Was looking over my last few blog posts. Due to my infrequent posting, that actually took me back a ways chronologically.
What prompted the review, was actually a lack of being gentle with myself over a lack of committed prayer. (another post about being gentle with oneself popped out at me.)
It’s true, I haven’t been praying as I ought. But then I backed up a bit, and realized my listening, singing along, and now PLAYING taize music on the piano is not random. I even believe there is a certain spirituality in the discipline of practicing any genre of piano music for me. I’ve begun learning how to improvise,if you can use the term very loosely with me (particularly if you actually are a real jazz improviser!!!) on Taize music. What an adventure! What poetry does for some, music does for me. It gets a litte frustrating sometimes to be unable to play technically the song in one’s head, just as it is to be unable to express in words the longing of one’s heart. I believe there are real overlaps, but I think I have a better chance of overcoming the technical limitations, and allowing music to communicate at the heart level. Makes one’s heart sort of yearn and ache. The one I’m working with right now is called, “Jesus Remember Me.” The lyrics are simple and repetitive by design. The music combined with the simple lyric makes the heart to ache with longing…
Which brings me back to more traditional prayer and the longings of the heart. I think that may be one reason why I avoid prayer. Maybe? Cracks you open to longings when it is sometimes easier to just keep busy, or even just be lazy with mindless entertainment, rather than be still and take some time to give God some access to your mind or heart.
I’m about to embark on a 12 week class as one of the co-facilitators for Community of Hope. It is premised on the notion of being formed by prayer and silence, and encouraging that in the students who gather. I’m motivated to dig in and return to some of that, partly out of concerns of outright hypocrisy if I don’t, partly due to natural seasons of returning longings that happen to me sometimes. But with this sort of strange feeling of trepidation. What will happen if I pray? (and/or what won’t happen?) Will I find God in the ordinary, in the ways I profess to believe he is to be found and the Rule of Benedict from which our group will study asserts? (Lord, I want to see!) Will God confront me with something difficult to do, or ask me to change something uncomfortable about myself that I might prefer to cling to or hide behind? (“What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”)
Do you ever find yourself asking these questions?
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Have mercy on me, a sinner.
Something about that prayer speaks to me, with a certain assurance that the mercy is already ours, but asking for it still feels “right” and not “grovel-ly”.
What do you think?