Prayers For Our President On Inauguration Day

There is not as much excitement about the Inauguration this year as there was when President Obama first took office, but it still is a momentous day.

There will be ceremonies and celebrations, and public and private prayers. (The website for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies explains that there will be a private swearing-in ceremony on January 20, and a public ceremony on January 21.) The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church has this prayer “For the President of the United States and all in Civil Authority.”

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world:
We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace.
Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus  Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Shortly after election day, we read Psalm 146 as part of our Sunday service. I thought it might have been more fitting before the election, but I decided to keep it in mind for  Inauguration Day.

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
the Lord, who remains faithful forever.

He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

This Psalm is a good reminder that even the greatest human leader is human, with faults and failings, imperfect judgment and limited power. On the other hand, if we put our trust God, we will not be disappointed. God is always faithful, and serves a broad constituency–including those that may be disenfranchised from human politics.

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Advent: Ready Or Not, Christmas Is Coming!

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. 

(source)

In the Christian church calendar, Advent is the “season” when we get ready for Christmas. In most Christian traditions, Advent has a dual meaning: we remember the first Christmas when Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the three kings awaited and rejoiced at the birth of Christ, while we also await and prepare for Jesus’ promised return.

Every year, I feel like Christmas comes earlier and earlier. I am never ready for the holiday season to start, and I usually put off most of my shopping and decorating until mid-December. Maybe it’s because we have so many family birthdays in November and December, and I’m not in the mood to celebrate Christmas until we have finished the last piece of birthday cake, or maybe it’s because I need to catch my breath after Thanksgiving before I add more to my “to do” list.

(Our Christmas tree, which most certainly is not up yet!)

But, Christmas is coming, and I will do all the shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking and wassailing it takes to make my home merry and bright. (Well, not wassailing, but I will break out the Christmas CDs). I also will  get ready to celebrate the birth of Christ. I will make an extra effort to go to church, say Advent prayers, and try to treat others with kindness and generosity that reflect God’s love for us all.

I’m sure I won’t get everything done that I’d like to do, and I’m sure that I won’t always be cheerful and nice, but Christmas will come, and the wonder and joy of that Holy Night will outshine any of my shortcomings.

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Prayer for the first week of Advent:
The light of God lead us and make us unafraid.
The power of God protect us and make us strong.
The joy of God heal us and make us happy.
The grace of God bless us and keep us loving.
Now and evermore.
Amen

Have you started to get ready for Christmas yet?

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Three Things Thursday (The Cranberry Edition)

I love my mom’s cranberry sauce. She uses fresh berries, lots of orange zest, and whole cinnamon sticks in her recipe. It really is good enough to eat with a spoon, but I usually restrain myself, and opt for one of these ways to use up the leftovers instead:

Cranberries on my whole grain Kashi® waffle.

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Cranberries on my peanut butter toast.

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Cranberries in my plain Chobani® yogurt.

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What is your favorite Thanksgiving leftover?

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