Obstinate Praying Thing

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As we begin this New Year let us ponder the effect of our expectations and actions on the possibilities 2007 holds.

The Danes are more satisfied than citizens of any other western country and scientists think they have discovered why. Denmark is a culture of low expectations!

This theory apparently is not as useful when it comes to health. Scientists report that pessimists are more likely to die of heart disease and other causes than those who are by nature more optimistic.

In our faith journey we are realists whose awareness of human fallenness lends itself to pessimism and whose awareness of God’s love fuels our faith and ends up looking suspiciously like optimism.

Our hope is rooted in the nature of God not in our own perfection, for as C.S. Lewis reminds us, “God loves us not because we are loveable, but because He is love.”

2007 will be a good year not because everything goes your way. This may be the year your career takes a bad turn as you realize that in your meteoric rise to the top, you were in the wrong building!”

Be comforted by the words of Lady Julian of Norwich, “Our courteous Lord does not want his servants to despair because they fall often and grievously; for our failing does not hinder him in loving us.”

Do not allow your hardships, whether professional, relational or physical, to give root to the bitterness that distances you from God’s love. Your path to being fully human is not to go deeper in yourself, it lies in your ability to God deeper towards God, even when it seems God is silent and not there.

The dehumanization we witness all around us is the product of our waywardness. Eugene Ionesco, creator of the theater of the absurd once said, “If I have shown men to be ridiculous or ludicrous, it was in no way out of any desire for comic effect, but rather to proclaim the truth¢â‚¬¦to show what man may become when he is cut off from all transcendence.” The Psalmist proclaims we have been made just a little lower than the angels, but genetics also show we are eerily like the apes. Our connection to the transcendent allows our better angels to prevail.

How do we nurture the transcendent presence in the midst of life’s disappointments and our persistent failures? I leave you with George MacDonald:

I see a child before an empty house,
Knocking and knocking at the closed door;
He wakes dull echoes–but nor man nor mouse,
If he stood knocking there forevermore.
A mother angel, see, folding each wing,
Soft-walking, crosses straight the empty floor,
And opens to the obstinate praying thing.

Make 2007 year the year of the obstinate praying thing.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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