Advent 2018 – Day Four – Can you hear what I hear?
As I read the passage for today the song which came to me was Do you see what I see. This song was written as a response to the Cuban missile crisis and it seems very pertinent to the world of today with the bulllish rhetoric being spoken by so many world leaders who seek to dominate others with threats of violence.
The words are a moving plea for peace.
“The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light”
It is all too easy to be overwhelmed by the world around us and the problems we constantly see in the news. How can we be expected to have any impact on these global situations?
However hard it seems, we are called to make a difference in the small ways that we are able. We do this in the strength of the Holy Spirit and with the assurance that the Lord has indeed raised a King who has shown us how to act wisely, to love justice and in doing so to walk humbly with our God.
In this season of Advent we remember that it is the child promised who has made this possible and we also anticipate his return in our Christmas celebrations and in our prayers for the world.
Bible Passage: – Jeremiah Chapter 23 Verses 1 – 6(NIV)
The Righteous Branch
“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior.
You can then create a picture of a sheep or a shepherd as shown in the pictures.
Alongside the picture write the names of those who care for you or for whom you care and use the sheet in your prayer time to remember both.
You may also wish to remember those who are not well at the moment and there is a section in the prayers today which gives time to pray for them.
I like the use of the fingerprint as it reminds me that each of us is both an unique individual and importantly uniquely special to God.
Prayers and Reflection
Hymn: Singing the Faith – “These are the days of Elijah”
“I will place shepherds over them who will tend them..”.
Let us pray together.
Think of the saying in order to understand context and meaning,
Feel the meaning of the saying with and in your heart,
Pray, using the saying, for yourself or others. With only a name and without explaining the reasons or pre-defining any answers.
Listen for God’s voice in the quiet of your prayers.
Pray using your own prayers or one of those which have been prepared below.
Loving God we thank you for the coming of Jesus the Shepherd of your people. Amen.
Into this dark and hurting world, Lord Jesus, you come to show your love for each of us. We thank you that you come as a Shepherd to your people, guarding, guiding and watching over us. Blessed be your name. Amen.
Loving God as we think of the words of the prophet Jeremiah we see that the world’s needs have not changed much over the millenia.
We are still in desperate need of your peace.
Lord you are our good shepherd, we know that we are precious to you. With you we find family and belonging, we grow and are cared for together as your people.
Lord you give us comfort and healing and we pray for healing of mind, body and spirit for those we remember and name in the silence of our hearts.
Lord you stand up for justice. We lift to you those who cry out for freedom, those who have been imprisoned or tortured for their race, colour or faith.
Lord with you we find peace. We remember those orphaned, injured or dispossessed by war, for refugees in search of a home, for all victims of conflict and war, and for all those who search for peace and reconciliation.
In Jesus name we ask these things. Amen.