THIS WEEK’S INTRODUCTION
All for your love's sake. Amen.
Keep watch, send angels, tend, give, bless, soothe, pity, shield . . . Our Advent prayer names our most vulnerable needs. It is a bold prayer because it tells God how to meet those needs. There’s no convincing, begging, or bargaining in this prayer. We confidently seek relief for our hardships, knowing we are helpless to relieve them ourselves. What is the source of this confidence?
Very simply, we confidently trust God for the sake of love. Our trust is bold because God’s love is bold. God’s bold love came to us in a manger at Christmas. Jesus reveals God’s love for us in all of life: working, watching, weeping, sleeping, sickness, weakness, dying, suffering, affliction, and joy. We pray boldly for the sake of God’s bold love.
Our Advent prayer is a bedtime prayer. We pray in love, trust in love, and then fall asleep in that love. When we wake up the next day, we are still in that love. In that love, we receive an invitation: Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. We might not have angels at our command, but can keep watch, tend, give, bless, soothe, pity, and shield others for the sake of love. We can give these gifts of bold love to one another.
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. . .. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9 & 11
- Pray our prayer each night before bed.
- In our Advent reflections we have named the reality of darkness in our lives and world. We have also named the light that comes in the ways that Lord Christ watches over us. What have you learned about the darkness? Where have you found the light of Christ?
- As we enter into the new year, what specific ways do you need Lord Christ to continue to watch over you?
- How might you love others in the new year? How might you keep watch, tend, give, bless, soothe, pity, and shield for the sake of love?
- Consider keeping our Advent bedtime prayer as a nightly practice.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.