Food for Thought-Pregame Prayer for the Carolina Panthers

Carolina_Panthers_Helmet

Gracious God, Jesus the Christ, Spirit of the Living Waters, Holy Mother of God, and all the Saints who’ve gone before us:

Pray for Us. We are saving you a seat on our bench in Atlanta this afternoon. The key to winning in life, as in football, is doing your will and loving the world with everything at our disposal. Gracious God, this means being the best we can be this afternoon. If we haven’t been doing this we aren’t winners. We’re pretending. Today is the day we stop pretending. Pray for us, our families, and those we meet on the field.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Food for Thought-It’s One Thing To Light the Advent Candles, It’s Another To Be A Light In Dark World

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Gracious God,

We light three Advent candles this morning. We are drawing nearer to our Advent destination. It is one thing to light candles, it is yet another to take that light into the world and become the light. May we step beyond the symbolism this morning. My prayer is that the lights of hope, joy, and peace leave this sanctuary in the lives of all who attend worship. May our encounter with the lights of hope, joy, and peace illuminate the reality of the incarnation in the corners of our lives where we are unwilling or unable to rejoice, pray, or sing.

In the Name of the One Who is To Come,

Amen

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-Prayer to the Comatose and Comfortable

Baptist flyer

Gracious God,

You confront us this week with the preaching of John the Baptizer. He preaches Advent liberation to the spiritually comatose and comfortable across the span of time. May his words make us feel awkward and uncomfortable and move us to a place of self-examination and action. May we be reminded by the forerunner’s message that Advent is not a jaunt through Bethlehem’s posh living rooms but a muddy crawl to an impromptu delivery room. May we be reminded that Advent isn’t about what we pick up, but what we can let go of, so we may come closer to the infant Jesus.

Amen

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-Foolish Waiting and Advent Waiting

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Gracious God,

All we seem to do is wait. Are you waiting with me in these lines?  We wait at the store, in parking lots, and everywhere we turn. Waiting seems to be the defining feature of Christmas. We grow so weary of waiting. There is foolish waiting and there is Advent waiting. Advent waiting is active, it speaks, and moves. Advent waiting isn’t satisfied by a wistful longing of the way things used to be or idealized versions of perfection. Advent waiting will settle for nothing less the grand imperfections of this moment; for now is the moment when the Kingdom of God bursts from our broken lives. Forgive us our foolish waiting. Forgive us for only seeing waiting as the way of the world. Wrench these moments from our lives as we long to embrace the active waiting of Advent.

In the Name of Christ Child,

Amen

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-The Predicament of Advent (Prayer for December 10th, 2015)

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Gracious God,

We want to make Advent a journey toward joy. Help us to remember, this time is not a static celebration of doing things because the calendar has turned the page to the designated month for parties and decorations. Forgive us for being controlled by schedules of our own well-planned design. We are part of a movement, an action, an embrace of something larger than our best traditions can ever hope to contain; the Kingdom of God. May we embrace the unexpected, unplanned, and unknown at the heart of Gabriel’s message to Mary, “Do Not Be Afraid”. May we join the Advent movement with joy, may our hearts be filled with hope, and may our ears listen with expectation to each person we encounter along the Advent path.

Amen

–Richard Bryant