Friday, December 11, 2009

OPEN OUR EYES: Advent Prayer from the Iona Community

The Isle of Iona is a small island off the west coast of Scotland, where in 563 Columba founded a Celtic monastery that was very influential in its own times. In the middle ages it was the site of a Benedictine abbey and over the centuries has attracted many thousands of people on their own pilgrim journeys.

The Iona Community, founded in 1938 by the Rev George MacLeod, then a parish minister in Glasgow, is an ecumenical Christian community that is committed to seeking new ways of living the Gospel in today's world. Initially this purpose was expressed through the rebuilding of the monastic quarters of the mediaeval abbey on Iona and pursued in mission and ministry throughout Scotland and beyond. Today the Iona Community has almost 250 Members, mostly in Britain, who live under a common Rule and seek to relate the experiences and insights of Celtic spirituality to modern life.

This Advent Prayer is from Cloth for the Cradle by the Iona Community Wild Goose Worship Group.

Open our eyes, Lord,
especially if they are half shut
because we are tired of looking,
or half open
because we fear we see too much,
or bleared with tears
because yesterday and today and tomorrow
are filled with the same pain,
or contracted,
because we only look at what we want to see.

Open our eyes, Lord,
to gently scan the life we lead,
the home we have,
the world we inhabit,
and so to find,
among the gremlins and the greyness,
signs of hope we can fasten on and encourage.

Give us, whose eyes are dimmed by familiarity,
a bigger vision of what you can do
even with hopeless cases and lost causes
and people of limited ability.

Show us the world as in your sight,
riddled by debt, deceit and disbelief
yet also
shot through with possibility
for recovery, renewal, redemption,

And lest we fail to distinguish vision from fantasy,
today, tomorrow, this week,
open our eyes to one person or one place,
where we - being even for a moment prophetic -
might identify and wean a potential in the waiting.

And with all this,
open our eyes, in yearning, for Jesus.

On the mountains,
in the cities,
through the corridors of power
and streets of despair
to help, to heal,
to confront, to convert,
O come, O come, Immanuel.


Eleanor Stoneham said...

So glad to have found this site - through searching for "Open our eyes..." It was said at our Advent Service yesterday and I thought it was so beautiful I had to find it and copy it for myself - thankyou. One day I very much hope to come to the Iona Community.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your writings and thoughts. I heard this prayer today in our Lutheran church in Minnesota. I was happy to visit Iona one day last Spring, a wonderful unusually sunny day. I'm glad this branch of Christian faith is still strong!

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