I got in trouble the first time I did the online journal at Barclay Press. I didn’t follow the rules. Evidently, I was supposed to “pretend” that I was pouring out my soul into a diary that through some freak of nature ended up online for other people to read. I wasn’t supposed to actually acknowledge any of you that might be reading, I was just supposed to keep the pretend wall in place and write as if no one was looking, even though people were looking. And I got called for the online equivalent of basketball’s fragrant foul or football’s intentional facemask. Bruce Bishop yelled and screamed at me that I wasn’t supposed to actually SAY anything directly to you, the reader. Ok, he just mentioned it. Bruce doesn’t yell and scream. But really, I’m a law abiding citizen, so other than this first paragraph, where I am, obviously, not only acknowledging that you actually exist but am directing my writing toward you, like a conversation…other than this first paragraph, which is already getting really long, I am going to be a good little boy and obey the rules. At least for today. And pretend that I’m just journalling about my day, and not talking to you. And when I journal, I usually do so in the form of a prayer. So here I go.
I’m really thankful for connections with people lately, for the ways you’ve given me that gift. Thanks for the ongoing connection with the _______’s, walking with them through their confusion and pain. Be with me as I meet with ________ and try to listen and speak your grace and be community for him.
Thanks for the chance to finally follow up, after literally months, with B________. Tonight, may she see you as you really are; may the world and all its evil not overwhelm her and block out your presence for her. Give me direction and wisdom, as I know there will be more chances to speak your hope to her.
And I’m literally amazed at the way you ordained the connection tonight with S__________. My plans were to be at church, but it was clear that you had something else in mind. Thanks for the joy I found in being able to be your representative in that conversation.
It’s still weird to me that even though I serve as pastor of a peace church, I will still be working on MLK’s birthday. Thanks for an appropriate way to honor it this weekend when Elaine and I finally watched Amazing Grace. You know how movies like that dredge up well-worn conversations in my head, God. You know I want to make a difference in the world, you know I want to serve you, you know I fear both unhealthy, detrimental-to-my-family workaholism…and you know I fear a life of regret, of being the one who buried his talent in the sand rather than putting it to work and at risk for you. I’m too tired to sort it out or rehearse the familiar lines of argument. I simply offer my life to you, my day to you. May I live for you and be used by you in the lives of whoever you have for me today.