Have you noticed that each Prayer of the Day during Advent begins with the words, "Stir up"?
- 1 Advent: "Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come . . ."
- 2 Advent: "Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way . . ."
- 3 Advent: "Stir up the wills of all who look to you, Lord God, and strengthen our faith . . ."
- 4 Advent: "Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come . . ."
Each time I offer these prayers, I imagine God with a mammoth wooden spoon, stirring things up in a huge cauldron (perhaps that cauldron is "the deep" from Genesis 1?). In all the church year the words "stir up" appear only in the prayers of Advent. Why, there is no stirring up in any other time of the church year, not even Pentecost! But there’s lots of stirring up in Advent! Why is that? What is it about Advent and stirring? Perhaps there’s a connection between Advent prayers and baking Christmas cookies . . .
We also ask God to do some stirring in the Affirmation of Baptism liturgy (pg 236, ELW pew edition):
Stir up in _____ the gift of your Holy Spirit . . .
Father in heaven, for Jesus’ sake stir up in _____ the gift of your Holy Spirit . . .
"Stir up" also appears in a prayer for lay professional leaders, though in this prayer we ask that the work of lay leaders might "stir up each of us to a life of fruitful service" (pg 74, ELW pew edition). God is not doing any stirring in this instance. Apron off.
"Stir up" doesn’t move me – doesn’t stir me, so to speak. I find it almost hokey. Can anybody give me some background on this lingo? Perhaps I just need to see this recipe language in a new light to appreciate it better.