Audio for today's Pause for Prayer:
In the last seven days of Advent the Church prays with seven "titles" of the Lord in anticipation of celebrating his birth at Christmas. During this week before Christmas my Pause for Prayer will reflect each day on one of these titles, the first of which is Wisdom and the second, Adonai and the third, today, Root of Jesse.
WAIT! What's the ROOT of JESSE? The contemporary interest in genealogy and tracing family trees was very much alive in culture of ancient Israel. Isaiah wrote: “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (11:1), and "On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.” (11:10). Remember, too, that Jesse was the father of King David and so the prophet Micah wrote that the Messiah would be "of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem" (Micah 5:1).
SO... JESUS is the FLOWER that buds and BLOSSOMS from the SHOOT that SPROUTED from the ROOT of JESSE!
OK - now, let's pause for prayer...
O Root of Jesse
Centuries after Jesse, Lord,
I find my place on your family tree:
in baptism I became your kin,
born in your lineage,
in the household of faith...
Lead me to understand, to love my roots
in your family, Lord,
stretching back through millennia
to Abraham and Sarah...
I belong to your royal household, Lord:
make me a faithful descendant,
a worthy recipient of all that I am heir to...
From the branches of my life, Lord,
let your love bud again
and your justice bloom:
my words and deeds a presence
flowering in my own life...
Even in the dry times, Lord,
let the shoot of your justice sprout forth
in my deeds and desires...
Let the fragrance of your grace be strong
and aromatic: your presence powerful
in all I say and do...
Sprout anew and bud forth beauty
in this holy Advent time and in every season:
blossom among us
in the gift of your peace this Christmas
and through the new year just ahead...
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