Monday, April 26, 2010

Prayer #111: Where Oo?

Back in the day, when I was no taller than a kitchen chair and my little brother was exactly that -- little -- we played hide-and-seek all over the house with our mother.

Hiding places came easy. We were tiny, springy, packable kids, able to wedge ourselves anywhere. However, I hadn't yet learned the art of silence, so Mom usually found me via giggle echolocation. And my brother thought that simply sitting in a corner and putting his hands over his eyes made him invisible to others.

When it was Mom's turn to hide, she had an advantage over us: the ability to stay quiet. So though she was not quite as flexible or cram-able, it took us longer to find her.

I'd take one floor. My brother would take another. I'd peer in all the spots a big kid could reach. And my brother would play the baby card -- a plaintive repetition of "Mommy, where oo?" until her maternal heart relented and she revealed herself to us.

Now that I'm a grown-up, I sometimes wish I could play that baby card. How easy it would be to wander around in a sad daze, asking the one question that is sure to tug God's heartstrings -- "Where oo?" -- and sucking my thumb until the answer appears.

Too bad that's not how it works. Both God and I are too big to hide in the usual places. The game takes place in the open. No secrets, no counting. Why, then, do I still cover my eyes and think myself invisible?

Prayer #111: Where Oo?

1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5 ...

I'm not ready, yet here You come.

6 ... 7 ... 8 ... 9 ...

I SAID I'm not READY.

10 ... 11 ... 12 ...

You are so annoying. Play by the RULES.

13 ... 14 ...

Arrrgghhh. FINE. I'll do the best I can.

15.

Still not ready. Yet here You are.

You're it.

Am I ready now?

Amen.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Prayer #110: Futureness

Went to the fortune teller
To have my fortune read
I didn't what to tell her
I had a dizzy feeling in my head

Said she'd take a look at my palm
Said "Son do you feel kind of warm?"
And she looked into her crystal ball
Said "You're in love."

Said it could not be so,
Not with all the girls I know.
Said when the next one arrives
Looking into her eyes.

I left there in a hurry
Much to my big surprise
The next thing I discovered
The fortune teller told me lies

So I ran back to that woman
Mad as I could be
Told her I didn't see nobody
How she made a fool out of me

At last something shook me
As if it came down from above
And now the fortune teller
And I fell in love
-- Fortune Teller

Prayer #110: Futureness

Chuck the crystal ball down the bowling lane
Dump the tea leaves in the garbage disposal
Coax the waves across the patterns in the sand
Turn your hands palm down to hide the lines

Because none of them can help you anyway
So you might as well rely on uncertainty
And have some faith you'll learn what to do
When the time, the place, the decision comes

Until then use the I Ching sticks as kindling
Unfold the horoscope to line the birdcage
Because the root of all divination
Is to be inspired by God.

Amen.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Prayer #109: Hold Me

Photo by Wonderlane

Prayer #109: Hold Me

For one moment
hold me upended
apart from routine
so I can watch it pass
and remember that it
is not what's sacred

For one moment
hold me suspended
apart from the world
so I can watch it spin
and remember that I
contribute to its cycle

For one moment
hold me ascended
apart from despair
so I can watch my soul
and remember that You
created it for joy

So for one moment
I'll see all moments
and take heart
they will come

Amen.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Prayer #108: Once Lost, Now Found

"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead." -- John 20: 1-9

In this passage, Mary Magdalene is called by name. Simon Peter is called by name. The third disciple, however, remains unnamed, designated only as "the one Jesus loved."

My first impulse is to give him a backstory and some Biblical context, putting him squarely in the murky past. But I don't need to, nor should I.

This disciple belongs in the present. He is our contemporary. The tomb he runs into is the same we encounter each day when we look for Jesus in broad daylight but can't see Him. Not yet, anyway.

The one Jesus loves is me. The one Jesus loves is you. We see and we believe.

Prayer #108: Once Lost, Now Found

"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"

How does one misplace a God? Quite easily, it seems.

I often don't know where I've put You. I think I have You safely stored, and then You vanish, defying my compartments and asserting Your ubiquity.

This Easter season, You once again challenge me to find You on Your terms. You tear my gaze from the abandoned strips of linen and force me to look beyond the quiet tomb's opening, out into a swirling world that breeds confusion, loss, indignity, iniquity, and sorrow.

You give me a tall order -- to find You amid this chaos, to love others as You love me. Frankly, I'd rather keep mooning over the strips of linen. It's much easier. But, as I've come to realize, not nearly as fulfilling.

May I rise to meet Your challenge, Lord. May I leave in the tomb the shrouds that obscure my faith, and find You on the sunlit road.

Alleluia, amen!