Vindicate me, Lord my God, according to your righteousness; and let not my enemies rejoice over me. Rescue me from their destruction, my precious life from the lions. Say to my soul: “I am your salvation.”
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we place our hope in you. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise befits the upright.
When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. I acknowledged my sin to you. I have not hidden my transgression. And you forgave the discord of my sin.
In you, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed. Bow down your ear to me, deliver me speedily; be my Rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me.
O Good One, you know my poverty and foolishness, my blindness and uselessness, but my soul’s suffering is also before you. Heal me from every hidden wound. Keep me from every impulse unpleasing in your sight and hurtful to my neighbor.
Eternal King! By the power of your blessing may all that I say and do today be for your glory-with a pure spirit, humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage, wisdom and prayer.
In the Orthodox Church the Nativity Fast, known in the West as Advent, begins on November 15. Modeled after Great Lent, this is a 40-day fast in preparation for Christmas, the feast of our Lord’s birth. But there is another theme to this season as well. We not only prepare to celebrate the feast of Christ’s first coming into the word. We also use this time to reflect on our readiness to meet him at his second coming.
We continue a study of the Gospel of Luke 8. The second half of this chapter offers a string of miracles, one after the other, revealing Jesus divine power and glory.
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all people, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (I Timothy 2:1-2)
Many are familiar with St. Paul’s advice to the young bishop Timothy, and through him to all believers, concerning how Christians should regard civil authorities. Even the most rudimentary knowledge of Church history — or more broadly of world history — will reveal the significance of Paul’s words. St. Paul is exhorting believers to offer prayers and the “giving of thanks,” literally the Eucharist, for a regime that was intentionally and mercilessly targeting Christians for extinction.
The implication of these words is clear. We pray for our civil leaders, even remembering them in our most solemn celebration, the Liturgy, regardless of whether they like us or not. We can extrapolate from the Apostle’s words that, in a democracy, we should pray for our civil leaders whether we voted for them or not, whether they are from the party we support or not.
That’s the first half of the above passage. Let’s also pay attention to the second half. We pray for our civil authorities for a specific purpose: “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” Our prayer is that, in the administration of their duties, our civil leaders create an environment that is conducive to believers engaging in the daily task of being our Lord’s disciples. Again, though, we can do some extrapolating here.
If we are asking God to move the hearts of our civil authorities in ways that will allow us to live peaceful, godly lives, that means that we are identifying peaceful, godly lives as a priority. Regardless of who wins this election, may we always stay prayerful and peaceful, godly and reverent, including (and maybe these days especially) in our reaction to the winners and our response to the losers.