Monday, May 18, 2015

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron.

Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness keep me, I pray, from all things that may hurt me, that I, being ready both in mind and body, may accomplish with a free heart those things which belong to Your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

I am a big fan of fixed prayers.

They are very helpful in wrenching my thoughts away from the temporal, from what will rot or rust and be burned in big heaps to what is of eternal value.

And there is a glorious sense of community, of the Church on bended knee throughout the centuries.

And yesterday was full of corporate prayer, body prayer.

My daily lectio divina. Singing old hymns. Chris’s blessing at the end of the service. Meg Chandler’s reading during the Desert Christian baccalaureate. Crying out at His Feet for the Near East.

And yesterday Wali and his friend Simone drove down from Phoenix to say goodbye to Shaun. He took lots of pictures, which embarrassed Shaun in a good way. And we reminisced a bit of our life together. Who could ever guess this trajectory? And with Wali it always starts with picking him up at the Greyhound station. He had been living in a Colorado town of five hundred with an old Mormon couple who ran the local hardware store, and his first exposure to America was all about baseball and country music.

And he didn’t even go to his own high school graduation, but rather he went to Ali’s at Desert. But we all showed up at his graduation from the University of Arizona in December and cheered after each of his awards. And there were so many long nights, and riding the buses and getting up when it was still dark in order to go to class. And his four jobs. And there was the asylum hearing that Dustin and I went to that was amazingly horrible because of the incompetence of his lawyer. And even now, he comes home from work and studies and studies and is now certified to sell mutual funds in all fifty states. And he and John compared muscles because it is clear both of them work out a lot.

And looking back it is so very easy to see the hand of God at work. Which is a good thing to remember looking forward, plodding through a dark tunnel.

And I talked a bit with Simone. And her grandparents were Catholic. And she whispered to me that she still prays Catholic prayers and was this beautiful service catholic? And really, “Catholic” means all-embracing. Universal. All-encompassing. So I tried to explain my “Yes.” And we have promised to pray for each other and now dear beautiful Simone has been added to my Fixed Prayers list.

And today I read the High Priestly Prayers of Jesus, John 16 and 17, on the night he was betrayed. Which bled into one very long sacrifice. So I read His prayers, His very focused and intentional prayers, His prayers that we, His followers, would be set apart, sanctified, in the truth. And that the love with which the Father has loved the Son may be in us, and He, Jesus, may be in us.

And thus I lift up my mind and body to the LORD, that I may accomplish with a free heart those things which belong to His purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

And one of the Doolen administrators posted on Facebook another prayer of sorts: I will not yell in class. I will not throw things in the class. I will not have a temper tantrum. I will always be good, because I am the teacher. I am the teacher. I am the teacher.

And may the love with which the Father has loved the Son be in me. And He, Jesus, may He be seen in me today.