Stir up, O Lord, we beseech Thee, Thy power, and come, and with great might succor us, that by the help of Thy grace whatsoever is hindered by our sin may be speedily accomplished, through Thy mercy and satisfaction; Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
-- Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church
"Succor." Not a word we use very often these days. It means help, relief, or aid in times of difficulty or distress. It's an old-fashioned word used in many of the traditional prayers of the church but a word that has, regrettably, fallen out of usage. I say it is regrettable, because succor is exactly what we need from the Lord this season.
The angel Gabriel brought succor to Mary. "Do not be afraid," he said (Lk 1.30).
The angels brought succor to the shepherds. "Do not be afraid," he said, "for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people" (Lk 2.10 NKJV).
Far into the short, dark days of this advent season, with Christmas right around the corner, we pray for and receive succor from God, as evident in our Epistle lesson for this morning:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4.6-7 NKJV)
Rejoice, sisters and brothers! The mercy of God has shined upon us, bringing comfort and peace in the midst of chaos, fear, and anxiety. Amen!
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