“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” (John 1)
“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (Luke 1)
We know this to be true: You speak to us and our spirits vibrate with your call. You breathe upon our lives and we breathe in your peace. You sing and our feet pick up the tune. You turn the world upside down, and our hearts are lifted high. Your light pierces the dark, your justice overturns the powerful, your grace shatters the illusion of our own grandeur; in so many moments, surprising and unexpected, we have witnessed the way you transform the world.
And yet, still we struggle when we turn to pray for the world. We struggle to remember these moments of your glory. We struggle to trust in your work. We struggle to magnify your peace and justice, your mercy and righteousness. When the world wants to drown us with despair, we struggle to let our hearts blaze with hope and joy.
We need your Word. We need your Word as proclaimed by John the Baptist in his fiery speeches about your Light. We need your Word in Mary as she sings forth the prophetically profound Magnificat. We need these words and your Word to realign our priorities, to refocus our gaze, to redirect us towards the dance of your Spirit in the world around us.
As we turn to pray for the world, we know we see with Your eyes. We need to look with Your eyes at the Democratic Republic of Congo to see the nearly half a million children who face starvation. We need to look with Your eyes at the entrenched Israeli/Palestinean conflict to see the civilians injured in recent weeks by mobs and rockets in the occupied Palestinian territories. We need to look with Your eyes at our current political partisan divides to see the hundreds of men and women who have had the courage to claim their experience of sexual assault in the United States and beyond. We need to look with Your eyes at Zimbabwe and Kenya, to witness the citizens involved in the tenuous transition of political power. We need to look with Your eyes at the refugees who remain in limbo in Greece, Syria, Turkey, Germany, Myanmar, Jordan, Israel, and the countries of Central America.
We need to look with Your eyes and hold these prayers in our hearts, because we believe that you are God with Us, Emmanuel, and all of those lifted up in prayer are your beloved children.
In you, we live and move and have our being. In you, we pray our prayers for the world. In you, we remember who and whose we are.
Thanks be to you, the Word Made Flesh.