Monday, January 23, 2006

Thinx 34: Prayer

[Jesus] was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." And he said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be your name. ...'"
--Luke 11:1-2a RSV (altd.)
Didn't the Pharisees and the Sadducees know how to pray? Or was Jesus' kind of prayer too much a statement of dependency for the Jewish leaders to handle? If the Pharisee / Tax Collector (Luke 18:10-14) story shows the depth or prayer among the religious elite, then likely Jesus's disciples would have been pleasantly surprised by what they had seen and were about to hear.

'Father' -- at once a declaration of dependence; of family ties between God and man; of the immanence of God immediately kept from Sugar Daddy sentimentality by 'in heaven, hallowed be your name' celebrating God's transcendence and holiness. The almighty, omni-everything God, is approachable. Humble fellowship with him is possible and actively encouraged!

© Bruce M. Axtens, 2006

Monday, January 09, 2006

Thinx 33: Life: Too Short Or Not Short Enough?

You are mortal: live today as if it is your last.
... you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
-- James 4:14 RSV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.
-- Ephesians 5:15,16 RSV
Here's the tension, then. On the one hand, knowing that life is short, and that I need to make good use of limited time. And on the other hand, aching for this life to be shortened.
and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away."
-- Revelation 21:3,4 RSV
Don't get me wrong: I like being alive, my wife loves me and our children are a delight. And yet, I can't remember having faced so much change ... and so much pain. Of all the years of my life thus far, this has been the toughest.

My body is fit and mostly healthy, and yet I often find myself, with tear-filled eyes, crying out for Jesus' return.

I relate well to Psalm 88. It's one of, if not the, darkest of the Psalms. The writer, Heman the Ezrahite, has it bad: troubles, pain and tears. Everyone shuns him. Even God appears not to be taking any notice.
O LORD, why do you cast me off? Why do you hide your face from me?
-- Psalm 88:14 RSV (altd.)
Yet Heman still clings to God, still calls out to him. God is testing Heman. I think Heman is passing the test. Am I?