contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.


Long Beach, CA

Advent Prayers

Advent Cycle I:

The First Sunday in Advent

Reader

O Living God, you made our hearts to feel.  To desire.  To anticipate.  To hope.  This hope, when misplaced, stings.  And we have known, all of us, the bitterness of trusting and hoping and longing for that which cannot make us new.

But in the winter of desolation, You find us.  In the spring of our hopes and desire, God, You meet us.  In the blazing of our lives with all their hopes and glories, we are not deceived: we remember that very little is lasting but You and that which abides in Your kingdom.  And in the fading of our human strength, even to death, we are brought to the new life You have given us and continue to give us. 

All

Here, then, in Advent, the very beginning of the year made new by your birth, we celebrate miracle upon miracle.  Here our lives begin anew, once again.  For even here, before your story is fully told, we already know: Our hope is not mis-placed.  We are not lost.  There is hope for men on earth.  There is a Savior, and these glad tidings of great joy we proclaim: There is one born to us—one like us, who hopes and longs and desires and yet is not undone! He is faithful and true, Lord of lords and King of kings, Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting.  He is Immanuel.  God with us.  Our God, come to us.  In this and in every season, come to us.

Reader

Help us, Lord, to place our hopes and our desires well, in You, the one who does not disappoint.

All

We pray these things through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.


The Second Sunday in Advent

Reader 

In the fading light, as days grow short and the earth is veiled in darkness, we confess, Lord, how weary our eyes can become, misshapen by long hours of mis-focus and mis-guided searching.  Our imaginations so easily cloud over with dark thoughts and ideas. 

To desire is to be vulnerable, we have so often decided.  To allow our souls to hope is to face disappointment, we have believed.  So we have willingly clung to the darkness around us.  We have hidden in nights that cannot warm us, scared of moving, holding on to what we’ve known for comfort, but finding not even that.

All 

In this pitiful state, You have found us.  In these barren places, You meet with us.  We say with those of old, “On those living in darkness, a great light has shined,” and how marvelous is this light as the Living God draws near!  We quake once again with budding hope that cannot be contained.  We exult as those who at last have found rest, warmed by the greatness of this grace unspeakable, undeserved, abundant.   

For God, You yourself have come to us.  You have come as one of us.  And we will follow You, God of burning fire:  We give ourselves to trust again.  We surrender our hearts into this hope that does not disappoint.  You have opened a new story before us.  All things are being made new by You.  

Reader 

Clothe us, Jesus, in this new story you are writing.  Help us, Living God, to comprehend with our whole being this great mystery of Immanuel.  Of our God with us.  Of our God come to us. 

All

We pray these things through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.


The Third Sunday in Advent

Reader

Lord, our minds are feeble.  We recoil at mystery.  We shy from anything that would make us question what we’ve already decided and ‘how things are.’  We are tempted, each of us, to avoid tension of any kind; and how pleased we are to settle for that which would keep us comfortable in the worlds of our own making.  How often we have avoided any truth which would humble or shake us.  How assiduously we have refrained from confessing just how small and in need we truly are.

All

God, we confess: We have often re-made You in our own image, to keep Your greatness at bay.  We have constructed false pictures of You to keep us from the tension of our own desire.  We have called these pictures God and clung to them, never seeing how blind they keep us.

Reader

What can this mean, then--this reality which shatters our idols?  This truth which destroys our pictures of a God far off: A baby in a bed of straw, chilled by the cold of a desert night.  A mother holding the hope of the whole world, veiled in flesh and mortal weakness.

This we could not have imagined.  This we could not have conceived.  You have come not as idea or symbol or concept, but as flesh.  As living body.  As one who, with us, breathes and cries and touches both joy and sorrow.  It is mystery upon mystery; and we are speechless.  It is glorious beyond glory; and we are shaken.  We quake to our center, and are filled with light and air and hope.  Jesus, true God, you have truly revealed God to us. 

All

Living God, come to us once again and open our hearts, that we may see that which is too marvelous for our feeble words to convey.  Enthrall us in that which we can never fully explain: This God of soaring love, come to us.  This Lord of grace and power, come as one of us.  This Great King Eternal, stooping low, bowing down, to be with us.

Reader

We pray these things through Christ our Lord, Amen.


The Fourth Sunday in Advent

Reader

Lord, our eyes are ever hungry for some vision that can sate us.  And as we lift up our eyes in hope, we can’t help but remember the sting of that which has not saved us.  Of that which, trusted as gold, was brass.  How glorious to our hearts then that, all at once, the vision of Isaiah your prophet dawns around us:  

All

“Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together”

Reader

Before these words have even fallen silent, John’s prophecy reaches us:

All

“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

Reader

To say these things is to confess light with the sunrise.  We proclaim dawn with the morning.  We are now saplings, our souls ascending through levels of deep and earth and darkness to burst forth into bud and rose and song.  We speak forth with all people in all places the hope of all nations. 

So let us confess with joy:

All

God, You are making all things new.  We who have known shadows and valleys from which any sight was impossible, we who have wallowed in hollows of our own making, we who have walked through dark places, our souls trembling--we are lifted up.  You--God who cried at your first breath, Living God of the skinned knee and awkward adolescence, Eternal God who breathed in the dust and beauty of a languishing world, God who was stung as we are stung--You walked these valleys, too.

Reader

Let all people in all places rejoice. 

All

With the angels, we cry, “Holy holy holy.”  And with their host we proclaim, “Peace on earth good-will to men.”  We have been ransomed.  We have been rescued.  Let the song of jubilation now fill this place.  Let the jubilee of Immanuel now quake the darkness.  Let the verse of Messiah put all darkness on notice.  For God has come.  Our King has come to us.

Reader

Help us now, Living God of our soul’s desire, to live well in this new vision.  Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, forge us in justice and strength and grace and mercy.  True God, wield our souls to Your greatness and glory.

Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.