Let us prepare to pray as we listen to today’s Prayers of the People. On this, the first Sunday of Advent, we reflect on Hope. We want to contemplate the meaning of hope in the context of our lives. Julie Neraas talks about the difference between optimism and hope. As someone who lives with chronic illness, she has learned that while optimism can offer necessary energy boosts at critical moments, it is hope that sustains in the longer run. For within hope there is the possibility also to acknowledge despair. We may think about the deep meaning of hope rooted in the reality of everyday life, with all its joys, and with its pain, uncertainty, horror and hurt. “No understanding of hope is honest unless it deals with the absence of hope and those seasons when nothing comforts or reassures.” “Hope is an essence that goes to the core of our common humanity; while optimism is an attitude.” Think about what you will hope for today and for the days ahead.
So, when you hear the words, “God of Hope,” please respond with “Hear our Prayers.”
Compassionate God, we join with others as we pray for Our Bienestar partners involved in the Nelson United Church outreach project in Guatemala, our brothers & sisters at Nyanyadzi Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Peacemakers and Peacekeepers, Health care workers, Teachers, Engineers and the many who serve throughout the world through many organizations, and LGBTQ+ people who are persecuted in many countries.
In our Pacific Mountain Regional Prayer Cycle we pray for Mt. Shannon UC in Chilliwack, BC Naramata Community Church in Naramata, BC, North Lonsdale UC in North Vancouver, BC and Nelson UC in Nelson, BC. In our World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, we pray for the peoples of Myanmar and Thailand. Today, we especially voice our heartfelt concerns for all those named in our Prayer List. In the silence now we think of the prayers for those closest to us, who we mention now or hold silently in our hearts… …God of Hope… “Hear our Prayers.”
God of Hope, On this World AIDS Day, help us to extend care and support to those who live with HIV and AIDS. May we affirm that all people are loved by You, welcomed by You and valued by You. Bless those who work to treat, support and accompany people living with HIV and AIDS; those who labour to ensure their needs are not overlooked; and those who speak out to challenge prejudice and discrimination. God of Hope… “Hear our Prayers.”
And the people say… “Amen!”