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.