Lord as we consider your coming to the Temple in the vulnerability of a fragile child, open our eyes again the power of your vulnerability in our world today.
We think of Simeon and Anna, awaiting a liberator to free their nation – and seeing no powerful tyrant, no war mongering superhero – but see nevertheless in the fragile child the true nature of your world-changing, life-changing power. And we pray for discernment amongst those who claim to be your people. Forgive us for our blundering inability to recognise the true nature of your power.
Forgive us when see growing ecological calamity, and entrust the stewardship of your creation to powerful people whilst offering only token gestures of ecological greenwash to clear our oily conscience. Show us what it means to encounter you in your vulnerability, and to immerse ourselves in that vulnerability and discover the joy of making a difference.
Forgive us when we see growing economic injustice, and are happy to tolerate it because we live on the right side of the poverty line. Show us again what it means to encounter you, in the hands of an impoverished family, whose penniless character has a greater impact on our world than any great leader. Help us to encounter you in your economic vulnerability, to join you there, and to learn what it means to pray properly for daily bread.
Forgive us when we are happy to inherit our interpretive filters from cultural media with their own story to tell and their own interests to defend. Show us what it means to discern, and to find our place within the narrative of what you are doing in the world – so that we might learn again what vulnerability, and power, and practical, political, ecological and economic salvation really are.
Forgive us, because we fear that had we been in the Temple yearning for a better world, we probably would have recognised the pathetic, feeble, helpless baby as our means of salvation.
So open our eyes, we pray, that we might immerse ourselves in the hunger for liberation – and that we might recognise the radically alternative power dynamic with which you confront our world.
By your power, establish the practical peace witnessed by the prophet.
By your grace, reveal to us the ludicrous wisdom of trusting in the pathetic Christ he held.
By your Spirit, may we become a means by which our prayers for the world find an answer.