Advent Prayer #4: A Song of Love

This fourth week of Advent, the procession of longing reaches a crescendo in love. The whole season of Advent is characterized by hope, by waiting, by longing. We remember Israel’s longing for the LORD’s anointed who was to be many things to many people. We remember Mary’s long wait as a vulnerable baby slowly grew in the safety of her womb. We remember the history of saints through millennia of hoping for the long awaited appearance of Jesus to put the world to rights, and we continue to form that history as we hope.

We do our best to make peace, to seek it and be it as the body through which the mind of Christ works in the world, the body animated by a divine and holy Spirit. We find our joy in faithfulness to that call and in the presence of our love, Jesus, in the mystery of the now and the not yet.

What makes all these things worthwhile, what gives them their power, their source, their focus, is love. The love we receive from the God who is. The love we share with our divine Brother and with each other. The love we give in concert with the spirit who reconciles all things to God in Christ.

This week, I reflected on chapters 7 and 8 of Song of Songs, which shouted out the virtue and volatility of love. It reminded of the delicacy needed in handling even the greatest of goods, the imperative of knowing when the time is ripe, for Love is as strong as death, and it will endure even after that last enemy has been conquered.

Join me in praying in love and for love and to Love as we yet await the appearance of our Lover.

advent-4

Lord Jesus, how beautiful you are, Christ, Messiah, the Lord’s Anointed. As you have created us with bodies and souls wonderfully made, as a master craftsman, we admire you and your works.

Your beauty entices us and draws us ever closer to you, more intimate in knowledge of you. May we delight in the pleasure of loving you and take hold of you, never to let go.

For love is as strong as death;
ardent love is as unrelenting as Sheol.
Love’s flames are fiery flames—
the fiercest of all.

We belong to you, Lord of love, and your desire is for us.

Like lovers alone together in a field, marveling at the beauty of the world you created and the love they share, we marvel at our experience of you and your good gifts. We give you our love and all the treasured possessions of our hearts. We offer them to you in love.

We know you in part and long for the day of your appearing when we will see you clearly. The joy of our desire for you is painful only in its incompleteness.

May we become ever wiser in recognizing the appropriate time and grow both our patience and decisive action, each in their appointed time.

For love is as strong as death;
ardent love is as unrelenting as Sheol.
Love’s flames are fiery flames—
the fiercest of all.

Lord, guide us into wisdom, and stamp it as a seal on our desires and our choices. Set our hearts on fire with your love, which cannot be extinguished nor swept away. It is worth more than any thing or treasure offered from lesser sources.

Help us to recognize the ripeness of the times before us, acting in synchrony with your spirit and seeing with divine eyes. May we slow down when it is needed and move forward when hope, joy, and peace may be found.

May we be faithful with the charge you have entrusted to us. May we guard what you care for, and care for the fruit of your garden. We care for each other and listen for your voice; let us hear you.

For love is as strong as death;
ardent love is as unrelenting as Sheol.
Love’s flames are fiery flames—
the fiercest of all.

Hurry to us, our Love. Come, Lord Jesus.

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