Tempus Passionis


God is in your faces
God is in your voices

A friend of mine was in town this week, but not under the most pleasant of circumstances. (If you could pray for him and his family, that would be excellent.)
We were hoping that we'd have a chance to hook up for a night of revelry fellowship this weekend, but it didn't work out. We did, however, get to talk just long enough to exchange prayer requests — and that was very good.

My friend told me* that it wasn't the change that prayer effected in his life that he was thankful for right now — not the miraculous outcomes, the shifting of time and space to solve his problems — so much as the hope and peace that comes from knowing that his friends are praying for him.

I wasn't quite sure how to respond to that.
Maybe I'm still unsure.
Maybe that's why I'm sitting in a café with a notebook and a pen instead of down the street and around the corner, at the feast. Then again, maybe I'm already at the feast.

Sunday morning, Wednesday evening, it's all the feast. We come together not because our prayer changes the world; we come together and our prayer changes the world.
“What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."

We are God's face.
We are God's voice.

We are the branches of the vine, and our charitable love, our joyful celebration, our reconciling peace, our enduring patience, our perfectly-timed kindness, our helpful goodness, our tested and true faithfulness, our careful gentleness, and our disciplined self-control are all the fruit of that vine, growing out of us and in our work.

Our hearts are like stones, dry and chiselled and barren. Christ has spoken to the stone, and a wellspring of living water pours out — his water. Tears are something to cherish, like water in a drought; but Christ takes one step further than Moses: Christ takes water and makes it wine. Christ takes a funeral and makes it a wedding feast.

Feasting. That's what God does in us, through us. That's what fruit is for.

And so I feel a hypocrite, sitting here with my notebook and my pen. I stay away from the feast. I go to buy gold, and I go to drink the wine; I take a detour from my highway to change my garment for a robe of glory, but what then? I get back on the highway. I sit in my café, and I ponder it all with a sense of ironic distance.

I've never felt a part of the feast, but my friend reminded me this week that I am a part of it. Every fervent prayer does have great effect, every word of kindness comes at the right moment, and every moment of that patience counts; my fruit is a part of the wine. My life is a part of the feast.
Thanks, e. I hope you got as much out of this as I did.

Come one, come all; let's have a feast!

*the author makes no claim to any accuracy in representations of conversation with actual people, and takes no responsibility for any misapplication of theological, scriptural, or liturgical concepts.


Anonymous said...

it's true -- we can easily se the kingdom as famine or feast, and it is always the feast. he has prepared a banquet for me in the presence of mine (and his) enemies after all.

however, let me state this clearly - i do believe that prayer can change things. i also believe that G-d allows people to exercise their own will. and will allow them free rein to experience the repercussions of that, much as he wants us to experience the rewards of submitting to his will.

i cherish my friends' prayers because at least i can try to receive what G-d has for me to change and shape me. i can vouch for no other man.

thank you, daniel, for i know that you will pray for me. whenever. i know you will pray.

Daniel Jackson said...

Right, thanks for making that note. I guess I might have come off a little too far on the "radical Heresy" side in the post...
Maybe that's what I get for drinking coffee on Sundays.