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The Rev. Dr. Debra Samuelson The Rev. Dr. Debra Samuelson

The Rev. Dr. Debra Samuelson is the senior pastor of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Minneapolis, MN.

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Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Minneapolis, MN


Wordless Prayer

December 22, 2010

When we moved this past summer, a friend of mine sent me a beautiful song, the words to which I have printed here.  It is a song we all sing in our lives at one time or another, especially, for many, this time of year.  It is a song of lament and a song of trust.

"My Wordless Prayer"   by Craig Courtney

My words lie still and lifeless as dust upon the sand,
I can no longer voice one request or one demand,
My cup of tears is empty, I can no longer cry,
My lips have fallen silent, my prayer is but a sigh.
Spirit come and rest Your ear upon my heart,
O come and hear my wordless prayer,
my silent plea and take them far away from me.
Take them from this heart of mine to the Father's heart divine,
Speak in tones unknown to man that God may hear and understand.
My voice is weak from calling to You both night and day.
How long will You be silent? Why do You turn away?
Spirit, come and rest Your ear upon my heart;
Come and hear my wordless prayer,
my silent plea and take them far away from me.
Take them from this heart of mine to the Father's heart divine.
Speak in tones unknown to man that God may hear and understand.

When I have been the singer of "My Wordless Prayer" it is the memory of what God has done in the past that reminds me of a future - where God will also be faithful, even when I cannot always see that promise from my vantage point.

Our Advent wreath this year at Good Shepherd has helped many to remember God's faithfulness in the midst of their own "Wordless Prayer".  The first week saw an old dead tree stump with a wreath of twisted and dried out twigs...the barrenness of the peoples' lives so long ago, waiting for the Messiah...the barrenness of our own lives, waiting...  The second week there were signs of living ("a shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse" Isaiah 11:1)  Just little signs of green and growth.  That's all there are sometimes - just little tiny signs of living, barely visible.  By the third week there were flowers in bloom, "The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus  it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing."  And by the fourth week the wreath was teaming with life.

That is the promise. That is our hope. When "My Wordless Prayer" is our prayer, the promise of the desert bursting forth in blossom is a hopeful promise.  Seeing that transformation in the Advent wreath each week has carried many through this difficult time, with the visual reminder of the promise of new life.

This is our Advent hope - that the deserts and wastelands in our lives are not the end of the story, though they may seem to be.  God, and the promise of new life, always has the last word.   God does hear our wordless prayer and comes to us with healing and the promise of the resurrection - comes to us as we are and not we wish we were.  God bless you and strengthen you through the unconditional promise of the new life we know in the Christ child.


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