Using Prayer Beads with The Upper Room Advent Litany: Week Four

I intended to post this yesterday, but the day turned out to have a mind of its own. A metal cabinet with a saw – that’s right, a SAW – attached to it fell on top of my son, Matthew, yesterday, leading us to spend the afternoon at an urgent care clinic. Thankfully, he is okay, but it took a while for my heart to stop beating out of my chest. My husband, Max, wrote a great post about our family emergency and the signs of God’s presence with us throughout.

That is what this fourth week of Advent is about: recognizing God’s presence around us and the signs that God is about to share something miraculous with the world. It is about hope and joy.

Sunday morning I sat down to worship and took a deep breath, realizing I had been moving quickly that morning to get ready for church, fix breakfast, make plans for the day, etc. I exhaled the busy-ness of the morning and sat quietly for about 60 seconds. I was still, paying attention. In that stillness I saw signs of God’s presence: the organist playing a beautiful prelude; fellow church members greeting each other with hugs and smiles; Advent banners made by the children last year; everyone’s anticipation of the service – the fourth Sunday of Advent. It was a brief but powerful moment because anything and everything I had been trying to balance that morning fell away. All that mattered was that God was present and – whether anyone else was conscious of it or not – I was aware of it.

Sitting in the doctor’s office yesterday, I was so focused on Matthew’s pain that I did not take many deep breaths. My mind was not at all still. But that’s okay, because I knew there was a network of family and friends who were praying for us. They were aware of God’s presence with us even if we weren’t. And that was enough for me.

No matter what is going on in your life at this point in time, I hope you are able to take time to be still and see signs of God’s presence. But if you can’t, don’t stress, because the rest of us have your back. We will be offering up prayers and pointing to signs of hope for you. Cover for The Upper Room Nov/Dec 2014 issue

(the following is an excerpt from the Advent Litany for the November/December 2014 issue of The Upper Room, reprinted with permission)

Advent Worship Litanies 2014

During Advent we are invited to open ourselves to God’s loving Spirit. One of the best ways to do this is by being still. While our world maintains a hectic pace at this time of year, we have an opportunity to quiet our bodies, minds, and spirits, helping us to prepare for God’s glorious gift of love on Christmas day.

Note: There are many ways to be still, including the use of prayer beads. If you have a set of prayer beads, I encourage you to use them with this Advent Litany. The words to Say can be used with the cruciform beads, while you can use your week beads to Consider how the litany applies to your life. (Alternative directions: Use each bead to consider how the litany applies to your life.)

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Light four purple candles (or three purple and one pink)

Read: Isaiah 43:1-4a, John 3:9-16

Reflect: The more time we spend being still the more we experience God’s deep love for us. Where previously we were too busy to notice, now we see signs of God’s presence everywhere. We understand that God is preparing us to receive God’s most profound expression of love in Jesus Christ.

Say: The time is near when we will see God’s greatest expression of love for us. We await the coming of God’s Son.

Consider: How do you experience God’s love for you and the world? How can you share this with the world?

Pray: Loving God, help us to prepare for the birth of your son who is the full measure of your love for us. Amen.

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