if only…

P Street. Photo by Mike Maguire at Flickr. Creative Commons License

In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. (Matthew 5:48, MSG)

if only this spiritual life
were about “spiritual things”
i might manage

if only i could cloister myself
to worship, watch, and pray
i might feel competent

if only there were a simple list
rules to guide and bind and lead
i might make the grade

but it’s not just jesus and me…

there are kooks in cars
who cut me off while on their phones
and cause my rage to rise

there are critics in corners
who trash my name behind my back
and rankle my resolve

there are crooks in commerce
who falsely claim and double-deal
and rile my rectitude

and i who am our father’s child
who breathes the air of kingdom new
yet still enfleshed and flawed and frail
must greet and speak and work beside
all manner of neighbor, friend, and foe
and this is where new life must grow —
in soil of human interchange
shaking hands or by hands struck

as heaven’s rain falls on us all

7 thoughts on “if only…

  1. Thank you for reminding me of this prayer.
    Our previous priest prayed this shortly before him leaving our parish.

    (These reminders through your good memory and learning are just some of the the things I will miss about you when IMonk closes.).

    Susan

    Like

  2. “if only this spiritual life
    were about “spiritual things”
    i might manage

    if only i could cloister myself
    to worship, watch, and pray
    i might feel competent

    if only there were a simple list
    rules to guide and bind and lead
    i might make the grade

    but it’s not just jesus and me…”

    brings to mind this,
    from the longing in the prayer of Aidan of Holy Island, Lindisfarne, a ‘tidal island’ attached to the mainland only when the tide receded to form a ‘land bridge’ twice a day.
    But when the tide came in and covered the land bridge, Lindisfarne was once more an ‘island’ isolated from the busy mainland, and the monks were left to pray in peace.

    Here is Aidan’s prayer, written long ago in northern Britain circa 635 A.D.

    “Leave me alone with God as much as may be.
    As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore,
    Make me an island, set apart, alone with You, God, holy to You.

    Then, with the turning of the tide
    prepare me to carry Your Presence to the busy world beyond,
    the world that rushes in on me till the waters come again
    and fold me back to you.””

    Like

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