Prayer Written Hiddenly

Words shared with DMin Online Collegium

DSC_5881I have been captivated for several years by the idea of prayer written hiddenly. I have read about this in a number of places most recently in Jan Richardson’s story of her artist friends who, each time they begin a new painting, take a few moments in quiet with the canvas and then write a prayer on it. After that they begin to paint.

As we talk about owning our story here and as I write my report for our upcoming annual meeting I recall that my first sermon in this place was about our lives as text through which the text of the One we give our hearts to shows. I used the image of a palimpsest. All this to say that hidden words have captivated me. They have become a part of my story.

I have referred often to the stresses and anxieties that have gripped one of the congregations with whom I am in ministry. My antidote to that has been a kind of holding space, an encouragement of congregational spiritual practices. So, several weeks ago, I asked the contractors who have been renovating the old town hall we’ll be moving into whether we could be allowed in for an hour to write prayers on the walls before they are painted. I suspect the contractors haven’t been asked this often but they were very gracious. I tended this for several weeks with the congregation and on Tuesday last in we went.

I share with you this video, perhaps a comment in itself on the twining of ministry and technology. [Video:  Prayer Under it All.] It seems a simple thing this hour that we shared, people coming and going, people who couldn’t be there sending their prayers to those who could, people imagining sitting in that space when the prayers were covered over.

This is me ‘owning a part of my story’. This is my research giving me courage to open myself to spill out what is inside me. This simple hour held wonder and grace and gratitude for me. I recall it in all the rolling words offered in the collegium this week, ex voto, retablo, levare, techne, porre.

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