I got to chat about church and theology (loosely) tonight. It has been awhile and it felt good. I have decided I love the church staff at City Church. I caught myself a few times with snide remarks that were a bit too harsh and cutting towards other believers in the city and in the U.S. I confess I hope that I am not judged as I have judged. The standards I have set are too high and often unfair. Still, the staff seemed supportive and interested in my thoughts and I enjoyed their company.
Still, today was another day that my relationship with God hit me like a brick wall. I participated in the Eucharist without an issue, I sang most of the words of most of the songs at church, I told the story of Elijah with authentic joy, but when I went back to church this evening for a leaders meeting and was asked to split into small groups to pray I slipped off to the ladies room. I couldn't authentically participate. I could have prayed with close friends, but I couldn't pray with strangers or church members I don't know yet.
My time in the ladies room was wonderful. I ran into a friend and got caught up on exciting news. Later we walked together and she affirmed that she thinks God is doing something in me that I don't understand. That felt good to hear, until I heard some of my own bitter words sneak past my lips and I wonder if I am really moving towards greater love.
This morning I told the story of God coming to Elijah in a whisper. I was struck by the fact that God went to where Elijah was hiding and spoke to him, provided for him and eventually revealed Him/herself to him. God could handle Elijah's fear, anger and accusations. God could deal with the fact that even after all the great works God had done Elijah was running and hiding scared.
So tonight's prayer might be a bit on the accusatory side, but it is also a confession. I plan to balance it out with other people's prayers, because to be honest I believe God can handle my frustration, but I am not sure I can.
cynicism sneaks out of well crafted phrases
snide remarks and haughty gazes
I am exposed
bitter and jaded
all pretense has faded
as I confess
this is my unrest
crying out for care
you are not there
not in the steeple
not in the pews
not in the churches I am accustomed to
I have not found you
you have been untrue
your faithfulness once brought tears to my eyes
now songs of love feel like lies
hope feels like despair
looking for you to hold me
you are not there
With all of this going on in my soul and mind; I am asking God: Be here.