The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
After spending some very enjoyable time outdoors in God’s company, I had to laugh over my attempts at prayer. There are times when the tone and the topic of my prayers amaze me. I can only imagine what God must be thinking! More than once, I’ve stepped back from a monologue directed at the Lord God to ask myself what I’m thinking. Each time, after getting over the unmitigated gall with which I dared to approach The Almighty, I take a deep breath and begin again. It’s during these second beginnings that I apologize for my nerve in ordering God around, I give thanks for God’s unconditional love and I invite God into a real conversation with me. Though I never actually “hear” a single word from above, God communicates just the same in the peaceful assurance which fills me up and urges me on. The latter is the experience I enjoyed today.
It occurs to me that we humans are quite fortunate to be created in God’s image and likeness. God’s love is so great that it spilled out and took form in Creation. God tells us that you and I are God’s greatest handiwork. Part of that greatness comes in the traces of God’s love which remain entrenched in us. I can’t help thinking of this infusion of love as God’s DNA within us. As a result, we all know on some level that we are loved and therefore listened to. No wonder we’re not only compelled to pray, but also to assume that we’re heard.
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long
a time and you still do not know me, Philip?”
From John 14:6-14
I should not have taken the comment to heart, but I did. My friend, who was under some serious duress himself, noted that others in our company joined him in questioning the amount of time I spend on a major voluntary commitment -actually, my commitment to my parish. Because he was going through his own tough times, I should have let it go. Nonetheless, after we parted, I gave a good deal of thought to what I do and how it affects those around me.
The truth is that I had already curtailed the time I spend at church. I have said “no” in response to many requests in order to accommodate my own family, my extended family and my friends. I have held onto only those things which only I can do. Indeed, I do what I do to keep others from experiencing some of the same suffering that this friend and those whom I love have endured.
In the end, I realize that my friend did not mean to hurt me, just as I do not mean to hurt any of my loved ones by giving time to what I consider to be essential. Supporting those trying to develop or maintain their relationships with God and God’s sometimes unruly people is something feel called to do. Perhaps I need to share the reasons I do what I do to help those around me to understand.
Gracious God, fill my friend with the energy he needs to face the strife in his life. Give him and each of us understanding hearts. Give us the patience we need to be there for one another as Jesus was. Give us the persistence and love to respond to your call in our lives as best we can.