I’ve had a church-filled weekend. On Friday evening there was the Elders’ Retreat, and more of that all day Saturday. Sunday I had children’s music, choir, and then the installation of a friend who has just been called to her first church.
Altogether, about 20 hours of church-related stuff.
It was certainly social. I saw That Man and The Empress, as well as plenty of people I’ve loved and admired for years but whom I rarely see. I had a lemon bar (an essential element of Christian fellowship), a very delicious salmon dinner, and a whole lot of iced tea. I had a long bus ride with Egypt, whom I always enjoy, and close converse with people I like from church but don’t know well. It was all fun.
There was interesting architecture and snazzy furniture, a sun-baked walk in a garden spilling over with tomatoes and marigolds, music. Nice stuff.
It was also inspiring in several ways.
But, while I am pondering a number of things in my heart, I find myself thinking back to a point someone made a couple of weeks ago at another church meeting.
Do we, he asked, censor our prayers?
And the answer is that we do. We think that things are too small or to frivolous to mention to God, even though His eye is on the sparrow.
We hesitate to come to God with our same tiresome complaints or desires, though we have the example of Hannah, who prayed her sorrow and disappointment to God instead of whining to her friends or complaining to her husband.
We also have the example of disturbing psalms in which the psalmist prays for horrible things.
Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem’s fall, who said, “Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof!” O daughter of Babylon who art to be destroyed, happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
May his days be few! May another take his job! 9 May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow! 10 May his children roam around begging, asking for handouts as they leave their ruined home! 11 May the creditor seize all he owns! May strangers loot his property! 12 May no one show him kindness! May no one have compassion on his fatherless children! 13 May his descendants be cut off! May the memory of them be wiped out by the time the next generation arrives! 14 May his ancestors’ sins be remembered by the Lord! May his mother’s sin not be forgotten! 15 May the Lord be constantly aware of them, and cut off the memory of his children from the earth!
There is even a word for these things: imprecatory prayer.
It sounds uncivilized to us. But, the speaker said, perhaps God means it when he says to bring all things to Him in prayer. Maybe we should bring all our unpleasant emotions, our pettiness, and our anger to God. God can handle it, after all, and we can keep it from affecting our behavior toward others.
“O Lord,” I could pray, “help me to work less!” Instead of whining about it to people who shouldn’t have to listen to that.
Actually, look — this week is better.
And I had one orange day. Bad overall — meetings are certainly the enemy of activity — but still. Progress. Next week will be better.