Welcome to Advent

Here you will find prayers and reflections for the Advent season, including original responsive prayers for use in worship services. I hope you find something to draw you deeper into this holy season of anticipation and hope.
Note that in all responsive prayers, the Leader's words are shown in plain text, and the People's response in bold italic.

In Silence

Praying HandsResponsive prayers by Thomas Robb, appropriate for use in Advent or Lent, or anytime that calls for silent prayer. 

More about responsive prayer.

 

In silence, or aloud, give thanks to God for all that we have… all that we are… all that we may become – be it broken, or complete, or somehow, both.

(Silence)

[Read more…]

The Voice We Need to Hear

A Homily for Advent

by
Margaret D. McGee

Advent IIClick here to listen to Margaret deliver this sermon at St. Paul’s.

We need someone to bring us the good Word. Someone with a new perspective, who can shine a light on the path ahead, and clear the way for new life.

We need someone to bring us the good Word because, again and again, we find ourselves entangled in a deadly existence. Picking our way through trivialities and energy-sucking tasks. Falling back into patterns we’d hoped to escape. And in frustration, losing the path to kindness. Seeing moments in which we might have been kind slip away. All the while longing for just one more chance at love, one more chance to give love, be loved in return.

If God really is love, and sin is whatever separates us from that Love, then a good part of ordinary life is thorny with sin.

It’s hard find the way out of the briar patch by ourselves, because it’s so dense and dark in there, and because we don’t clearly remember how we got entangled in the first place. We end up lost, anxiety-ridden, disappointed, and often confused. Speaking for myself, it isn’t simply that I can’t see the forest for the trees. (Of course I can’t – I’m in the middle of it.) It’s that, a lot of the time, I barely see the tree before I run into it and fall over.

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Sharing God’s Soul: A Homily for the Day of Judgement

I have always identified with the goats more than with the sheep.

Sharing God’s Soul

Homily for the Day of Judgement

by

Margaret D. McGee

It was with no joy that I saw I had been assigned to preach on the last Sunday before Advent. I actively disliked the assigned gospel lesson, a depiction of the Day of Judgement in which the good sheep are separated from the bad goats.

And if I didn’t want to preach about heaven and hell, my main alternative would be to wrestle with the day’s theme of “Christ the King,” another religious metaphor that doesn’t do much for me.

So I ended up sticking with the sheep and the goats. [Read more…]

What Am I Waiting For Today?

A Meditation for Advent

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
     more than those who watch for the morning,
     more than those who watch for the morning. 

                           —Psalm 130: 5-6

What am I waiting for today?

To be reborn myself, of course. As always. To emerge from this brittle cocoon of impatience and doubt. To open new wings and fly. [Read more…]

Prayers in Patience and Hope

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, for use on the third Sunday of Advent.

 

In patience and in hope, let us offer our prayers to God, saying with one voice,

We rejoice with joy and singing
For the coming of the LORD is near.  [Read more…]

Prayers for New Beginnings

Responsive prayers by Thomas Robb, for use on Advent I, or during the Green Season at the start of a new year of programming.

 

I beg you pray with me this morning for all of the various spiritual leaders of the world, and particularly the clergy of our church whose tasks so often resemble herding cats. [Read more…]

Awake to Life

Advent Garden GoddessAwake to Life

A Homily for the First Sunday of Advent

by
Margaret D. McGee

So we make full circle and return again to the beginning, to Advent, the opening of a new year in the life of faith. The season when, around the world, hearts break open for the coming of the Christ child. A season when even our own rather damp, gray world may be revealed as the best and only place to hold the birth of love, life, and light. [Read more…]

Prayer for New Life

In this season of Advent, dear God, for the sake of new life, let me look ahead with courage and love.

Let me act not from fear, but from faith.

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Prayers of a Quiet Day

“Blessed are those … who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.”  — Psalm 84:5

On December 6, 2008, I joined with some of the women of St. Hugh of Lincoln Episcopal Church in Allyn, Washington for an Advent Quiet Day. Using themes of journeys and waiting, we shared stories and prayers, walked a spiral labyrinth, and shared a meal of soup and bread.

The prayers posted here were written at the Quiet Day and prayed aloud during our closing worship.

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