9.04.2010

The Honour of Your Presense is Requested

Growing up in (mostly) evangelical churches (also Catholic ones-- have we talked about what a mutt I am?), I was taught that there was nothing too big or small to pray for, nothing God might not do. Anything could happen when you prayed. I prayed over all kinds of things. Later, I was taught by an Episcopal priest that either God loves us, or God is omnipotent, but there's too much suffering in the world for both to be true. I tried to receive and share God's love, but I stopped asking for help in tough situations.

I've gone back to praying about everything. First of all: WOW, does that feel better.

But I've wondered-- what can God really do? I believe in free will, I don't think that God overrides our decisions and turns us into little robots. What I've landed on, instead, is that God is continually offering invitations. God doesn't control, but God invites, and those invitations are powerful. I've thought in terms of God's invitations to me for years now (what else is spiritual direction about?!), but somehow I hadn't taken that next logical step of finding hope in God's invitations to everyone.

A loved one has suffered from mental illness for many years. She will not, or cannot, see how her behavior, her rage and her recklessness, affects her family. I don't believe that God will magically cure the illness overnight, but when I believe that God is offering invitations to her (and will not stop offering them), I finally have hope that there might be healing.

A couple does not know how to love their son, and in fact might not know what love is at all. The invitations keep coming, though.

I believe God works like a loving parent who stands across the room, arms open wide, waiting for a child's first steps. I don't believe God forces us, shoves us, holds puppet strings. Our job, then, is to listen for the invitations, accept them as they come, and rest in the confidence that others are being invited, too.

4 comments:

  1. on retreat I imagined many a time (having been directed to do it the first) that Sophia asked me to 'Step Inside Her House' and that is where I found that "Ring of Fire'

    It unfolds and we hope to catch a few of the invitations along the way.

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  2. I love your thealogy and metaphors here, and the freedom and hope you are finding in praying in the fullness that your heart desires again.

    I hate that you were taught otherwise by a priest!

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  3. Firstly, I love the quote above the comment box *chuckle*
    Secondly, I was raised (am still) Evangelical/non-denominational. But I have many friends in every other christian denomination plus many MANY Catholic relatives XD So I can relate to you on that level!

    Thirdly, I completely agree with you on the theology. But it's not a question with me about whether God gives us free will. He DOES.
    That's why he had to send Jesus to Die - because then we'd be able to more freely choose Him, or ourselves/the devil. It's up to us.
    The metaphor about the invitation was very well written.
    Kudos to you!

    I just found your blog today, and from what I've read here, I expect to really enjoy reading it.

    Peace!
    -Rae

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  4. Stratoz-- that's really lovely. God's hospitality is SO MUCH a part of my theology.

    Laura-- thank you, thank you! I thought of you as I wrote this, and hoped that you would know that my places of despair/invitations to hope aren't places of judgment.

    Hi, Rae! Welcome, and thanks for reading!

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"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins