Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I don't know how to pray...

My perspective on life has suddenly been deeply and lovingly challenged this week. I am about to go to bed tonight, I need my sleep because I'm going into the rest of a challenging week but, excited to see what is going to happen.

I just talked to a dear, dear friend in Japan. We are so many thousand miles apart and yet, our hearts and spirits are still asking many of the same questions in our very different contexts. We want to learn how to love others and we do not want to grow indifferent or apathetic in the situations which we find ourselves. How do we respond to the exclusive attitude that many Christians we've been associated with in the past maintain? How do we love them without adopting their stance towards others? I miss her and love having her in my life.

Earlier, I was expressing my concerns about the next step in my journey and I received the wise advice to not worry. To trust that the God who is good will guide my steps in the direction that he knows is best. But, that is not all...

Yesterday, I went to a worship service like I haven't been to since Trinity. Having so many voices all in the same building singing together cannot help but make you smile. All of these young people, singing together and seeking to learn how to trust in and love God with all their heart, mind, and soul is encouraging. I was beautiful. Not so much because of what was said or done but because of the intention of it all. People seeking to know Jesus as the source of the true, the good, and the beautiful.

Maybe not at the moment, I am more of a small group kind of a person, but afterward I realized how much I miss my friends from other times and places who would pray with me and read the Bible with me. (I love that here, where I live right now, we read the Bible and pray together every morning before everyone leaves to work and school, it's really cool.) There is that side of me that misses those honest and earnest "living the questions" kind of friendships.

Then, as I got to talk with my newest friend here about some of these things. I realized a couple other things. First of all, that Jesus truly shines through people and it is a gift to be around someone who shines that way. I was reminded that Christians talk about Jesus because He gives hope and joy in the midst of the questions of life, not because there is any obligation to. It made me actually want to sit down and read through the life of Jesus again and pray. I think that prayer often changes our heart more than the circumstances we are in, but that is good.

I should go to bed but, I wanted to say this (and I know that Miriam and Rebecka will understand) I miss the Eucharist. I truly believe (for as much as the Holy Trinity is one of my favorite theological mysteries because of the implications for community) that the Eucharist is the most beautiful mystery of all. I love going to Church for the moment during the service when we come to the Eucharist and we are reminded that it is by Jesus living in and through us that we have life. It's through Jesus we know love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope.

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke