Friday, April 27, 2012

The similarity of human thought

I was trying to clean up my clutter from the open counter between our kitchen and living room, where all the paperwork and unread mail accumulates. I was about to throw away our church's Lenten "prayers for courage and change" which consists of submissions by church members of prayer requests. But, of course, I had to flip through it just one more time. I was looking to see if I could figure out what my husband turned in. I haven't found his yet, but I found others that I could swear that I wrote. Or if not, they tuned perfectly with my heart. (meaning, they probably weren't written by him, ha!)

It wasn't hard to spot my own submission! It stood out: wordy, with a bit of dramatic flair. It had me written all over it!

When we meet in groups in my church, I am usually reminded of all our differences. I'm more liberal than many (though not all!) our members. Our political views tend to be opposite, though again, there are a number of people who think more like me (this is one thing I love about United Methodism -- that it can attract free thinkers better than probably any other mainstream Christian denomination).

However, there are times that our common humanity is so apparent that the differences all fade away, for a time, and I truly am capable of loving my neighbors, every one of them -- for a moment, anyhow! One such time is during communion at church. I can't express in words the way that communion affects me. It "embodies" the spiritual power of grace. It brings it into the body, which is why it is such a powerful ritual. Any spiritual practice that is disconnected from the body is sadly lacking. When we each eat bread and have a bit of "wine" (grape juice), representing the body and blood of Christ, God truly does become incarnate and the holy presence comes alive.

I look at every other person in the church at such times, and our common bonds -- our joys, our suffering -- are so apparent to me. I see grace shining on every person, and the divinity of every person shines out at that moment, overcoming all human limitations and separation.

Anyhow, here are a few prayers that I could have written, or that I really relate to:

To eat more slowly, and mindfully -- to choose what I eat and how much I eat

Work harder and complain less

To start worrying less about the safety of my family and to have faith that they will be ok

Pray that my wife (spouse) and I have the strength to instill more discipline in our children -- I'll have to ask, this could actually be Dwaine's!

I need courage to not over-commit, prioritize, and say no to some things and some people

This one echoed part of my prayer, which was to stop judging my loved ones:
To be free and not so demanding of those I love. To let things go and just enjoy being with them. Be more like Mary, less like Martha.

This last sentiment sort of contradicts the one about more discipline for the kids. Sigh -- story of my life. Conflicting thoughts, desires, all clamoring for my attention and approval.

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