Friday, July 23, 2010
I am in the midst of some challenging pastoral situations, suffice to say that I am striving to pray more often and in more direct (childlike?) ways in terms of both asking for "help!" and also giving gratitude for all the blessings. Even though, it makes for some challenging work - good and useful - but still quite challenging. I found recently that I was nearly overcome with sadness and helplessness in the face of what appears to be tragedy. This is, perhaps, a natural response, but it can be hard to find words of hope in the midst of it, and can be hard for me to even remain present in the midst of what feels overwhelming.
It is these deeply challenging and sad times that pushes a simplistic theology that skims the surface of our lives. Of course "God is good, all the time," is an enthusiastic and robust form of proclamation for many of the days of our lives. However, when we are faced with events that remind us of the ways that life can leave us hurting and in pain, without direction and grounding, this statement - for me at least - falls on deaf ears. Somewhere deep down, I know that God is uplifting us and holding us in the palms of his hands, and this bedrock is where I attempt to go when praying for people who are truly in distress. However, a deeper reflection on Faith and Hope and Love is needed when we encounter the tragic in life.
And so, I pray that I might have comforting words, even when they do not come easily. I pray for words of hope even in the midst of hopelessness. I pray for a depth of Faith even in the midst of emptiness. I pray for the gift of Gratitude even in the midst of anger and resentment for the "changes and chances of life."
I pray that we might receive the "peace which passes understanding" so that we might "keep our hearts and midst in the knowledge and love of God."
~The Rev. Peter Carey