Monday, January 30, 2006

Putting Matthew 6 and 25 together...

When you pray to a God that is invisible – that prayer takes on a certain color. It’s a little easier to put off the awkwardness you normally would feel when you just keep begging and pestering somebody for stuff all the time. You turn into the kind of person who never stops running to Dad to bail him out for this or that, asks for money or tools – rarely returns them and then just keeps asking for more. Nobody likes that kind of person. But because God seems invisible maybe it’s just a bit easier to keep asking him for stuff. You ask - you get - It’s kinda like magic – and come on who doesn’t like magic – making something appear out of nothing. And gosh it’s sure not hard to get more than a little bummed out when he doesn’t seem to come through for you. And to an invisible God prayer comes out more like bargains and deals than real conversations. And even though you kind feel cheap way down inside you’re confident you’ve laid down just the right amount of faith to close the deal. Its an equation. I mean after all – it’s like used car sales – you know that the original price could never be what it actually costs. And if the currency for all your spiritual catalogue of items is faith then why pay too much. You’ll look foolish. So you’re sensible in your ‘deals’ with God because just like the used car salesman – you’re never gonna see him again – He’s invisible.
But then he’s not invisible – he never was. There she (and by she I mean God – even though I know you just have to debate my stand on the feminity of God which is totally not my point) stands with a $2 rock and a baby on her hip. (Matt 25.) And you turn around and you see him staring at you from out of the corner of your recently divorced friend's eyes. And you shiver a little when his wrinkled old hand refuses to let go of yours desperate for another touch.
What kinda deals you gonna make with that God? How long will it take for you to stop pestering the crack addict God? How long will it be before you hightail it off to your closet in embarrassment at your egotistical selfish consumeristic self? How much faith will you muster when that same divorced God happens to be your son? How long will you believe that prayer can ever be some kind of formula?
here's a little more for Mo and others...
what i was trying to get at in this passage was that i am thinking through some stuff on prayer recently. It is amazing to me how often we approach prayer with formulas and consumeristic expectations. When you read Matthew 6 Jesus has some bizarre things to say about prayer (closets, chanting and even what looks like a template for prayer). But if what Jesus says is true in Matt 25 about him actually being present in homeless or imprisoned, or lonely , or sick people then how does that change the way we look at prayer. Could prayer be actually less about asking God for stuff and more about allowing him to open/change our eyes/heart to see him wherever he really is. So i started thinking how our prayers might change if instead of making up these prayers infront of religious people in our nice churches we had to pray in front of (and in a wierd way to) these disadvantaged people. I don't probably just dumb thinking...

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