Thursday, July 2, 2009

praying in terror

The most frightening prayer I can imagine is called the prayer of humble access that is at the very beginnin of the Episcopal Eucharist. It begins like this:
"Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid....."

Imagine that. Really! It's the theological equivilant of "...he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake...he knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.

God is like Santa Claus! You can run but you can't hide....

Recently, I was part of a Methodist liturgy called a "love feast" when everyone gave everyone else a piece of nice french bread and said, "God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it...."

How scarey is that? You have no control over what God knows about you and can't make God stop loving you, no matter how hard you try.

I find it a little spooky that I can't hide from God. What's the Psalm say? Something like God knows where we are if we go to the inner most depths of the sea and the outer reaches of the earth. Lordy, lordy...there's no relief or escape.

It transforms me in the moment to know God is watching. I'm not sure I like it. I have, after all, a secret life...I expect we all do. And I "like" my secrets, thank you much. I feel a bit intruded upon by this 'all desires known and no secrets hid' stuff.

But there is this: in spite of the deep and often dark secrets of my life---God loves me and there is nothing I can do about it....

So I get my secrets and get loved too.

I guess that's not so bad if my secrets weren't so hideous.....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.