Prayer for the world(and my little corner of it)
The 2014 Sochi Olympics have reminded us once again that the world is much bigger than we thought. The endless, forested mountains of Russia and the Erector-set-like quality of the city built for these Olympic Games seem to emphasize the enormity and self-contained power of the country that spans the other side of the world from where I sit and write these words.
The notion of the planet being so huge and its inhabitants being essentially disconnected is a pre-modern one. That idea belongs to a generation that has little or no concept of reading a blog on the internet or even a newspaper that is available worldwide. Because of that historic disconnection, autocrats and barbarians could do as they pleased without the interruption of foreign moral watchdogs or media approval ratings. For better or worse, empires and tribes could rise and fall from power in isolation. Pain and terror and injustice could reign in places unexplored by other people or defended by geography or weaponry.
Even in our time of being über-connected, nothing has really changed. There are still autocrats and terrorists but they no longer wage their reigns of terror in geographical spaces. They wage them in each of our minds and hearts. For all our ‘social’ media and our progressive belief in what’s right those who are power-hungry fear mongers have struck to the core of our beings. As a result, what is best in each of us has gone further underground. The place where we authentically live and love, work and play is covered by layers of emotions and rationalizations that we put up in self-defense. Our creativity, natural optimism and intelligence and our ability to hope have been locked deep within the forested hills of our hearts. Our lives are lived in shakily built construction of what other people think, how other people react and in the fog of fundamental attribution error (what we think other people think and that’s an accident waiting to happen).
There is a place and Person beyond the muddled, herky-jerky world of our pre-modern, modern, postmodern and post-postmodern existence. There is a hand that set the earth on its perfectly titled axis and gently set it spinning. Not content with that simple, mechanical action, that person who is Holy Love came to infuse each of us with the simple breathing of prayer for the whole world and our little corner of it. At its best, that breath of prayer is our breath of life shared with other people in connection and hope and creativity. When we breathe that Air, our lives become places of authenticity, safety and reason. God is acting in and through our lives and we don’t even realize it. When we finally do we can work and play and pray with God and each other to live, as the Velveteen Rabbit said, for real.
This is my prayer this morning for the world and my little corner of it – that Holy Love will give us eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to beat, hands and feet to move all in the midst of that Holy Love so that every breath we take and the lives we live with and for each other can be ‘for real’.