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Thinking Out Loud

Send Us an Angel: A Reading for Advent

by Michael Jinkins | Dec 23, 2016

This Advent our blogs all point toward the promise of incarnation. Each is a reading from a well-known Christian writer.

Send us an angelThe Iona Community has become one of the most significant ecumenical and interfaith centers for justice and peace in the world. Two generations ago, however, it was just the dream of a single person, the Very Reverend George MacLeod.
 
George MacLeod was a gifted and complex person. A decorated hero of the First World War, he became a dedicated pacifist; the descendant of a distinguished family that produced five moderators of the Church of Scotland, he was a life peer (Lord MacLeod of Fuinary) and bona fide representative of the British establishment. He was also a dedicated socialist; a leader in one of the Kirk's most successful evangelism efforts following World War II, he became the Kirk's most persistent seeker of justice. MacLeod and a faithful band of craftsmen and students rebuilt the ruined Abbey of Iona and brought the Iona Community into existence. He was a brilliant preacher, a popular writer (whose classic Only One Way Left remains a prophetic and lyrical call to the gospel) and a theologically astute liturgist.
 
Our reading today is an excerpt from "Send Us an Angel," a prayer offered by MacLeod and reprinted in The Whole Earth Shall Cry Glory: Iona Prayers by Rev. George MacLeod [(Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1985), pp. 22-23.]
 
"Lord God: some of us are a little like the Shepherds;
just carrying on with our jobs ... despite the
turbulence in the world scene.
Give us a message ... send us an angel
that will start us seeking a new way of life.
 
"Lord God: others of us are like the Wise Men from the east;
we can see the need of some power to come
and to give us direction:
but we don't know in which direction to go.
Give us the wisdom to see that it is not in physical power
that our salvation lies,
but in love and humility.
 
"Lord God: a few of us are like Herod;
we don't want a new power to enter the world,
in case it might threaten our own power.
Give us the humility to be ready
for a quite new form of power:
to fit the dangerous age in which we live: ...
 
"We ask You to make us expectant, ...
We ask You to make us seekers,
rather than know-it-alls.
 
"We ask You for grace
so that we are ready to receive. ...
We ask You for faith ...
really to believe;
that, in this dark day of our land, we can accept the gift of Christmas:
and bring our wealth as a land to serve the Christ;
to bring our incense to worship Him:
and our myrrh, the symbol of burial,
to be ready to die for Him.
 
"Thus we shall be able
to receive the gift of love and light and life,
when Christmas Day shall dawn."

Amen.

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