Sunday, 25 July 2010

Breathing a prayer

Genesis 10: 20-32
Luke 11: 1-13

Today's readings speak of relationships emboldening prayer.
Abraham was able to barter with God over the souls of the righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah because he was assured that the God he confronted was a God of compassion and of love.
When Jesus taught about prayer, at his disciples' behest, he didn't merely give a formula, albeit a formula that takes in the whole of creation and desires justice and wholeness. But Jesus went even further than that. He placed his teaching within the context of relationships. Jesus acknowledged that it's easier to give - and to receive - when we know the one who makes the requests or when we trust the one of whom we ask.
So prayer is not about rule or rote or posture or position but about relationship and trust.
And the God of all creation invites intimacy.
I was very conscious of that intimacy last week in Switzerland.
As each day's beauty literally took my breath away I felt as close to God as breathing.
Surrounded by such majesty, how could the God of all nature be more than a heart beat away?

This sense of the amazing presence of God came into very real focus one evening, high up on a Swiss mountain as the gentleman pictured played Go tell it on the mountain on the alpine horn.
I discovered later that Fritz was, for forty years, bandmaster in the Salvation Army. We encountered him providing musical entertainment on a Swiss cultural evening.
For Fritz, it was just another opportunity to witness to the God who is very real for him.
He did that simply, through beautiful music played in an awesome setting.
Confident that the God he knew was close enough to be revealed in majesty.
The God of all creation encourages us into relationship and invites us to get as close as breathing so that every breath is a prayer.
Thanks be to God.

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