O Adonai and leader of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the burning bush and you gave him the Law on Sinai. O come and save us with your outstretched arm.

This is a prayer made from a truly humble and trusting heart – one that knows its need of our heavenly Father to save us.

The theme of God’s outstretched arm to help His people is found frequently in the Scriptures and must surely touch us deeply. We read in Psalm 97 “His right hand and His holy arm have brought salvation”

There is something comforting in an arm outstretched towards us – we feel needed and loved which gives us an inner security.

In daily life, we often see a loving mother or father stretch out their arms to save their child from some danger or simply to swoop up the child to give it a hug.

When we return from a journey, after a long absence, what a joy it is to be welcomed at the airport or railway station by a loved one running to meet us with outstretched arms. It cannot be less with our Heavenly Father – He is always and everywhere stretching out His arms to welcome us and to save us. We have only to think of the parable in St Luke’s Gospel where the father runs with outstretched arms to meet his prodigal son. The Gospels are full of occasions where Jesus stretches out His arms to bring healing, life and salvation by His divine touch. How moving it is to meditate on His warm embrace of little children.

During this Advent season, as we prepare to celebrate our Saviour’s birth, we are surely filled anew with wonder at the depths of love that led our Father with that same outstretched arm, to send us His Only Begotten Son – this Son who some 30 years later died on the Cross with outstretched arms to save us and thus prove His great love for us.

Such unconditional love means God is summoning us forth with the loudest of calls, stirring up our hidden being, which cannot help leaping at the sound of His voice deep in our hearts, asking us to return love for love. We can only truly love another, if we are certain that we ourselves are loved. Our Heavenly Father re-assures us for He has told us “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you to Myself”.

How right it is then that each night we place ourselves trustfully into those outstretched arms of our Father as we sing at Night Prayer: “Into your hands O Lord, I commend my spirit”

During these last days of Advent as we pray “O Ruler of the House of Israel, come and save us with outstretched arm” let us have confidence that our prayer will be heard for ourselves and all those whom we carry in our hearts.