Dear God, I can’t pray to you. It wouldn’t be right.  You listen to the prayers of your loyal people. Those whom you love. Those who listen to you. You want me to be good, you wanted me to act like your child, and I haven’t. You want me to honor you in thought words and deed, but my faith is not strong enough. You want me to love you above all things. I don’t. I don’t want to. And I’m not interested in making a change anytime soon. So I understand, there is no reason why you should listen to me now.

The 17th chapter of John’s Gospel has been given the unofficial title of the High Priestly Prayer. The whole chapter contains the words of an intimate prayer between the Son of God and our Heavenly Father. A prayer that happens on the night in which he was betrayed, the very night he knows that his disciples will all abandon him, they will be scattered and afraid as he begins the horrible trials of suffering and betrayal that culminate in his crucifixion on that fateful Friday afternoon.

Last week, Christians around the world celebrated the birth of Jesus. Born in a humble place, to a young maiden and a carpenter, the promised Messiah became flesh to live among us. Over 2,000 years later, the world continues to rejoice every year as the Church recalls what happened that day in the town of Bethlehem. A glorious occasion, Christmas Day is surpassed only by the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

By Paul Koch

My arrival at her home was announced long before I rang the doorbell. Two little dogs proclaimed the approach a visitor by the time I started down the driveway. I was going to visit a dear old member of my congregation. I had been to her home many times before, and each time began the same way: with the hushing of yapping dogs and clearing off a place to sit.