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Showing posts from January, 2019

praying with Jesus

When you search for images of someone praying, you see a lot of this: person with hands folded, head bowed, eyes closed, on their knees, with a Bible. Interestingly, their mouths are usually closed. However, conversing with the Creator is so much more than the standard pictures suggest.

I recently finished Eugene Peterson's book, Tell It Slant. In the latter half of the volume, he deals with the prayers of Jesus. As I was reading, I realized that for much of my life, I have seen prayer as a task, a responsibility, a job, a burden, a required discipline for all who claim to follow Jesus. But Jesus never presents prayer like that. When his disciples make the request, "Teach us to pray," Jesus starts off with, "Our Father..." He makes use of the inclusive pronouns "us" and "we." Instead of giving the disciples a task, Jesus invites them to join him in what he is doing: communing with the Father. Perhaps prayer is not so much a spiritual discip…

prepare

Prepare the way of the Lord.

These are rather familiar words in the Christian tradition. In the gospels, they refer to the ministry of John the Baptist, a prophet proclaiming the coming Messiah, but the original context is a promise of deliverance found in Isaiah 40.

"A voice is wailing,
'In the wilderness, get it ready! Prepare the way; make it a straight shot. The Eternal would have it so.
Straighten the way in the wandering desert
to make the crooked road wide and straight for our God.
Where there are steep valleys, treacherous descents, raise the highway; lift it up;
bring down the dizzying heights.
Fill in the potholes and gullies, the rough places.
Iron out the shoulders flat and wide.
The Lord will be, really be, among us.
The radiant glory of the Lord will be revealed.
All flesh together will take it in. Believe it.
None other than God, the Eternal, has spoken.'" (Isaiah 40, The Voice)

This section of Isaiah (chapters 40-48) was written during Israel's e…