Friday, October 24, 2014

What is this renewal of the face of the earth?

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

I have prayed for years, and I like praying, from Psalm 104:30: Lord, send out Your Spirit and renew the face of the earth. Funny how today, when I thought of the possibility of Your doing that, I doubted Your ability.

Is it right to doubt Your ability? If Your ability rests partly on our cooperation, I wonder. If Your will will prevail regardless, then I do not doubt, but I shudder to think how You will bring it to pass. Why create a world that will get so out of hand, it will bring about its own destruction?

And yet I see families, moms and dads who bring about a life, invest so much in that life, and he or she dies from drug use. Where is redemption there? Where is Your will there?

A theologian I like believes, in the end, all souls will be won to Your heart. He bases this on his knowledge of Who You are and how we are made, the one just cannot resist the Other. The attraction is just too great. The need is just too strong. In the end, all of our other idolatries and "issues" will crumble away at our feet when we see You for Who You are. I like that.

I think this is the meaning of the workers in the vineyard -- some of us will work long hours, willingly so. Some will not work at all; in fact, they will work against. But, when they see You, a transformation occurs. Perhaps this transformation is immediate. Perhaps it is not, which makes great sense, then, of the concept of purgatory.

I try to be a good parent. And if one of my children died without You, would I want him or her to wait to see You, or upon seeing You, have to wait to fully comprehend and attain what that comprehension reveals? No, I wouldn't. And I know some justice must be obeyed -- but is that not what the Cross, in part, accomplished?

Is this not what is meant by Your Spirit renewing the face of the earth? This renewal is a dynamic, tremendous flow of divine energy that raises all it comes into contact with. And, if this is the case, O how grateful must we be, that You will save even where saving, at least to us, does not seem possible!

Come, O Lord, send out Your Spirit! Renew the face of the earth!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Matthew 7:16

More on humility
Dear God,
This is Kelley.

Lord, You said we would know them by their fruit (Matthew 7:16). But, Lord, sometimes that "fruit" is not seen for years; so, what of the intervening time when we are fooled by what appears to be goodness and wisdom? Moreover, Lord, I could make a wonderful case for my father being evil, since he did these certain things; however, there is good that he did as well. How are we to deal with this reality?

We are all sinners, yes. We are all capable of evil things. Is it that those who repent, who are willing to admit wrongdoing, who seek reconciliation in humility -- is it this trait we must look for? Is this why You talk so much of humility -- 
Thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, "I dwell in the high and holy place and also with the one who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite." Isaiah 57:15
I suppose what this also teaches us is not to put any one of us on a pedestal. Only You belong above us. We can have great respect for another. We can listen to another. We can love and admire. But, we must not give to another human being what rightly belongs only to You, and that is an unreserved, unbridled, almost childlike confidence. When we were young, we gave this to our parents and this was good and necessary. But, as adults, we must always keep one leg strong and willing to stand, one eye trained and willing to see, for we do fail one another, and we need one another to call us out, to name waywardness, to contribute wisely to the strength of us all, together.

You speak to each of us in the recesses of our hearts. Oh, we need to hear what You say! No one of us has Your whole story, but together, working together, listening together, being willing to mold and form what we hear, what we experience with what another hears, what another experiences, this is the path that will lead to the greatest "whole" of You. And those who fight to be with, who insist they and they alone are right, who refuse correction or even the ideas of another -- these are the ones we must hold in question.

May each of us, Lord, be willing to put in the prayer and work necessary to be a strong member of Your Body, upholding one another, humble and contrite in spirit.

Monday, October 20, 2014

May we ask to see

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

How deeply, Lord, must You affect a life for that person to exclaim, "the bush was burning!" or, "the sea parted in two!" or, "He walked on water!" It is not that I do not believe the natural miracle of these narratives, but it is more that I believe in the power of metaphor -- and I believe, I know, just how profound Your impact upon a life can be, so powerful, in fact, that our words fail to capture. Only metaphor can begin to describe it.

You piece us together, for example, when we have been torn apart. If we but walk beside You, You weave other people, other circumstances, in and out, cleansing, applying antiseptic, and bandaging. We know how desperate our situation was, and we look back and see how, over time, You have orchestrated a mighty healing, for some in years, for others in a moment. For both, only metaphor can describe what has happened, for we are staggered by Your response.

Lord, give our eyes the ability to see! So many times, we miss Your work in our lives. We miss the love that goes to such lengths to heal us, even when we do nothing but complain about our wounds. We don't see Your mercy. We don't see You.

May we ask to see You every day. May we humble ourselves and admit our not seeing is symptom only of our own blindness, not proof of Your absence! Like Bartimaeus, Lord, may we ask to see!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Discerning

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

I am afraid, Lord, afraid to begin this journey again ... discernment toward ordination. I want it, very much. I think it will work better for what I think is "our" purpose, drawing others to You, toward thinking about You, considering You, wanting You. But, Lord, Your thoughts are so high above my own thoughts, and I can want something, very much, that You just ... well ... don't.

And, Lord, I laid myself out there before ... and got bit. I got thrown away, really, trampled on. What am I doing, coming to this point again?! Thinking people will see, when what most people see is what they want to see, what their own intentions and motivations have formed them to see. Will they see what You see? Can they?

I don't like putting myself in anyone's hands but Yours. And I know these people, I trust these people are doing their best to see what You see and determine what is Your will. If it didn't go Your way before -- and my presenting myself again is my own testimony to that belief -- how can I believe the way it goes this time is, indeed, Your will?

Well, for one, I quit. I didn't let the process continue. Fear dragged me down, and I was made to see myself as unfit. Someone else put himself in the place of You (and I put that someone else into a place he never should have been).

I am much stronger now. I know how to depend upon You much more now. I know how to let You have the fear, that most vulnerable part of myself -- the part I should entrust to no one except You, for only You have the power to transform that into grace and strength. It is idolatry for me to present that part of me to anyone but You; I shouldn't expect that kind of love, fatherly love, from anyone in my life but You. It is not fair. I lost my chance to have a father; but, You will more than make up for that!

You have more than made up for it, and that is my purpose: to show others how You more than make up for what we lose due to others' sins (and even our own). You flow into the holes we make in ourselves, if only we let You. How blessed are we who have lots of holes!