Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Thy Kingdom Come"

Something I have never thought about until recently is what exactly I am praying for when I pray, "Thy kingdom come."

What do I really mean by that? What am I envisioning? Some kind of Precious Moments figurine with a brown child, a black child, a yellow child, and a pink child holding hands while puppies and kittens roll at their feet? A kind of Shangrila type situation with everyone scampering around paradise in bad polyester tunics and bowl haircuts, singing tunes by Burt Bachrach? What?

"Thy kingdom come."

I do wish for it, fervently.

Right now, it just means, "Please God, let there be this forever and ever. Let there be life for my children and their children and their children and on and on until the sun burns the whole thing out, and even then let them not be afraid, let them go out in a burst of grateful glory, let there be singing in all the cosmos when this whole amazing planetary project is over."

But when I think of the sun burning the whole thing out, I drop into an abyss of existential terror that, if I dwelt on it, would require me to be heavily medicated, so I try to get my mind onto another image pronto.

Thy Kingdom come.
I think,
"Let there be moral evolution. Let there be food for everyone, and some chance for joy and growth and the experience of deep love. Let there be nature in all her splendor, and let us not all be required to move to the Moon because we totally screwed up this planet."

And then I think, "Wait a minute PeaceBang, you big ninny head. THY will be done means that this is about the mind of God, not about the mind of PeaceBang. 'Thy will be done' is not an invitation to talk to God about what you think should happen, but an invitation for you to shut up and listen to the great silence of God."

I heard today that "Be still and know that I am God" could also be translated, "Let go and know that I am God." Is that true, or is it just some mushy seminary thing I'll be ignorantly repeating all over the place because I happen to like it? Hebrew and Greek scholars? Anyone?

I find Christian spiritual practice to be necessary for my life now, like eating and sleeping. This has happened so gradually and over so many years that I didn't notice it happening. I found myself wondering today, "who was I before I started on this path? What was different?"
The fact that I am far less interested in the answer to this question than I am in the answer to the question of what it means to pray "Thy will be done" pretty much says how I'm different. My sense of self is in a different place.

I read with a sense of spiritual support and solidarity (but not similarity) of my dear friends Boy In the Bands and Peregrinato and fellow blogger Shawn's departure from Unitarian Universalism in order to pursue Christian ministry in the Christian church. I hear their criticisms, and I have shared them. Denominational identity is important in ministry, and so is the specificity of tradition. However, I am taking a class right now with UCC seminarians who voice -- occasionally verbatim-- exactly the same concerns and frustrations as do Unitarian Universalists. The liberal church is in trouble. I place no great hope in any particular sect and simply wish for all of us the joy of living out a ministry with a congregation or community that cherishes our gifts and welcomes us fully into its midst.

It doesn't occur to me to say that I will miss James and Scott because where are they going? Nowhere. Yes, it's more collegially convenient to belong to the same ministerial association, but ultimately, we belong to each other. They are my true brothers in faith and different denominational affiliation won't change that.

The rabbi was dying, and his followers gathered around him and wept. He gathered his strength and said, "Why do they weep so?" One of his disciples said, "Rebbe, they weep because you are leaving us."
"Leaving?"asked the rabbi. "Where do they think I could go?"


Blogger Peg said...

PB, I just want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog, and how much I get out of it pretty much every day. In particular I'm grateful that you share on-blog your ongoing spiritual practice, as it's resonating with me in a way that's surprised me. So thank you for sharing.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Thanks, Peg. It's people like you who keep me writing.

Blogger jean said...

Be still=stop striving, relax, let go


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