Thursday, June 4, 2015

Simple Surrender

Welcome to the “long green season after Pentecost,” a season during which we work to grow in Christian discipline and our Anglican identity. The following prayer, taken from the 1514 book of hours used at Clare College in Cambridge, is a wonderful meditation for
this purpose. This prayer has been set to music (H- 694) and whenever I read it, it is the sung version which prays in me:

"God be in my head and in my understanding; God be in my eyes and in my looking; God be in my mouth and in my speaking; God be in my heart and in my thinking; God be at my end and at my departing."

One of the things that moves me about this prayer is that it is a prayer of simple surrender. In this prayer we invite God to come into our unguarded soul. Such an invitation requires faith - faith in the tender mercy of God who loves us, delights in us, desires communion with us, and protects us. We have precious few opportunities in the world to safely learn or practice this, but isn’t that what church is for? In prayer, in the presence of God, whether alone or in community, we can trust enough to let go of all fear, control, and goals…and just rest in the presence of God.

By this prayer we open ourselves to be aware of God’s Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, in all we think, do, know, see, perceive, and say. When we ask God to be in our ‘mouths,’ we are connecting to our Judeo-Christian tradition, where God speaks creation into being, and we are asking God to be in all that we speak into being. God speaks (acts) now in and through us, and as Christians, what we are called to speak into our world is the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. We speak this Good News by living it, by proclaiming it, and by being it.

In this prayer, we are asking God to BE… not to DO. So often when we pray, we have a list of things we’d like God to do – for us, for our loved ones, for the world. While intentional prayer is important and transformative, it is also important for us to invite God to be God - in us - transforming us continually, and through us, the world.

Finally, in this prayer we experience the promise of the risen Christ: eternal life… life lived in the eternal presence of God. I believe that it is because of this promise that we can surrender, that we can trust completely and let go totally, knowing that God loves us, delights in us, and desires to BE in us.

As we journey into the “greening” of our soul, as St. Hildegard of Bingen called it, during the season after Pentecost, I offer you this prayer as a daily practice. May it lead us into the grace of God in Christ who is all in all for us.

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