PRAYER THAT REACHES GOD

Potentiality #7

Potentiality #7

Psalm 69:13-18
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Do our prayers reach God?
Be sure that they do.
But what is it that God actually hears?
I want what I want,
and I want it now…
Do we pray like a spoiled child begging
for more candy?
Are our prayers rants
against injuries past,
present,
and still to come?
Are we just little jabberwolkies,
blythly blithering away
and never stopping to listen
if God might be trying
to get some syllable into our
tyranny of words?
Do we lecture God on how best to
accommodate our convenience?
What form does our praying take?
Why pray anyway?
I mean,
if God knows it all,
what is there for us to say?
Is prayer, for us,
about our
attempt to control an uncontrollable universe?
For many,
praying is about bargaining with God.
For some
praying is about trying not to
look bad
on some distant
Judgement Day.
Generally, I think, our praying is about
performing a spiritual work
whereby we help others
when we feel helpless
in the face of the exigencies of life.
Prayer can be best understood as a
communication,
read that conversation,
between the one praying
and God—
a back and forth interaction.
It is a relationship,
a fundamental
state of connectedness,
a living dialogue.
To ask how someone prays,
is to ultimately ask
about their spending time
together with God,
and the intimacy
of that time.
Ultimately,
prayer that reaches God,
is prayer that reaches
deeply within ourselves
to a small place,
larger that the cosmos itself,
where God dwells.

A PROCESS OF CHOICES

Choices

Choices

2 Corinthians 13:11-13
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

With this scripture
we are encouraged,
exhorted, challenged,
to move into our lives fueled with the
grace,
and power of Pentecost.
We, hopefully, are trying to learn
what it means
to be a spirit-filled people.
What does it mean?
It means we learn to trust the process.
But what does it mean to trust the process?
First, we should know that there is a process…
Living a life
that is filled with God’s Holy Spirit,
living a life
that is the life of a Christian,
living a life
that is sacred and
holy and
consecrated
is not the end,
it is the journey.
It could be said that
the journey is the end itself.
There is no magical “getting saved,”
where God waves God’s magic wand and
turns us permanently
into perfect creatures.
Conversion —
being born again —
is not the end of the story,
it is where our story begins.
No honest spiritual leader
would dare proclaim that it was.
No,
salvation is a process not an event.
It is a continual series of choices,
not
the recitation of words or a formula.
Living in love,
like living in peace or joy,
like living as we were created to be,
is conscious
and a series of intentional choices.
Being spirit-filled
and a person living out Pentecost
is to be a person daily struggling
with the options presented.
How will we choose today?

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PENTECOST — THERE WAS A TIME

And Between the Spheres

And Between the Spheres

John 7:37-39
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

We take the Holy Spirit for granted,
even if we are not Pentecostal,
even if we are not Christian,
even if…
This Holy Spirit is what makes all
matter adhere in a cohesive fashion.
The Holy Spirit is called
the work of God on earth,
the love between God and Jesus,
the Advocate,
the Comforter….
I like this last metaphor very much
because takes me to cold nights
and a great big, cushy, quilt
tucked way up over my head
and me snuggled way down
in flannel sheets,
all warm and safe:
such is the Holy Spirit to me.
And yet while most other Biblical texts
speak of the Holy Spirit
present from the beginning of Creation on,
John writes of a time when the
Holy Spirit
was not present to us.
So, what’s up with John?
I suspect that John simply wants to present
a case whereby Nothing exists without Jesus.
He did not need to do that here
because he had already done it
in his prologue where he presented
Jesus as the Logos,
the holy word/breath/thought/action of God
that made creation happen,
and this is a theological redundancy
we did not need.
Johannes Kepler
saw a correspondence between
the heavenly spheres—
the sun as God the Father,
the planets as Jesus the Son,
and the intervening space
between them as the Holy Spirit.
I like this metaphor, too!
Put them together
and thus is the Holy Spirit:
the stuff between the spheres,
the breath of God,
the great comforter,
stretched across the universe,
creating and holding and nurturing
keeping warm and safe all that exists
as it comes into being.
This is Pentecost.
This is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit,
in space and in time
again and again.
And the coming of this Spirit,
that time,
and so many years past,
marked a powerful and dynamic change
in the lives of those early followers
of the Way of Jesus
the way it always does
each time it does.
I think our task this Pentecost
might be to look in our
past/present/future,
for the changes in our own lives,
from the minimal to mind-blowingly huge,
that have
turned us,
melted us,
molded us,
emboldened us,
changed us,
and made us more than we were,
or dreamed we could be.
Who were we?
Who are we now?
What were we like then?
What are we like now,
And what will we be like in years to come?
AND, are we willing to allow that Spirit of God
to be given to us over and over and over
as if each time were the very first time,
and each time to
fully recreate us
again and again and again?
There was a time
when I was not as I am
but I am moving in the
eternal space that is the Holy Spirit
and can we join and move together
and begin together again and again,
and anew and anew?

WHAT WE CAN KNOW FOR SURE

A Kind of Knowing #3

A Kind of Knowing #3

Acts 1:6-8
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

What can we know for sure?
The cynic in me wants to proclaim,
Nothing…
But I know that nothing,
I said nothing,
is ever that simple—
EVER.
I also know
that on Sundays
in churches
around the globe
preachers stand
before their congregations
and proclaim things
that are mostly unbelievable
to the intelligent minds
of people who are starving
for something in which to believe,
and do their best to believe
while deep in their hearts
they cannot.
For this they feel a
deep guilt
and a fear that God
will somehow
get them for not actually believing
these frivolous claims
they cannot bring themselves to believe.
One of the truths
that I claim to know for sure,
and I believe this is not frivolous,
is that claims about God are made every day
that have nothing to do with God,
but everything to do with
the ignorance
and fear
of the ones making the claims.
There are a few claims we can make with certitude, though,
and I believe they are not frivolous,
and they are as follows:
love and grace and blessings
surround us,
if we will look;
misery, pain, fear and hopelessness
surround us,
if we will look.
We can also say with some degree of certainty
that much of the good and much of the bad
we experience are products of our own choices.
With experienced-based authority we can claim
there is Mystery beyond our understanding
and that this Mystery is not definable in any way
we might determine through the scientific method,
yet it exists within, under, around, through, above,
and in the cracks and small spaces that border all that is,
and I chose to call this Mystery, God.
And so there is God.
And so there is the Holy Spirit.
And so there is Jesus.
Great and deep mysteries that confound
our propriety and our intelligence
and our modernist sense of self,
yet make sense in the context
in which they present.
And we cannot know the comings
and goings
of this God,
or God’s mind
or heart,
but we can know for sure the expression
of the love that heals us,
and the love offered
that guides our choices.
And should we choose to accept this guidance,
I believe there is no reason at all
to name it.
Only to live it.