April 17, 2020
In the silence of prayer, you can spread out your hands to embrace nature, God and your fellowman. This acceptance not only means that you are ready to look at your own limitations, but that you expect the coming of something new. For this reason, every prayer is an expression of hope.
From “With Open Hands”, Henri Nouwen
To expect the coming of something new is not always a comfortable place to be. We like our routines, our consistency, our comfort zones. Change is a difficult thing and it often rocks the boat.
Well, we’ve been out of our comfort zones for the past month at least. For me a lot of that has to do with technology – I need the idiot’s version of “Social media for Dummies.” I usually keep track of the days of the week based on Sunday – I know the date for Sunday. But that has changed since we’re recording worship on Saturday morning in order to allow JoEllen and Teresa the time to edit. And as I said yesterday, I’m an extrovert and being isolated saps my energy. So, sometimes it’s hard to focus on hope. But it’s an important part of prayer – when you address God, what do you hope for. So, some ponderings based on my own prayer experiences lately.
I hope for a new sense of compassion in our country; that what we’ve seen unfolding in terms of people stepping up and finding new and different ways to offer support – that this spirit of unity doesn’t disappear as soon as we get back to whatever normal will look like.
I hope for a continued renewal in the commitment to discovering God and God’s ways in the world through the church that I’ve noticed lately. As a military chaplain serving at a MASH unit in Korea, my father often talked about “foxhole religion” – everyone looks to God in times of conflict, stress and difficulty, i.e., when they’re literally in the foxhole. But that faith drops away when the threat is removed. I pray that won’t happen.
I hope that at St. Matthew’s, we continue the new ways to reach out that we have discovered as we’ve gone virtual and that we are a witness to the new life we have in Christ.
Pray and have hope.