Monday, April 23, 2018
St. Francis Prayer ~ take seven
As we have turned and tuned our lives toward this prayer over the last few weeks, we have sought to be open to the Presence of One who is there in all times and places. One who invites us to be part of the great symphony being composed and conducted by God. One who leaves us from hate, injury, doubt, despair, and darkness, into a new reality. Not that everything is amazingly awesome in the new reality (or what we call in the Lord's Prayer, "God's Kingdom). We know all too well that the part St. Francis asks us to turn from is still part of what is around us and even within us.
Which is to suggest there is light and darkness...sadness and joy in this very moment. It is not either/or it is always both/and. Too often we eschew the prayer practice of crying. Too often we think Christianity is only about being "Shiny Happy People" all the time. That if we are jazzed up on Jesus juice life becomes amazing. Preachers can try to sell us on this kind of consumer Christianity or what is sometimes called, "Prosperity Gospel". That is, God wants you to be rich and happy. I believe that God wants us to be whole and holy reflecting God's imprint upon our life. That means sometimes there is sadness.
After all, there is too much brokenness in the world. We need to grieve. There are too many acts of violence and aggression and pain...to say nothing about cancer and disease and car accidents. Life is messy. We cannot just think our way out of that truth. But we also don't need to let that be the only voice in our lives. Just know I have returned from a walk outside. I felt the rush of refreshing wind against the strong sun. I saw the puffy clouds sailing across the blue sky like a boat on an ocean. I saw green grass swaying and palm trees waving and God's good creation.
Yet, I also know that God's creation is groaning under the weight of human consumption. There is sadness and we need to live a different way. And then we see someone throw trash out the window or a corporation polluting and wonder if our small part (like driving an energy efficient car or being a vegetarian is really going to make a difference?) This is the human condition, to hold these two ideas in creative tension.
I pray you will reflect on places of sadness and grieve.
I pray you will notice the beauty of God's presence and rejoice.
I pray through both you will sense more than a trace of God's grace.