Daily Prayers Wednesday, 21 December 2022
Good morning Cornerstone friends. I hope your preparations for the festivities are under control. The theme of today’s Psalm is, ‘The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.’ Let us keep that in mind while we chase around for those last minute matters.
Psalm 33 verses 1 – 5, verses 12 and 22
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, for it is good for the just to sing praises.
Praise the Lord with the lyre; on the ten string harp sing his praise.
Sing for him a new song; play skilfully with shouts of praise.
For the word of the Lord is true and all his works are sure.
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.
Happy the nation whose God is the Lord and the people he has chosen for his own.
Let your lovingkindness, O Lord be upon us, as we have set our hope on you.
Feed your people, Lord, with your holy word and free us from the emptiness of our wrong desires,
that we may sing the song of your salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Common Worship, Daily Prayer)
St Luke, chapter 1 verses 39 to 45 Mary visits Elisabeth
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elisabeth. When Elisabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why this has happened to me that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
‘The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.’
‘Let your lovingkindness, O Lord be upon us, as we have set our hope on you.’
The message of the Psalm is so appropriate to this time of year and this year in particular.
In Luke’s gospel this event comes between the visitation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary and her offering the prayer ‘My soul magnifies the Lord….’ Reading this account one gets the idea that Mary was sent to have some time with Elisabeth once her pregnancy became apparent.
Zechariah and Elisabeth were not in Jerusalem because Zechariah had been unable to speak since the angel had told him that he would have a son who was going to bring a new message to the People of Israel. They were on some sort of special leave and living outside the city so this was a secluded home for Mary so that her family did not have to announce the news of her pregnancy.
We have from this story three prayers still in universal use today;
the utterance of Elisabeth which is the opening of the prayers of the Rosary,
the Magnificat or song of Mary
and the Benedictus or Song of Zechariah.
Most of us will be busy in the next few days with last minute arrangements before Christmas
so let us pray for the church and for the world in one prayer from our Advent Course:
This advent time we remember Mary and Joseph
giving thanks for their faithfulness, courage and obedience,
stepping out into the unknown in the strength of your Spirit,
playing their part in the fulfilment of your plan to bring the your prodigal people home again.
We pray that their example might be the pattern of our lives,
that when your gentle whisper breaks through the clamour of this world into our small corner,
we might be ready to listen, and having listened to act
Let us keep as our theme for today and this Christmas the words at the end of the Benedictus:
By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
May we all find some love, peace and inspiration in the Christmas festivities.