Saturday, December 05, 2009


Prayer offered after the singing of "A Strange Way to Save the World,"
written by Fred Hammond, Dave Clark, Mark Harris and Don Koch.

“A strange way to save the world,” indeed.
If we’re really honest with you and with ourselves, Lord God,
we don’t completely ‘get’ what you’ve done for us in the coming of Jesus.
We get pieces of the puzzle,
and we celebrate joyously what our limited imaginations can grasp.
But we, too, can easily join the chorus of,
“Why him?” “Why here?” “Why her?”
And I, for one (and probably many others in this room might join me in this)
I am very often one to second-guess what angels have to say!
I try, and fail, to wrap my mind around
the mystery of the incarnation,
the mystery of salvation,
the mystery of faith itself,
and I second-guess everything ... a lot!
It sometimes seems like a highly visible,
high and mighty,
fully-grown military leader extraordinaire
might fill the bill as savior a whole lot better than
a red-faced,
very needy, tiny baby
who makes his grand entrance on the scene
with no one but animals and shepherds and dirt-poor parents for company.

And when my second-guessing takes me down that particular road,
it’s time for me to stop,
to slow down,
to step back,
to breathe in and breathe out,
and be still.
Still enough to hear your voice of love through all the garbage in my head.
Still enough to allow your Holy Spirit to re-capture my imagination.
Still enough to remember that You are God and I am not.
To remember: that you always do things in unexpected ways,
that you continually confound those who are wise in their own eyes,
that you choose to make yourself visible in
the weak,
the lost,
the little,
the least;
that you are not in the business of taking over the world by force,
but rather you are in the business of wooing your human creatures
in ways that are subtle and strange,
surprising and mysterious.
And for that, we most humbly say, “Thank you.”
And for that, we most humbly ask, “Woo us, O Lord.”
For we’re here in this place today, God,
to say that we need a Savior,
we need a healer,
we need a companion on the way.
Many of us are dreading these days ahead –
we’re missing people from our family circle,
through illness or death or divorce;
we’re struggling with illness and pain ourselves;
we’re tired of the overhype and the overkill;
we’re broke and we’re frightened about the future;
we’re struggling to find our place in the world
and we don’t quite know where to put our feet next;
we’re facing into exams and papers due
and not enough time or energy to do any of it;
we’re facing the harsh reality of aging, failing bodies and we yearn for heaven;
we’re a mixed up, crazy bunch here, Lord.
And we truly don’t ‘get it’ a lot of the time.
But … and this is a huge word here…
BUT – we deeply desire to get YOU.
Through all the questions
and all the wrestling,
and all the sighing
and all the wondering,
we want you.
We want you to be – in us and through us –
the God who surprises people with grace.
We want you to be – in us and through us –
the God who welcomes the stranger with words of hope and peace.
We want you to be – in us and through us –
the God who comes to us as one of us,
tiny and squalling, poor and needy.
The one who cries tears of compassion over our lostness.
The one who heals our diseases and feeds our souls.
The one who lives a fully human life,
and dies a fully human death,
and who is resurrected by the power of Divine Spirit,
and who will come again to bring justice and mercy
where justice and mercy are due.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!