Clergy Notes — Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, October 17, 2021
I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately . . . and illness, and prayer. Not exactly dinner-party conversation for most people, I’m aware. But we are mortal, and sooner or later there comes a time in all of our lives when we must think about these things.
I wonder what you all think about prayer. When we pray for someone’s healing, what are we hoping for? A miraculous physical recovery? A narrow escape from the surgeon’s knife? Or the grave?
I admit, when I pray for someone who is ill, I believe that prayer can lead to all of the above. I don’t think this is wrong . . . in fact, science is beginning to uncover proof to show that our cells can be changed by emotion, thought, and feeling — all of which can be affected through prayer.
But, what happens when it doesn’t? Does our faith shatter? Do we believe God has abandoned us? Or decide that there is no God at all? I think our ideas about prayer need to be more expansive if we are to be convinced as to why we should even bother.
I realize this is a way bigger conversation than is appropriate for a little reflection, but if I may, I want to offer one little nibble for thought. Imagine for a moment that our mortality and all the limitations that come with it were not, in fact, a result of our sin. Imagine instead, that they are part of God’s design for us, and that the sin is in denying it.
If this is the case then mortal frailty and limitation is actually something to embrace, and an opportunity to enter into deeper relationship with our Creator. And if this is so, then prayer is the doorway into that relationship.
I definitely don’t have all the answers. But I pray anyway. I pray because it draws me closer to the God I adore. I pray for all of you because I carry you in my heart, and because I believe that in ways we don’t understand, God blesses the people we love, and the whole world through the prayers we offer in faith.
. . . and, I hope that you will pray for me too, a sinner.