We like things boxed. Cereal
Candy, soap, gifts, and corpses.
They seem safe when boxed, as are
We. As God and other
Potential dangers. So we
Sleep in a box, awake in
A box, shower in a box,
Refrigerate food, store knives
Drive to work, work for hours, where
We stare each day at boxes,
In boxed lives. Boxed-in we live.
Through boxed windows we look out, in.
God, once boxed, broke out, broke free.
But we keep pushing God back,
Our Jack, popping out on cue,
To music, though it’s not fair.
Nests have birds. Dens have foxes.
God will have none of our small
Boxes. God is free, and we
(by the fictional Pat Miller, quoted in Brian McLaren’s book, ‘The Last Word and the Word After That, p34).
I just came across Chad Holtz’s blog, ‘Dancing on Saturday.’ There’s some interesting and challenging material posted, mainly to do with theology and common (perceived?) misconceptions. In one particular post Chad focuses on how the Bible was used in a past era to justify and defend slavery (and in particular how this relates to how we may chose to use the Bible in defending our own beliefs/belief systems today). He begins:
“It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that our modern (or post-modern) methods and means of interpreting Scripture are new, more fruitful, less hindered by old, out-dated modes of thinking. We are “enlightened,” or so we think, and any rooting around in the hermeneutical methods used by those that have gone before us will certainly reveal tendencies from which we have long since been delivered. This was my assumption. It was challenged upon reading the selected pieces for this essay. Indeed, it seems there is nothing new under the sun.” (Read the rest of this article here.)
I’ve been reading lately about fixed-hour prayer and how the early followers of Jesus used the practice of praying at fixed times of the day to anchor their lives and centre their attention on God. Many interpreted Paul’s exhortation to ‘pray without ceasing’ to be this type of prayer.
Phyllis Tickle wrote an excellent book The Divine Hours and a series of fixed-hour prayer books for the seasons of the year. I’ve been attempting this practice during Lent this year using Phyllis’ book (pocket edition), but I’m finding it difficult to remember when I need to stop and pray. I’ve often reverted back to Scot McKnight’s idea to pray The Lord’s Prayer three set times a day. Even this slips my mind too easily.
Has anyone else tried this kind of prayer? What was your experience like? Did you do anything in particular (successfully) that helped you to remember to pray?