A few years ago, I heard Gaudete by Brad Reynolds in worship and I loved it so much that I have no idea what happened through the rest of the service. I was lost in wonder of these joy-filled words. I am not sure I am one of those people that does joy well.
I am keenly aware of that when this Sunday pops up — or it’s friend over there in Lent. I’m not sure I am ready for it. I’m not sure what to do with it because it feels like it has be bigger than I am able to claim when it really does feel like the world is ending. I’m just never sure how to enter into it fully while still in this sense of expectation. I love how this poem welcomes me into a joy that feels possible even when every passage this week seems to insist on that joy. I don’t like the bossiness of this week’s epistle. I really don’t. I prefer the playfulness of Gaudete that can be hard to find in sacred text.
Prayer of Confession Inspired by Zephaniah 3:14-20 and Philippians 4:4-7 It doesn't feel right to sing when there is so much that is wrong. Judgments, condemnations, variants and fears make us quiet. We don't make a sound when terrors and worries overwhelm. We forget to look for joy -- and there is always joy just as this world is always moving closer and closer to your hope. Forgive us for not rejoicing in the tiny wonders. Forgive us for not singing into our fears. Forgive us for ignoring how close you are, now and always. Silent contemplation follows.
There’s another version of this song that mixes this song with Joy to the World. It’s a lot peppier and maybe that’s the vibe you’re going for but I rather like this one as an Affirmation of Grace. I’m pretty sure the You is supposed to be God so maybe you’d rather use it in the Prayers of the People but I think it could work both ways. That said, I have no idea about permissions with your congregation’s licenses and you would, of course, need to make sure that it’s possible to use this song. I want to offer an alternative but I can’t find one I’m really excited about so please share in the comments your ideas.
Last year, I wrote these prayers for this third Sunday of Advent. The confession might not work but the Call to Worship inspired by What Child is This? might work for your worship planning if the above suggestions don’t work for you.
That’s all I’ve got for now.
I am praying for you, dear pastor. I’m praying for you so much.
One thought on “Pandemic Prayers for the Third Sunday of Advent”
“All you’ve got” is pretty amazing. Thanks so much.