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Sarah, Seeking

Thoughts and Prayers and Poetry

Blue Christmas: Fear and Anger

This was our third year hosting a Blue Christmas service - a worship where we provide space for the difficult emotions of the holiday seasons. Because I think we could all use the opportunity to name the places where we are struggling, this week I'm going to post the reflections and prayers I wrote for the service we had on Sunday December 20th. This is part 2.


Making Space for Fear and Anger

Scripture Luke 1:8-13, 26-31, 2:8-11


'Tis the season to remember the angels' refrain.

"Do not be afraid"

To Zechariah praying in the temple.

"Do not be afraid"

To Mary, upon the sudden appearance of a heavenly angel

"Do not be afraid"

To Joseph upon the news of Mary's pregnancy.

"Do not be afraid."

To the shepherds working in a field

"Do not be afraid"


Each a reminder that the sudden appearance of something so surprising, something so unexpected - the natural reaction is fear.


We carry with us not just grief, not just sorrow and pain.

We carry with us fear. Fear that is not easily soothed by words.

Fear over what has been, what is, and what will be.

Fear justified in a time of invisible and visible dangers.


Fear that so easily turns to anger.

Anger over what we cannot control.

Anger at people and communities with whom we disagree

Grief turned outward

a release valve when all feels lost.


In a season where we proclaim hope, peace, joy and love,

we also remember the fear of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds

We remember the anger of King Herod who feared a child

and ordered the massacre of the innocents to protect his power.


We remember Jesus experienced these human emotions too.

Anger at the abuse of power,

at those who distorted God's commandments for their own gain

Fear at what was to come as he prayed in the garden.


So we go to God in prayer, trusting God

to hear our fears and acknowledge our anger.


Let us pray.


God of Zechariah, Joseph, and Mary,

God of all who fear and all who are angry,


It is hard to hear “Do not be afraid”

when the world is full of dangers and threats.

When we worry for ourselves, for our loved ones, for our community

for our country, our world.


It is hard to make room for joy

when we are angry at what has been,

when we are fearful of what is and what will be.


Help us release, even for a moment,

the annoyances, the wrath, the rage

that hold our bodies and our minds rigid.

Whether it is righteous or unrighteous,

borne of deep pain and injustice

or our desire to be right,

give us peace within ourselves.


Comfort our fears.

We have been vigilant for so long,

seeking control and certainty where there is none.

Whatever form our fears take,

Help us to trust in you and in the wisdom of others.


We give our fear and anger to you now that they may be transformed.

Hear now the cries of our hearts, our prayers spoken and unspoken.


Filter these fears and our anger through your truth

Guide us to sources of comfort and purpose.

May our anger fuel our work for justice instead of harm

May our fear lead us to compassion for one another.


In Jesus’ name we pray,

Amen


I invite you to leave the cries of your hearts in the comments so we can continue to pray for one another.

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