The following prayers were written by Robert Revington for the WBB service on 29 November 2022. Some text derived from “Darkness Goodness” by Jacqueline Daley and “Cloth for the Cradle: Worship Resources and Readings for Advent, Christmas, & Epiphany.
Lord, who created the universe and humankind out of darkness; “light for the day; dark for the night,” be with us. We came from the darkness of the womb and to darkness we will go. Through darkness you helped the Hebrews escape Egypt; Through darkness you summoned Moses; Through darkness the Holy Family escaped Herod; Through darkness you allowed the slaves to escape on the Underground Railway. Our saviour was laid in a dark grave to bring salvation from our sins. Darkness brings liberty to the captives. (Prayers for those who are oppressed in body, spirit, heart and mind.) Darkness is not evil. Your people sin in daylight, as in the stories of Adam, Eve, Cain, David in the afternoon light. As Jesus was crucified in the morning light. The greatest sins are not always on the streets at night but in an office in the daylight, where the poor are neglected. We remember your servants Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and others whose Black lives shone light on White sin, enlightening the world to let freedom win and that black is not the twin of evil. (Prayers for leaders and people of influence to move the world toward God’s justice.) In darkness, love ignites, passion soars, and lovers unite. Prayer and meditation happen in closed-eyed darkness; the friendly darkness, where sleep also rescues us from tiredness. We bless you, Lord of light and dark; teach us to be still in your deep darkness. (A moment of stillness and silence.) Two thousand years ago, in the town of Bethlehem, when the world was dark, and the city was quiet, you came. And no one knew, except the few who believed. As the old song says, “It came upon a midnight clear” —a child born, a message of peace to all. Show us how hope rises in darkness as it did in Bethlehem, whisper to us gently in the dark, and remind us that you are there even when we do not see you. Amen.