Another several days have elapsed since morning prayer, though I have participated in communal prayer on the intervening days. As I did so yesterday, it occurred to me: I need to make that a regular part of my prayer life. I love my morning time alone with God, and yet there is something very powerful about joining my prayers with those of others, about letting someone else name them and call them forth from me.
The reading that pierced my side today was from the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 4-- author unknown, but my favorite two theories have it authored by either Lazarus (the one whom Jesus loved and raised) or Priscilla (who knew the way of God most excellently-- more than her husband, anyway). The passages that moved me were, first this:
12Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.
Returning here to the theme of early Lent, in which so much hit me about nakedness, vulnerability, the God-who-sees, as Hagar named El Shaddai in the wilderness. And the word of God has indeed been living and active in me in these 40 days of Lent-- and how, baby. Judging the intentions of my heart. Being laid bare before the One whose opinion, in the end, is the most important.
And then, this passage, a kind of balm for the spirit after the above one has rubbed me raw:
14Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I feel that I am being encouraged, in these last days of Lent, to pray for what I need and want. For most of Lent the theme has been listening, discerning, saying "OK, OK God... Jeez! I get it!" Now it is as if a soothing voice is saying, "Dare to ask me for your heart's deepest desire. Dare to ask me." I don't know that it means that I will get it. But it does mean that what I hope and want counts for something in all this. God sees. God cares. God has my back, after all.
Yesterday morning I awoke from a dream, weeping. I had been walking on the beach with my mother-- a pure visitation, her presence as real as it was when she was living. We were arm-in-arm, arms linked, and I was crying... I was just so, so sad. I was trying to come out to my Dad (that will happen within the next day or so, as I visit him after Easter services). But my mom already knew. She already knew and she was happy for me... so happy for me. And in life, my mother knew Beloved by phone only; as she got a glimmer of the depth of our relationship (and she really did get it, I believe) she turned to Beloved when she was worried about me, and they had many lovely phone calls.
We walked into the ocean and a great wave swept over us, and she was gone. I wasn't worried; I knew she was alright. Oh, I do wish she was here, though. I wish she could walk with me through all this. I suppose she is, and she does. I suppose I just have to tune myself to her presence. She is one source of mercy and grace in my time of need.