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Prayer of the Bánfaith February 1, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Books, Prayer.
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Came across this prayer in Scarlet, Book 2 of Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven Trilogy (pp.243-244). Hope it touches your spirit as powerfully as it touched mine; even more, I hope that you can join me in making it your prayer:

O Wise Head, Rock and Redeemer,
In my deeds, in my words, in my wishes,
In my reason, and in the fulfilling of my desires, be Thou.
In my sleep, in my dreams, in my repose,
In my thoughts, in my heart and soul always, be Thou.
And may the promised Son of Princely Peace dwell,
Aye! in my heart and soul always.
May the long awaited Son of Glory dwell in me.

In my sleep, in my dreams, in my repose,
In my thoughts, in my heart and soul always, be Thou.
Thou, a bright flame before me be,
Thou, a guiding star above me be,
Thou, a smooth path below me be,
And Thou a stout shield behind me be,
Today, tonight and ever more.
This day, this night, and forever more
Come I to Thee, Jesu —
Jesu, my Druid and my Peace.

I guess it’s the idea of Jesus as Druid that connects with me most powerfully: not some majestic, other-worldly Lord of the Universe but a fellow human being on the same journey through life with me, yet one who has already touched the mystery, upon whom I can call to sustain me in my journey.

Walking with him, the veil is thinner and hope grows stronger.

Screaming inside… September 15, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Life Issues, Poetry, Theological Reflection.
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The Scream

The Scream

… as another friend is diagnosed with breast cancer.

Watching, waiting, hoping, praying… wondering at the futility of praying to a God who seems to have already opted out of the situation … is not the God we cry to for healing the same God who — if s/he is the God so many Christians, so many passages of the Bible, so much of the Church crack him/her up to be — could have prevented the situation?

That God is a myth, a fantasy, a desperate hope … like Father Christmas at Christmas time as we all collude in a massive pretence for the children … we know it’s not true, but we want the magic …

Another friend I spoke to asked me — if the God I wanted to be real, was real, what would that God be like? This poem emerges from that question …

The God I want God to be
would not allow
such things to be

The God I want my God to be
would sit a child
upon her knee
and gently speak
then set her free…

That child would learn
to walk alone
yet never lonely be
that child would soon
become full grown
and fully adult she
would dance
and sing
and joyful be
and tears of grief
would never flow —
she would not know
such things could be.

… and still, deep inside, I scream, and the echo of that scream, repeated by a billion other voices, haunts my dreams…

Here, in between May 6, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Theological Reflection.
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This morning, my prayers fell apart.

In some ways, that’s not unusual: my prayer life is a little ragged at best. Often, as I’m walking along, attempting to pray, my mind wanders off in all sorts of strange directions. Sometimes I manage to grab hold of it and turn those wandering thoughts back to God and say to him (or her, but in my mind God is usually male so I’ll stick with ‘him’ for now), here’s what’s bothering me just now, and those odds & ends become part of my prayers.

But this morning, I came to a bit of a standstill. I opened my prayer book and read through the opening lines for ‘Prayer During the Day: Easter Season’:

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

If I climb up to heaven, you are there;
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.

“But what about now?” I thought. That’s fine, that you’re up there when I’m on a high, on the top of the world, looking down and around at the vastness of the universe. That’s fine that you’re there when I’m down, when I’m in the pits and all I can see is hills too steep and walls too high to climb and there’s no one else to turn to anyway. 

That’s fine.

But where are you now? Here, in between. Where are you now, when I’m here, on the side of the hill, when I’m like the soldiers in the ‘Grand Old Duke of York‘ and I’m neither up nor down?

Where are you now, in the hum-drum ordinariness of today, when the sun isn’t shining but the rain isn’t falling and there’s no rainbow promising that you won’t do it again — if you even did it in the first place?

Where are you now, my God? Here, in between, my imaginary friend…

He herd my cry… April 26, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Theological Reflection.
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Just came across a wonderful typo on a post about waiting:

Wait…and Other Four-Letter Words

David wrote: “I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, and herd my cry.” Psalm 40:1. I researched the verse a bit because the word “waited” popped out at me. Of course, any derivative of the word has been popping out at me for some time: wait, waiting, waited. In this particular verse, waited patiently means (in the modern vernacular), “I waited, and waited, and waited…”

I’ve always loved U2’s rendition of Psalm 40, but the thought of God herding our cries kinda lends a whole new meaning to the concept of prayer: does s/he herd our prayers like a shepherd at the sheepdog trials, arranging them in amazing formations?

Or more like a farmer, herding the cows in to be milked, knowing that his or her own livelihood depends on getting it right?

Or is it the final track, herding them off to the knacker’s yard? Hmmm. Let’s not go there — being milked is ominous enough…

Head on over to the original post at Write His Message; after the four-letter word that popped out at me, it’s well worth a read.

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