Dear friends in Christ,
I love the collect – or prayer of the day – for this coming Sunday. It’s an ancient prayer that still speaks to us today.
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let thy bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world without end. Amen.
Several years ago, I wrote about this prayer for an Advent retreat I led. In that retreat meditation, I said:
I am captivated by the idea of God stirring us up, of being stirred up by God’s power. It really suggests we won’t be left the same, that things will get mixed up in us and in the world through God’s power. I think of the swirling nothingness at the beginning, out of which God brought all Creation into being, and how God’s creativity continues in the world. Stir up thy power!
My gosh, I am so ready for God to stir things up. It’s not that our chaotic, fallen world needs excitement. Rather, the patterns of power, might, greed, and violence need to be stirred. Complacency and fear need to be stirred away. Hope, grace, mercy, peace, and justice need to be stirred in. We need some stirring.
If you can, get to church this weekend or join a service online. Hear the warning of John the Baptist. Pray for a fresh stirring up of our world and our lives. Do the work of repentance to which Advent calls us.
We can’t do it on our own. Stir up your power, O God! Stir us up, we pray!