The Deacon's Bench

We come like the magi,
as wise and as foolish men and women to kneel before the Christ child.
We bring our regrets from the past year,
our shame, our guilt,
acknowledging our failures and ready to begin afresh.

Touch us with your hand of forgiveness.
Help us also to forgive ourselves.

We come like the shepherds,
from out on the rough hills of life,
bringing our memories
of danger, of suffering, of grief,
bearing our own hurts
and carrying the pain of those around us,
like lost lambs in our arms.

Sing to us your peace.
Shine on us with the glow of your gentle comfort.

We come like Mary and Joseph,
excited by new life,
promises of hope,
joys remembered from the past year, progress made,
achievements that light up our year.

Glory to God in the highest!
Take us on to Jerusalem!

We come also like Mary and Joseph
and the baby, fleeing from Herod,
at one with all who seek asylum
and languish too long in detention centres,
and with those who have not escaped
but wait for liberation.

We open our hearts to make room for all whom you love
Move us and all who have power to move mountains.

We come like the baby wrapped in cloth
and laid in an animals’ feeding trough,
looking at the faces of children everywhere
who suffer the effects of poverty and malnourishment,
and remembering those who still suffer
the impact of natural disasters
such as earthquakes, tsunamis
and failed crops.

Speak to us through the cries of the baby Jesus and the cries of all children.
Feed us with the good news of his gospel of love.

And now we must go to our Nazareth,
our Galilee, our Jerusalem, our New Year.
You will announce good news to the poor
and we want to be there.
You will reach out to the marginalised
and we want to be there.
You will meet us in deep communion,
in brokenness and life poured out
and we want to be there.

We will stand by your cross
and share your risen life.
We greet you with the palms of peace:

Hosanna in the highest!
Welcome to our Jerusalem!
Welcome to our New Year!


— by William Loader

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