To wrap up, Part Three, Some requests. (a total of 7)
- Teach us to number our days aright. As I mentioned before, we are good at numbering. We can count hours and days and years rather well. But the reality of numbering our days aright seems to be more about perspective, how to value the days and years allotted. Some of us have very productive years: pursuing vast education, amassing fortunes, discovering scientific breakthroughs which prevent or cure disease, making the world a better place for posterity. But others of us gradually deteriorate with ALS. multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, or endure quadriplegia and other diminishing conditions. Life is not even-handed. It’s as reliable as a roulette wheel: all we can be sure of is the spinning part. So in the the face of this inequity, and since we are saddled with Someone who isn’t interested in leveling the playing field, it makes sense that we should attempt to gain perspective. See if there is something we might have missed. What exactly is involved in numbering our days aright?
- Help us gain a heart of wisdom. This is part of the outworking of numbering the days. But it goes further and makes an assumption. If our perspective is enhanced, we may become wise. Wisdom is one of those old-fashioned things. It seems more suited for people who don’t deal with transgender issues, same-sex marriages, the whole sexual revolution of this century. Wisdom sets itself up as the know-all, understand-all, got-this-figured attitude. Wisdom sounds like a good thing. But it is severely restraining. It has certain aristotelean qualities: like absolute truth. We are much more aware and open-minded in this post-modern world, to assume anything like absolutes. But if there is a type of wisdom that won’t box us in or demand too much of us intellectually, we are interested. What we don’t want is to have to let go of our hard-earned tolerance and appreciation for the variety of outlooks and cultures we have in this world. We don’t approve of the lack of understanding for those who do things differently: widow burning and amputation for retribution are the business of those cultures. Who are we to decree what is right and wrong for those who see the world differently than we do? We do, indeed, want a heart of wisdom, but on our terms--conforming to our understanding of what wisdom is.
- Relent. Have compassion. Yes, please. Since You are God and made us and everything, You are well aware that we are very tiny little guys in the whole scheme of things. Give us a break, won’t You? You made us. You love us, or so we have been led to believe. What’s with the Heavy Hand? We don’t really have the power and authority we’d like to think we do. We put on a good show. But we have a hard time putting things to rights after we’ve messed up. And it’s even harder when we’re trying to clean up someone else’s mess. Please, relax the pressure. Our lives are miserable enough. Relent. We need a breather.
- Satisfy us (wow) We are a pretty insatiable mob. We reach out and grab for gusto: ours and others’. We earn and want more. We buy and consume at a prodigious rate. Bottom line: we can never get enough. Not enough food, clothing, technology, education, stuff, travel, beauty, sex, money, anything. We are bottomless pits, black holes. Our desires are simple: encore. Just a little bit more. Can you? Satisfy? in the morning (wow) There is a morning every day. So we’re just asking for daily satisfaction. You should be able to come up with that, right? For a planet of people who are all about themselves and what they want? Their self-actualization and comfort? with Your unfailing love (wow). We are not easily satisfied to begin with. But love alone does not sound like it is going to do it. We love the idea of love. But it doesn’t take away hunger pangs, cure disease, pay the bills, keep us warm (or cool if it’s summer time), shelter us from weather, or do any of those practical things that we need for basic survival. It certainly doesn’t guarantee a decent internet connection! So if You can deliver a daily dose of Love that satisfies us. Big wow. We have no idea what unfailing love is, You see. It sounds wonderful. But all the love we’ve ever known or managed to generate eventually fails. It lets us down and lets down the ones we love or who love us. We fail at so many things we attempt, but love is one thing we fail at notoriously. If Yours is unfailing, this may be something of true value to us. Could You please, regularly top us up with Your high-octane, unleaded, super-detergent Love just so we can make it?
- Make us glad. You know: happy. Content. At peace. Satisfied. Rested. Home. We have been afflicted for days and suffered for years. Trouble is our middle name. We have burdens. We are slaves, all of us, slaves to someone or something. We have addictions. We’ve been brutalized or abused. Oppression is no stranger to this planet. Those of us who haven’t been victims have probably been perpetrators. And we are all in need of something very Holy. Some Holy Gladness. Something that will wipe away the ugliness and sordidness of broken lives and destroyed relationships. Can You just make us glad? A little glad? A taste of what glad might mean in Your dictionary?
- Show us Your deeds. Show us Your splendor. We want to see something very spectacular. You used to show Your people mighty miracles. They were so long ago and far away that they have the aura of myth around them. Many important theological types are finding ways to explain away these supernatural stories. But we are kids at heart. Just look at the movies we watch. We want to be amazed and we want the impossible to come true. We love the saved-at-the-last-minute stories. Don’t burden us with the responsibility of being adults. We aren’t ready for the heavy stuff. We want to be mesmerized with You crashing in on humanity: bigger than life. Be our cosmic super-hero. We peek at Your wild ride of freeing the Israelites from Egypt. We love the story of You piling tons of Red Sea water up against gravity so they could walk through “on dry ground.” We love the dry ground part; we know how long it takes ground to dry. Show us again how you fed millions bread, meat, and water in a desert. For forty years! We can do disaster relief and aid in this century. We can even make some projects last forty years. But it stretches our resources and we have to deal with donor fatigue. You, on the other hand, kept their clothes and shoes from wearing out. That was a touch of genius. What’s more, You kept them aware of Yourself with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. What was that all about? They could see with their eyes that You were watching out for them. We need some of that in the 21st century. We are feeling a little jaded and surviving modern day plagues isn’t enough to light our miracle candle. About those meter-thick stone walls of Jericho, which You disintegrated with the sound of trumpets blowing. How did you do that without scud missiles? Why were You so prolific with Your superpower back then? We would love to see some of it now, just to know that You really are who You say You are. We don’t expect You to do anything really impossible. LIke Joshua and the sun standing still. We know that the sun doesn’t stand still. The earth doesn’t stop spinning on its axis. We’d all fall off. Not asking for that kind of supernatural. Just something nice and safe--not mind-boggling.
- Favor us, establish what we do. Is it that much to ask? Show us a little favoritism. Establish the works of our hands: make it worthwhile. We are struggling so much to do something worthy. Can You make it happen? Here we are, small enough to be ludicrous, helplessly laughable. But we want to do something. Make a difference. Something that counts. Something to affirm that it was all worth it. Something for You. Can You do that for us, O Creator of all the universes we can and cannot see? Can You make our feeble efforts worthwhile and validate us? Have favor on us.