Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Easter Prayer for a Very Special Lady

"Lord, if you had been here, my church would not have died. And even now . . ."

I am praying a prayer today, a stubborn Easter prayer. A prayer both ancient and contemporary, local and universal. A prayer of confession and petition, tinged with remorse and regret, yet pulsing with restless hope and untapped power.

I pray to the One who can roll stones and move mountains, whose hands can straighten the twisted, bind up the broken, and open blind eyes to the light of day. 

"It's about your wife, Lord." Okay, I guess technically she's your fiance, your bride to be. What she really is, Lord, is a mess. Pardon my saying so, but have you taken a good look at your bride lately? Have you listened to her, the stuff she comes out with these days? Could there be a more shallow, self-centered, judgmental dame on God's green earth? I know they say opposites attract, but Lord, this is extreme. What do you see in her, anyway?

Your church, your bride, has forgotten her new name, lost her first love, and traded her mission for a mirror. She has become the world's ultimate consumer, basking in the blessing of God while abandoning the purposes of God in the world.

And yet, in her best moments, I can see something of what you must see in her. When she turns to you, Lord, and takes your hand, tenderly tracing your scars with her fingers, and her heart warms, her passion is stirred, her love is rekindled. And how great is her beauty in those moments when she only has eyes for you. And when your bride rouses from her slumber, when she rises to serve you, when she can see the needs and hear the cries of a dying world, then, Lord, she is strong for her mission and devoted to her tasks. A grand dame indeed.

So, I pray a stubborn prayer on this Easter, a prayer carried on the fresh wind of the Spirit. It is a prayer that you, O Lord, have already begun to answer.

Call her out, Lord. Call her forth from the tomb of worn out traditions. Call her out from the cemetery of selfish consumerism. Don't let her linger any longer among the monuments of lifeless stones and steeples  Pull your bride away from the mirror of me-ness and lead her out the door of other-ness. Let her become your faithful, passionate partner in bringing in your Kingdom.

What a handsome couple!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

An Old Prayer for a New Day

Our Father, we are beginning to understand at last that the things that are wrong with our world are the sum total of all the things that are wrong with us as individuals. Thou hast made us after Thine image, and our hearts can find no rest until they rest in Thee.

We are too Christian really to enjoy sinning and too fond of sinning really to enjoy Christianity. Most of us know perfectly well what we ought to do; our trouble is that we do not want to do it. Thy help is our only hope. Make us want to do what is right and give us the ability to do it.

In the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.   - Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the U. S. Senate, 1947-1949