Several years ago I spent some time on the Scottish Island of Iona, worshipping at the Abbey and taking time out for prayer and meditation. (Iona is the place where Christianity first came to the British Isles, thanks to St. Columba who worked in Scotland and Ireland in the 6th century. It is known as a “thin place” by Celtic Christians… one of those places on earth where the space between God and humanity seems very small, very “thin”.)
Since then I’ve kept up with the Iona Community through books, songs, worship resources and the like. And I often find that they touch something deep within my own soul, or speak of my faith journey in profound ways. Like this prayer, written by Rev. George F. MacLeod, the 1938 founder of this religious community, which seems so very appropriate for this last week in the season of Advent. The prayer is called “Send Us an Angel” and goes, in part, like this:
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…
We ask You to make us expectant, instead of planners:
We ask You to make us seekers, rather than know-alls.
We ask You for grace
So that we are ready to receive.
We ask You for the humility so that we are prepared to accept Your way of doing things.
We ask You for faith, and faith is a gift, really to believe…
Thus we shall be able to receive the gift of love and light and life,
when Christmas Day shall dawn. Amen.