Here is a prayer read by Archbishop Phillip Aspinall at our group devotions in Jerusalem this morning (10 Dec 2007) in preparation for the journey to Bethlehem:
Lord Jesus Christ,
Today we share your tears for the cities of the world;
Still we have not loved the things that make for peace.
We weep for the divided cities:
Where brother fights with brother,
Where anger feeds on hatred,
Where prejudice blinds the eyes of compassion,
And even religion divides,
Where children are taught to hate,
And old men relish ancient wrongs.
We weep for the cities of oppression:
Where iron law imprisons freedom,
Where thought is curbed and conscience is stifled,
Where the questioning spirit is called a traitor,
Where art and civilising truth grow barren,
And each must think in manner as his neighbour.
We weep for the cities of poverty:
Where children live, but die too soon,
Where eager hands can find no work,
Where hunger rules and aid is short,
Where mothers clutch uncomprehending young,
And where the little we could do, we fail to do.
We weep for our cities and for ourselves;
We have not learned the things that make for peace.
Tears to love
And love to work.
Turn work to justice
And all that makes for peace.