What is prayer? When I was growing up I thought prayer was asking God for stuff and also asking him to forgive me for all my sins. Which were (I was sure) many. As I got older I saw prayer as an ongoing dialog between me and the Holy Spirit. I was able to find my balance through prayer. I didn't have to pretend to be anybody else or even to bring my "list" of stuff I want. I found that at times prayer was just "being" stillness and even walking and listening. I also found that instead of getting more religious my prayer life allowed me to be more open to the idea that God really was love. Not that God "had" love. God didn't "have" being. God didn't even have gender. I was able to see "God" in hope and in tragedy. I had a radical thought but it came later in life. I still remember reading the "Gadsden Times" that's the paper from the city of my birth. Back in the day when people still read the "paper" to get news and information that they wouldn't otherwise have. Anyway, I was young and I came across an article. It was called "The Wild God." Must have been one of the Sunday religious sections or something that the paper used to have.
Anyway, the Wild God! What did that mean? Could God be wild? I mean I knew that Walnut Park Baptist from Vacation Bible School back in the day. Cherry Street Baptist where I was baptized as a youth. The Church of God of Prophecy where my Grandmother raised me. These places didn't really teach a "Wild God." There was a very proper method for understanding "God" and it involved reading the bible and going to church and asking forgiveness. But, if God could be "wild" then all bets were off. Lets have a little decorum here. Still, that phrase stuck with me.
I found God wasn't a fortune teller or an angry old man. I found that the very source of my being was in a state of rest and motion and living in God. He/She/Holy Spirit wasn't "Out there" or "up there" I was one with my love, my being. There were no "secrets" But there was a sanctuary where only the Holy Spirit had the "right" to be with me. I didn't have to be good or leave my unclean thoughts at the door. I could be myself and only the holy spirit had the authority to enter this sanctuary of my inner being.
I sometime think that we are on an eternal journey of discovering new aspects of God. Maybe that's what eternity is. Not a static place where we know everything. But,, an eternal quest or journey from knowing to knowing as we find more aspects of the one we call "God." I mean, I don't know but it makes as much sense as any other kind of evolution.
Back to my "radical" thought. What if real love wasn't always the hero "rescuing" his/her beloved from danger. What if real love wasn't always the firefighter rushing into the building and dragging somebody out just in time. What if real love was...Well, remember the cross? I know we say things like "Jesus will save us from tribulation or Jesus will keep us from getting sick." But, what did the Devine do? If you are a Christian and I know there are some these days that would question my use of the word. I'm not a very fundamentalist Christian these days. I think gay people have a right to marry if they want too. I think women have the right to choose to be a mother ( a holy choice to be sure, but still their choice.) I don't vote conservative republican and I find most of the conservative agenda to be more "Anti Christ" than Christian. But, back to the cross. This is where I get my radical thought from.
Maybe, true love is laying down (remember the cross?) one's own safety and power. Maybe true love is going into the building and seeing that you can't just pull the person you love out. Maybe true love is setting down beside the person that you can't pull out and just being with them. Even to the point of giving up life or riches. Even to the point of death.
So, when I go to a funeral or I hear something bad happening to good people. Sure I pray. I pray for justice and balance and hope. But, I don't feel anger at God. Because I know that in the midst of the funeral or the hurting of an innocent that somehow "God" inhabits that. God doesn't balance the books every Thursday at 5:00 PM. But, we will get there. And in the grief and the quiet and the noise if we can just "listen" and "Look" Love will be there.
I honestly do feel that the day I shuffle off this mortal coil and cross that icy stream that I will walk into the sanctuary where only "love" has authority.