Wednesday, December 21, 2022


     We're almost to the end of Advent, the season of waiting.... Waiting for the Incarnation, for the coming of infinite God into intimate communion with our bounded humanity. 

    It's just got me thinking about waiting in prayer, in relationship with God. Too often, I think, we approach prayer as if it were an incantation: if I ask, if I recite the formula, I will receive; if I say "please," God will say "yes"; if I'm a good little boy or girl, God will reward me with good things. And if it doesn't work (as it doesn't), then that's proof that God is not real.

    But really, that's almost backwards. It's as if prayer were not asking but commanding. It's as if I, not God, were the one with the power. It's as if I could earn blessings (as if Jesus didn't hang with the sinners by preference). As if, if I could just get it right..... 

    But God is not my servant, and I am not God's servant. There is nothing I could possibly do to serve God, who is the ground of all being and needs nothing from me. And it's even more ludicrous to think that I could command God's service, by saying the "right" words or doing the "right" things. 

    God is infinitely more than I am; and God is also intimately involved with me. God loves me (and you, and them, and the sparrows and the dust mites and the asteroids and all creation).

    Prayer, for me, is an opening up of myself to God. Prayer is surrender to something infinitely greater than myself, and intimately concerned with me, all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful. Prayer, for me, is letting go of desperately trying to hold it all together, in grateful trust that One bigger and wiser and fuller than I will keep me safe and carry me forward to a place and state that I couldn't even have imagined. 

    In God's time, though. In God's way. That's what surrender is all about: waiting. I don't get to be in control. Thank God, since being always in control is stressful and exhausting. And also, letting go of control is nerve-wrackingly vulnerable. But I am safe with God, safer by far than I am when trying to run my life all by myself. 

    God is like the sunshine and the rain to me, and everything I need to thrive. Including, sometimes, pruning, and including all the seasons, yes, winter, too, and all the vicissitudes of life that I would pray to be spared. But if instead of asking for what I want, I simply surrender to the God who loves me, then I can grow through pain into unimagined flourishing.

    I'm going to resist the temptation to draw all the parallels into human relationships and psychology and personal growth.... Everything is related to everything else, yes. But God is God, and just for a minute, in these last few days of Advent, I'm going to leave this space for God alone. To make space in myself, in my life, in my consciousness, for the God who has called me into the pleasurable anticipation of communion with Love Itself. 

    Peace to you all, and love, and joy. Amen.

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