Loder writes, “is always guerrilla action in the world of time on behalf of the eternal.”
I know that prayer is not an easy discipline. It’s hard to pray with all the distractions in our lives. If we manage to find the time to sit down for a minute our minds race to the next event on the agenda, or to problems that must be solved, or to fussy children. We wonder if it is worth the effort.
Loder, however, writes about the practicality of prayer, “...prayer is always against the odds set by logic, by scientism, by realism. So it is always against the odds of our own skepticism and doubt. Even when prayer is inchoate in something that sounds like a curse or a moan or a desperate plea or a spontaneous ‘whoopee,’ there is a gut deep, intuitive refusal to accept the odds or to calculate too closely either the limits of the possible or the sneakiness of grace.”
As this New Year begins I am deeply troubled by what I see happening around me. It has been a tough couple of months for our part of the world. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, Robert Lewis Dear shot and killed three people and wounded several more, in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Then less than a week later a radicalized couple added to the terror by storming a holiday party with guns and ammunition killing 14 more people. It has raised contentious debates about sensible gun control legislation and tapped deeply into our fear of terrorism and encouraged the evil of religious intolerance. In response, one presidential candidate is calling on government officials to deny entrance to our country to anyone of the Muslim faith.
It is scary and wrong to generalize about an entire religion or people based on the evil actions of a minority. But how do we respond?
On the first Sunday of the year we distribute star gifts, a spiritual gift on a star to guide us through the year. We will do that again on January 3. I see “prayer” among the gifts. And while it is essential that I speak up for justice and speak out against intolerance, it is also important that you and I pray. That is the one thing all of us can do; all of us can pray, because “we don’t know the limits of the possible or the utter sneakiness of God’s grace.”
New Year’s Blessings,