Monday, May 21, 2018

Prayer Is Essential


Every year, I get to the Monday after Pentecost, the first day after Easter, and think, "I've missed green." The Daily Office this week, except for the lesser feasts that fall on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, is back to ordinary time, which I've missed. But, by the time Sunday gets here, when we celebrate the feast of the Holy Trinity, we will be back to white again. Still, it's good to be ordinary again, back to the repetitious prayers that draw us ever closer to God.

In fact, as we approach Trinity Sunday, prayer seems to be of particular importance. In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes, "When we cry, 'Abba! Father!' it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." Notice carefully the logic that Paul uses. Although we might be the ones crying "Abba! Father!" it is actually the Spirit that is testifying within us, and the Spirit testifies that we are children of God and, thus, heirs with Christ. That we can call God our Father is a statement of our sonship (anyone have a better word for this?), yet we do not have the authority to make that claim on our own--only God himself can make it in us through the Spirit. Our identity as children of God and, as Paul goes on to explain, our identity as those united to Christ, is itself a statement made in and a reality experienced in Spirit-led, Spirit-articulated prayer.

This Sunday, we seek to praise God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We do not seek to understand God. No one can understand God. God is infinite--without bound or limit. No one can circumscribe God with one's mind. No one can contain God in mental apprehension. But we can approach God in prayer. We can allow God to move and speak in and through us. Through prayer, we can be drawn by God into the divine life and participate in the Holy Trinity and, thus, be forever changed. That might feel like it's a bit much to accomplish in church on Sunday morning, but it's what we do every week. God meets us and, by the Spirit which prays in us, draws us into God's self so that our union with Christ may become a union with God.

This is one of those weeks when we can pray it better than the preacher can say it. Let the beauty of our worship and the power of our prayer transport us not only into God's presence but into God's self. Yes, it's Memorial Day. Yes, it's the first weekend of summer. Yes, the congregation is likely to be smaller than usual. But don't skimp. This is a day when we need the fullness of what we do as the people of God. We need the depth of our worship and prayer to draw us in so that Trinity Sunday is more than a day on the liturgical calendar. If we are to worship the trinity of persons in unity of substance, a concept which escapes our understand, we need God to help us, and prayer is how we set ourselves apart to receive that help.

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