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Light in the Darkness Fasting and Prayer – Week One

December 4, 2017

This Sunday, we began our annual Light in the Darkness season. This is our name for the historical practice of Advent, when our days get darker just as we are preparing for Christmas. It’s an opportunity to come to terms with the days of declining sunlight and the impending winter, as well as our own limits and struggles and hunger and need. At the same time, it’s a season to celebrate the light of Jesus with us and to hope for more of Jesus, and more light and joy and life and peace in our present and our future.

This past Sunday, at Reservoir, we listened to the Christmas story told in five parts. An actor in our community, Holly Schaff, told us the story of the prophets, the holy family, the shepherds, the magi, and the light of Christ, using the Godly Play curriculum we use in our kids’ church programming. We also considered what it means for us to find ourselves in this story, to stop and pay attention, to be weary and to wait, to find less fear and more joy, and to hope.

One way that followers of Jesus over the centuries have waited and hoped during this season has been through fasting and prayer. Consider taking one day, or even one meal, a week from now through Christmas – it’s just three weeks! – to skip your food and to reflect and pray instead. It’s a way of acknowledging our hunger and need for God and for letting our bodies and minds stop and pay attention.

Whether you fast or not, here’s a way you can pray for Reservoir Church and for your world this week.

For our church: This January, Lydia Shiu will join us as a new pastor – helping new people integrate into the life of the church as members, community organizing, coming alongside people in our community with conversation and love and prayer, and doing all the other things a pastor does. She and her new husband Eugene are moving across the country to join us, after a fall of travels in East Asia and for Eugene, a temporary work assignment in Singapore. Pray for God’s peace and help for them in their move and in their acclimation to a new city, in the middle of a Boston winter! Pray for great housing, great friends, a great welcome from Reservoir, and for years of fruitful ministry in our city for Lydia.

For our world: Our city and cities throughout the world are full of young adults asking powerful existential questions about meaning and mattering and relationships in their lives. And many are finding that their family systems and careers and religious traditions aren’t addressing these questions as powerfully as sometimes other generations felt they did. Pray for spiritual homes, for pastoral care and guidance, and for courage and love and wisdom for our current and future young adults as they make their way in the world.

“For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6