March 7, 2022

Pray



Thinking about the Rethink Church word today of “pray” - I started thinking about how it seems like, in recent years, we have managed to politicize and cheapen it. But then, when you look at this passage, maybe we are reminded that the temptation to abuse prayer for personal gain has always been there. 

There certainly is a place for corporate prayer, but it needs to be rooted in a place of deep humility and open to inner transformation and outward action. 

My tradition teaches that prayer without action is just noise. Not a one of the faith communities in this country believes that prayer is magic – some sort of incantation that will reverse the order of the universe, let alone manipulate an omnipotent God. Prayer works only if it softens the hardened heart and opens it to the message of healing and justice that flows through Scripture. Prayer works only if it leads to contrition and repentance. Prayer works only if it is not an excuse for self-justification.


March 3, 2022

Tempted



I was having trouble coming up with a photo to capture "Tempted" but this song has been stuck in my head all day.


March 2, 2022

Full


via Instagram https://instagr.am/p/Canl8pNudEV/

I don’t know how long I’ll stick with it, but I think I’m going to try the Rethink Church Lent photo-a-day thing again (https://www.umc.org/en/content/lent-photo-a-day-2022).

My first thoughts on the word “full” were all about excess. How we live in a society where “full” is the expectation, where even the smallest pangs of hunger between meals bring exclamations of, “I’m starving!” 

Reflecting a little more on it, while expectations of excess are a problem, I think “full” is more about understanding and appreciating limits. Thinking specifically about the Covenant Prayer, I think we are invited to recognize there are seasons of want and seasons of abundance and both have their place in our lives.

So often in Lent the focus seems to be about fasting and abstinence, about trying going to the empty places to seek God out; but what if this season instead is about embracing the full range of experience - fullness and emptiness, joy and sorrow, blessing and brokenness.