Posted by: Keith Clark | December 18, 2012

Newborn Beginning . . . after Caesar

Here is an Advent prayer from Walter Brueggemann’s  Prayers for a Privileged People.

The Christ Child is about to be born,

the one promised by the angel.

Mary’s “fullness of time” has arrived.

Except that the birth is scheduled

according to the emperor:

A decree went out that all should be numbered.

Caesar decreed a census, everyone counted;

Caesar intended to have up-to-date data for the tax rolls;

Caesar intended to have current lists of draft eligibility;

Caesar intended taxes to support armies,

because the emperor, in whatever era,

is always about money and power,

about power and force,

about force and control,

and eventually violence.

And while we wait for the Christ Child,

we are enthralled by the things of Caesar–

money . . . power . . . control,

and all the well-being that comes from

such control, even if it requires a little violence.

But in the midst of the decree

will come this long-expected Jesus,

innocent, vulnerable,

full of grace and truth,

grace and not power,

truth and not money,

mercy and not control.

We also dwell in the land of Caesar;

we pray for the gift of your spirit,

that we may loosen our grip on the things of Caesar,

that we may turn our eyes toward the baby,

our ears toward the newness,

our hearts toward the gentleness,

our power and money and control

toward your new governance.

We crave the newness.

And while the decree of the emperor

rings in our ears with such authority,

give us newness that we may start again

at the beginning,

that the innocence of the baby may

intrude upon our ambiguity,

that the vulnerability of the child may

veto our lust for control,

that we may be filled with wonder

and so less of anxiety,

in the blessed name of the baby we pray.


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