Tuesday, September 29, 2009

After The Darkness …

And finally, in that quietness came clarity. There came a clarity that I did not have at that time or that I had experienced before. There was beauty. There was love. There was purpose. My theology and spirituality became formed through the action of prayer. An understanding of my work, my vocational work began to form. Out of this moment of prayer came the sense of purpose for me and the whole church. Out of this moment of prayer came the inklings of my life that could be lived out in the assurances of God's grace and love.

Through that prayer work, a number of truth statements became truly a part of my own belief system in a deeper, clearer, more personal way than I had ever known possible.

  • I understood God's love for me through Jesus Christ, and that there was nothing in heaven or under heaven, of powers or authorities that would or could separate me from God's love.
  • There was no challenge too great that could not be seen through to its end because of God's love.
  • There was no pain too deep that could not be healed by the grace of God's love.
  • There was nothing that could keep God's hope from raising my head and eyes to see the path of Jesus Christ's kingdom before me. All I had to do was take that step back onto the path, back onto the way that lay before me.

It was then, as I rose and walked to the door of the sanctuary, turned out the lights, and walked out into the night that I took my first steps again. Every step would be bathed and supported and buoyed by the prayer of a humbled, grateful, and delivered heart.

The Rev. Dr. Leonel L. Mitchell wrote a commentary on the Book of Common Prayer with an intriguing title: Praying Shapes Believing. I believe that praying does shape believing. Out of this certainty that I have about prayer and belief arise two other thoughts and they are: Prayer is work, and work originates from prayer. These are the themes that I want to play with, hold up, turn in our hearts and minds, and to which I wish to give some intentional thought in the next posts.

Coming up: A Survey of Scriptural Posts tagged #Prayer and #Jesus

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  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball