pieces and make them beautiful. We are all broken in some way, but God Your love for us is so endless and incredible that You allow Your light to shine through those broken pieces. It is through You, and You alone, that we become strong. There are moments for all of us when we feel hopeless and weak, but something good will always come out of that because You are the one in charge, not us. Just let us remember that we don’t have to face this broken world alone and that You will always be there to
carry us through. Thanks for loving every part of me, God, even the
imperfect, broken pieces that no one else wants to be a part of. Please let me use my brokenness to show others how You can make us whole again.
In Your name I pray, Amen.
Introduction to Faith UMC’s Suffering Servant Advent Series
My great-grandmother’s fruit bowl was a casualty to an indoor wrestling match. Is it too dramatic to say that with it my heart broke? My broken heart heard a word of God through a tune:
The birds they sang at the break of day
Start again I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what has passed away or what is yet to be…
Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen, Anthem
During the season of Advent as we prepare to celebrate the arrival of God in Jesus we will be focusing upon how it is that God comes to us in our brokenness and makes us whole. God, through the Prophet Isaiah, speaks of a servant who suffers, is broken and in whom we are healed. In these readings (Isaiah 42-53) we hear a prophecy of the coming Christ.
We live in a “disposable” world in which the things that are broken end up in the trash. On Christmas we will celebrate that God comes into the most humble of places to the most marginalized of people not so that they may be judged as worthless and therefore thrown out but for the healing of those people and indeed, the whole world.
As a way to allow the knowledge of this Coming One to sift through our mind and into our hearts we will employ our hands. As you come to worship each week you will see parts of a mosaic revealed. Our artist is Aaron Vaughn and you. Engagement pieces will be prepared for all. During times of prayer, praise and proclamation allow God to lead you in creating your own beautiful wholeness with broken bits and pieces.
The broken and whole Christ is with us in this season and in all times and circumstances.