Read Luke 2. Commentary – Luke 2 is full of many things. What strikes me is that the theme of chapter two centers around authority. Time is measured based on who is in charge – Emperors and governors and kings. Angels – God’s messengers – announce the birth with explicitly royal overtones. The religious laws are followed in the Temple with priestly authorities. And 12 year old Jesus is found conversing with the temple teachers. Authority permeates this chapter. And yet, it is subversive. A new way of being, a new order in the world is being established. A new kingdom is being unleashed, with new values and most importantly – new authority and authorities. God encounters the systems that exist and declares that things are changing, the people are being set free.
Let us pray. King of Kings and Lord of Lords, when you come, the systems that we establish are rattled. They are shaken to their core. There is no earthly authority that can stand up to you. No empire, no nation, no religious institution. We create these things in order to make order. Yet, so often it is an unjust order that oppresses some or many. We look forward to the fulfillment of your kingdom when your justice will reign supreme.
On this day, my prayer is for someone in a position of power. Why do power, beliefs, ideas, and policies divide people? Why am I so willing to scapegoat this person? Cleanse the thoughts of my heart. Help me to pray for this person in a way that will bring justice and well-being to all who are under this person’s care and authority. Soften my heart towards this person and give me the courage to speak up for those whose voice are silenced by injustice in such a way as to see how this person is also oppressed by the unjust systems around them. Lord Jesus, set us all free from the bondage of sin, the bondage of unjust systems, the bondage of oppression. Set us all free – especially the person I am praying for and myself. Amen.