Tag Archives: prayer

Walter Brueggemann

I’m not sure why I did not come across the writings of Walter Brueggemann as a younger man. His gift to me, and I suspect the church, is a way of phrasing things that connect not only with my head causing me to nod in agreement even as I am reading, but he causes my heart to agree. Not what on earth do we mean by referring to the heart as agreeing?

It’s a strange phrase, and yet I suspect that some of you will know exactly what I mean. It is as if our spirit finds agreement with the spirit of the writer. We sense that it is not just our minds that agree but something deeper within us is in agreement. As my heart I agrees I find myself thinking there is a great truth here.

I suppose that’s why I’ve been a reader of CS Lewis such a long time. He reflects the Gospel story clearly in the Narnia tales. He leaves me with no argument against God’s love and grace in Mere Christianity. So it is with Brueggemann.

Here’s one of his prayers for your head and heart.

The Other Side of The Street

Just when we imagined that we have you figured out
you show up working the other side of the street
in your frightening freedom.
You meet us behind and before
as promise and as threat,
and we are overmatched whenever we sit to deal with you.
So we bid you to pay less vigorous attention to us
and we bid you give us the freedom and courage
that we may withstand you
in ways that are proper to you and to us.
We pray in the name of the utterly humble One
whom you therefore exalted.
Give us wisdom and freedom
that we may sense the ways in which we may best live in this world
where the last become first and the first become last. Amen.

Wisdom in 2016

Each morning I receive into my inbox an email that highlights one small piece of CS Lewis’ writings. Sometimes it is an exerpt from his Narnia series, sometimes from another book he has written and other times from letters that he wrote to others at the end of his life.

They are always interesting and give insight in to the day to day thinking of this intellectual and spiritual giant, at other times it is an open door to the emotions he displays in his own struggles.

I find it to be reassuring that someone like CS Lewis had real struggles, that he wrestled with feelings and thoughts as we do, well I do. He does not like growing old, yet he clearly understands that he is on his way to a better time (I hesitate around the word place) which he compares to a river struggling to make its way to the open sea.

His writings always point to God, always point to faith as a way of life, but never excuse or dismiss the struggles of life, and in his letters he always affirms the expressed problems or worries that the received letter has generated. I like that. I like that he is quick to acknowledge that this life is filled with struggle.

Jesus said, in this world you will have trouble. Yes indeed.

As long as we have family ot worry about. As long as sin abounds. As long as people choose poorly. As long as we continue to live beyond our means, to serve ourselves, we will have trouble.

So how we do I choose to live? Well I’ve learned long ago that faith needs to be at the centre of life. It might not give me all the answers, but it does give me perspective. I would like all my family to choose the same, for it brings less pain in to life, but I know they will not all choose so.

So I pray that God will influence their thinking, their choosing.

It’s so easy to drift.

It’s also so easy to choose.

Jesus told those who listened – choose life.

So for 2016 I desire to choose wisdom.

Paris Attack

The news out of Paris gave me, and likely you, a rather ill feeling. It’s dread, it’s sadness, it’s anger, it’s a desire for revenge, it’s a feeling that there is nothing one can do so far from Paris and so far from being able to stop such an act.

I think it’s also the realization that despite the ongoing wars that have followed the first invasion of Iraq the forces of evil continue to have the ability to dominate the world scene.

Now don’t mistake my comment. When I say forces of evil I do not mean American or allies or Arab or Muslim. I do mean that the Prince of this world, the Father of all lies, the evil one (as Jesus called him) continues to breed hatred and violence in every corner of the world and almost every corner of every heart.

So what is the answer to all this despair and who can stop this tsunami of violence that continues to sweep around the world?

The answer strangely enough is Jesus – the one who can make hearts new, the one who came to begin a world wide renovation plan of His world, of His creation. What he needs is people who are willing to wage a war of love, to demonstrate that without sacrifice there is no future of peace, without a willingness to love those whose hearts are filled with hate, there is not chance of change.

So start with a prayer: Dear Lord, into the hearts of all who would do evil we pray you will pour the oil of your spirit and use your Church to speak truth and love wherever it is.