I continue to pray every morning in the sanctuary during this season of Advent. And today there were 4 of us who listened to the reading from our devotional and then scattered around the sanctuary in individual silent prayer. At the end we gather together and I read a blessing that has been randomly selected but always seems to fit exactly.
I am preaching this weekend on the Bethlehem star as a star of unity. And could not help but recognize the unity - the connectedness - I experience on these mornings.
This morning I found myself praying for particular people
for those I am encountering who are grieving - a colleague whose son was killed last weekend, a woman whose daughter died in October, those whose loved ones have terminal cancer
for those who are suffering physically - the list is long
for those who are waiting - especially lifting up Brian and Allison waiting to bring baby Charlie Home
and I prayer "Lord Jesus, I pray that we might in our mourning, our hurting and our waiting trust in your presence and your love and your power at work. In the midst of everything we say that you are the bread of life, but it is not always apparent in the moment. But we pray in faith."
What I realize is that I feel so connected to people as I pray for them and stand with them in their situations. They may not have any idea how much I care, but I do believe that prayer is such an important part of our unity in Christ. And it is not only prayer for others - but prayer with others.
We spend most of our time together in silence, each of us speaking to God in our own way but what a connection we have as we gather together in the morning.
It is a mystery, of course, this unity.
But most of all it is a gift.