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
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.