Sharp About Your Prayers

the challenges, absurdities, and joys of an urban faith

Sharp About Your Prayers header image 2


January 28th, 2016 · No Comments · Faith and the City

This past Monday put me in a grumpy mood.

Unknown-2After dropping my son off at school, I negotiated icy sidewalks and slush clogged intersections trying to make my way back to the subway. It was a ridiculous mess. Trudging along in single file with other commuters and school children, I began muttering about scofflaws who had not shoveled their walks and bus stops that were completely inaccessible.

At 108th and Columbus, I waited my turn and climbed a five-foot mound of snow. Descending, I paused to consider how best to jump out into the crosswalk. Evidently, I made a poor choice. My ankle twisted. Executing an awkward pirouette, I fell sideways into a six-inch deep pool of black slush.

As the filthy, frosty water soaked through every layer of my clothes, my first thought (I kid you not) was: “This is the Mayor’s fault!” Blaming the Mayor, by the way, is a good way to test whether or not you are a seasoned New Yorker. If something bad happens to you in the city, anywhere, at any time, what should you do? If you have spent five years or more in Gotham, odds are that your knee-jerk, purely reflexive response will be: “Why do we have such an inept City Hall?!”

On Monday, however, I did not have an opportunity to breakfast on bitterness for very long. Not long at all. In seconds, I was surrounded by a group of junior high students. “Whoa,” said one, “Are you alright?” Quickly, hands reached out and I was helped to my feet by a group of kids who looked like they could pose for a United Nations poster highlighting diversity.

They escorted me to the other side of the street, asked again if I was ok, and headed off to school. As I scraped ice off my pants and rubbed my sore elbows, I marveled at these teenage Good Samaritans. They had helped me up, but even more importantly, they had redeemed me from my own simmering anger.

Is it that simple? Can the fires of frustration and anger be fueled by something so basic as slush and a stumble? Can they be just as quickly doused by something so ordinary as a helping hand?

I don’t want to be a Pollyanna, but my experience this week has made me think. We all tend to believe our particular anger is righteous, but what if the anger in our hearts isn’t righteous at all? What is it is small-minded and selfish? What if God is trying to tug us free from its unhealthy grip and toss us back into life with an entirely different attitude?

This Sunday we are going to continue our conversation about the current set of challenges afflicting public discourse in this country and we are going to talk about what our faith can do to help us out of the slush.

See you in worship,


Facebook Comments

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Tags: ·····

No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.