Advent Favorites — I Am Not Worthy (St. John Chrysostom)

December 7, 2008

Originally Posted: December 6, 2004

Collect: Second Sunday of Advent

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Reni (Italian, 1575-1642), Virgin of the Annunciation, Oil on Canvas, Landesmuseum, OldenburgI am not worthy, Master and Lord,
that you should come
beneath the roof of my soul;
Yet, since you in your love for all people
wish to dwell within me,
in boldness I come before you.

You command “Open the gates!”
Gates you alone have forged;
And you will come in
with love toward all, as is your nature.
You will come in and enlighten my dark reasoning.

I believe you will do this,
for you did not send away
the harlot who came to you with tears,
nor cast out the repenting publican,
nor reject the thief
who acknowledged your kingdom.
You did not forsake the repentant persecutor,
the apostle Paul, even as he was.

But all who came to you in repentance,
you counted in the band of your friends;
You, who alone lives in glory forever,
now and unto the endless ages.

— St. John Chrysostom (347-407)

Another prayer by St. John Chrysostom

Psalm 85:7-13

December 7, 2008

Show us your mercy, LORD, and grant us your salvation. (Psalm 85:7)
      LORD, restore to the leaders and teachers and people of the Episcopal Church the knowledge of what makes for our salvation. We are wandering in the desert; come and save us.

I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people and to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. (Psalm 85:8 )
      Jesus, the reason so many of us in the Episcopal Church are “backslidden” is that so many of us have never “frontslidden”. Help us all make the choice for you to be our Lord and Savior; set us free from the folly of thinking we can earn our salvation by our works.

Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. (Psalm 85:9)
      Jesus, help us who are called by your name to humble ourselves and return to you so that you will heal our land.

Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed. (Psalm 85:10)
      Holy Spirit, please help us embrace mercy, truth, righteousness, and peace.

Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven. (Psalm 85:11)
      Father, let your truth and righteousness meet in the Episcopal Church.

Yes, the LORD will give what is good; and our land will yield its increase. (Psalm 85:12)
      Father, we trust that you will give us what is good for us. Thank you.

Righteousness will go before him, and shall make his footsteps our pathway. (Psalm 85:13)
      Jesus, please help us walk by the light of your word; then we won’t stumble. Thank you.

A word received for a Sunday School lesson on King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20: 1-30): Look at the difference Jehoshaphat made for the whole people of God. He kept his eyes on me and they followed him. You can make the same difference during the present economic crisis by keeping your eyes on me.

Sunday: 148, 149, 150; Isaiah 5:1-7; 2 Peter 3:11-18; Luke 7:28-35
Monday: 25; Isaiah 5:8-12, 18-23; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Luke 21:20-28

Albany Intercessor


December 7, 2008

(In front of Christ Church, Schenectady; Sat., Dec. 6, 2008, 9:15 to 10:30 a.m.; Torre Bissell and Deacon Alan Hart.)

a–indicates anointed with Holy Oil.
t–indicates received one of the wooden crosses made by Torre’s friend Dennis Adams of North Carolina.

Note: Very cold (high teens) but we were out in the bright sunshine by the sidewalk and there was no wind, so the setting was perfect.

t–DAWN and male friend — This couple stopped just as we were setting up the Table. Dawn was eager for prayer for provision and protection right away; her friend less so. But as we prayed for Dawn, the friend’s attitude changed and he was grateful to join in. Dawn gave each of us a big hug when we finished and said “Thank you!”

t–AGNES — This needy woman, collecting bottles and cans on the sidwalks, asked for prayers not for herself but “… for the mother and the kids who were hit by the car a few nights ago.” (That of course is Sherry Anderson and her children. More on them later.) We prayed together for the Andersons and then we also asked God to bless Agnes herself and provide her with what she needs. Torre and I were struck by how this woman, so poor, thought of others first before her own needs. There is a kinship among the residents of the Hill. When one hurts, they all feel the pain.

t–MARK — Very shy, nice young teenaged boy. He wanted prayer for safety.

t–SANDY — Here is a woman who has stopped quite a few times recently for prayers. She is trying to find employment and is still looking. She also wanted prayers for her grandson, who she said “… likes to play with my cross when it’s around my neck.” We gave her a cross to give to her grandson and continued prayers for her to find a job.

t–JOSHUA — Young man in his 20s who had a very light jacket on and appeared to be cold. He asked for prayers for his grandmother, SANDY, and his fiancee, TIFFANY, to be healthy and safe. Torre prayed that Joshua would become the man God intends him to be.

DIANE — Another past visitor to the Table. She asked for prayers for “my family to be safe.”

a,t — ANDRE — Still another repeater. Andre and his girlfriend have a son already and he said they have another baby on the way soon. We prayed for the health and well-being of Andre, also for the same for the mother and the son and also for safe and healthy delivery of the next baby. Deacon Alan anointed Andre for protection to be safe from all evils and harm.

JIM — This man likewise has been to the Table many times, always to pray for his godson EDWIN who had been in Iraq for a third tour of duty. Jim wanted to give God prayers of thanks because Edwin is back home safe now! Praise God.

t–KATE — Young woman wanted prayers for her friend ROSE, who has been diagnosed with cancer. We prayed for Rose to return to good health and to strengthen Kate to be able to minister to her friend in this time of need.

TWO PEOPLE — A woman in her 30s or 40s and a young man maybe 20 walked by after parking in our parking lot. They said they were “in a hurry” for their own church services in the neighborhood but we prayed for them quickly as they walked by and then they scooted quickly across the street while there were no cars around.

t–MARY — Very polite, friendly woman with her daughter CELIA stopped for prayer as they headed for the bus strop. Some others in the group went on to the corner without wanting prayer, but Mary said she wanted prayer for herself and her daughter to “be safe.”

a,t — DONALD — Young man wearing his own metal cross accepted our cross gratefully after he sought prayer for “… protection for everyone on the Hill.” (There again we noted the alliance of all who live and work in the neighborhood of which Christ Church of course is a part!) He was very grateful for the prayer opportunity and thanked us over and over.

Unknown prostitute — We do not know her name, but this young 25-30ish woman with dyed red hair who obviously is a prostitute and has a drug addiction came as close as she ever has to stopping. We have invited her to prayer many times, and usually she smirks at us and walks by or she is “stoned” and really has trouble walking. This time she almost stopped. Almost. This time she hesitated when we asked her and it looked like she was considering it but then said “No, I don’t think so.” Pray for God to touch her heart and mind to turn to Him. Pray for Torre and ALan and Howard and Scott and all other Prayer Table ministers to find the way to reach these “almost” people who we can’t seem to bring to Christ.

—— AFTER THE PRAYER TABLE ITSELF … Torre and Alan went to the nearby Anderson home with a big container of chocolate ice cream to pray for the family. Sherry’s mother Elizabeth answered the door and told us some good news — apparently little Charles (2 years old) is coming home today from Albany Med, and that Lynn continues to improve. Torre and I prayed for Elizabeth and the whole family on the front porch. She said to thank everyone for their prayers.

Albany Intercessor

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