Preparing for Advent: A reflection on Isaiah and Simeon

November 16, 2008

One of my favorite new Advent discoveries is the Story-Formed Calendar blog. I know nothing about its author, but there are some lovely reflective meditations on this blog, and some excellent prayer resources for those who seek to follow the liturgical calendar.

Here is an excerpt from a meditation there on Isaiah & Simeon:

Last year, after reading through passages in Isaiah and then Luke 1 & 2 with our small group, I was struck with these two men – Isaiah and Simeon. They stand out to me almost as bookends of the Advent story.

One a prophet
One a devout man
Both looking.

One tells of the Messiah’s coming
One reads those prophecies
Both groan to see the fulfillment.

One lived under numerous rulers
One lived in the empire of Caesar
Both awaited a new King.

One spoke the words God gave him
One heard the words God gave him
Both lived with silence.

One told a nation
One blessed a mother
Both longed for Shalom

Read the full text here.

Lord, strengthen in our hearts a desire to wait on You, to listen to Your Word and to hunger for Your return this coming Advent season. Teach me to live in hope and expectation of all You have promised.

Philippians 3:12-19, Matthew 23:13-15, and Prayer Table Report

November 16, 2008

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. (Philippians 3:12)
      Father, help us to press on so that we may attain eternal life with Jesus.

Brethren, I do not count myself to have taken hold of it; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
      Holy Spirit, please help us let go of anything that hinders Jesus’ call to us and help us press on to new life in him.

Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. (Philippians 3:15)
      Jesus, help us come to maturity in you.

Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. (Philippians 3:16)
      Father, we pray for the Episcopal Church that our common life will be found in maturity in Christ Jesus rather than in canon law.

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things. (Philippians 3:17-19)
      Holy Spirit, renew in our day the wonders of your Pentecost!

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13)
      Jesus, have mercy on the leaders and teachers of the Episcopal Church and turn their hearts to your purposes.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.” (Matthew 23:14)
      Jesus, please stop the endless litigation that is consuming the Episcopal Church.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:15)
      Holy Spirit, we long to see those who come into your church being born again. Show us how to bring people to new life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A word received: Pray that my people will desire my truth, my justice, my mercy. Pray for them that they will turn to me.

Sunday: 19, 46; Habakkuk 1:1-4(5-11)12-2:1; Phil. 3:13-4:1; Matthew 23:13-24
Monday: 89:19-52; Habakkuk 2:1-4,9-20; James 2:14-26; Luke 16:19-31

(Sat., Nov. 15, 2008, 9:15-10:30 a.m. in front of Christ Church, Schenectady; Torre Bissell and Deacon Alan Hart.)

t–indicates received one of Torre’s wooden crosses.
a–indicates anointed with Holy Oil.
c–indicates took one of our church cards.

Note: Drizzly, damp day. Not as much foot traffic in the neighborhood today, but … people STILL came for the hope which comes only from Him.

t–RHONNA — Young girl walking with another. (She stopped for prayer whereas her friend shyly wanted no part of it.) Rhonna wanted prayers for protection, provision and general well-being.

t,t,t,a,c — ANNE — This is a middle-aged, pleasant woman who came out of her way to see us and obviously knew what the Table was. (She came from Swan Street, then went back that way afterwards — she was NOT passing by us.) Anne said she needed prayer AND advice, because her husband DEREK of 18 years has been verbally abusive, threatening, suspicious and jealous … NOT a good husband or father as of late. They have 7 children together, and two of them were with her — young DURAN, who was about 7 or 8, and JEREMY, who is about 11 or 12 and has Autism. We prayed for her to be safe and that all evil and trouble be driven from her home, and that Derek would become a better husband and father. Deacon Alan anointed her for Jesus’ protection. Torre also advised her to take Olive Oil and make the Sign of the Cross on the doorways throughout their home, declaring all that is not of God to begone in His name!

t–IRVING — A nervous man on his way to a dentist appointment stopped for prayer. We prayed that his visit to the dentist would go well and prayed for his protection.

t–ROBERT — This middle-aged man was ashamed he has a problem with alcohol and wants to be freed of it. We prayed for sobriety for him and also for good general health and protection and provision.

(note: While we were prayed for ROBERT, repeat street visitor LES went by and waved to us happily. He also is battling alcoholism and is showing definite improvement. He is an older man who has been a regular to the Table lately. He showed us he still is wearing his cross!

DON — Prayed for him for his safety and for the strengthening of his marriage.

t–BILL — Asked for prayers for “steady employment” and to be able to pay his rent on time.

t,t — JOHN and LAURIE — This 30-ish, needy couple had just come from Dollar General. They asked for prayer for “things to get better” for them. Laurie’s trailer is being foreclosed. We prayed that God will provide for them and protect them and keep them safe.

t–LYNETTE — This well-dressed lady came from across the street, not sure what or who we were. We prayed for her general well-being. She asked if she could give us a donation of money, but we assured her that was not what the Table is about.

t–TACK — Young man with a hoodie and an unusual (to us!) name was with a girl who did NOT want prayer and stood off to the side. We prayed for Tack to be safe and secure today, and that God would show him signs today that he is working in his life. He then got on a bus for Albany and the girl crossed the street and walked away.

LINDVALL — This area pastor stopped for prayer, then in turn prayed for US and thanked us for “being out here.”

t,c– HOWARD — Very needful of a job. We prayed for him to be able to find steady employment … and soon.

(NO NAME) — Man who said he was VERY LATE for work stopped briefly for a quick prayer of protection. He didn’t have time to give us his name but thanked us.

Albany Intercessor

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