Is Prayer Enough?

30 Sep

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 18 After Pentecost 30 Sept 2012

Is Prayer Enough?

Me:      Lord?

Jesus Christ:   Yes.

Me:      I noticed that in the Gospel lesson for today’s lectionary readings from Mark 9:38-50 when You talked about stumbling blocks (v 42) You did NOT mention “ears.”  You talked about the neck (v 42), hands (v 43), feet (v 45), eyes (v 47), and the worm that never dies (v 48), but You did not mention ears.

Jesus Christ:   True.

Me:      May I have Your ear for a moment while I lament?

Jesus Christ:   Of course, Little One.

Me:      You told me to “share the journey.”  I met with my spiritual director on Monday (24 Sept 12).  She said my journey is real and intense, (as she would know since we’ve been together since the beginning of my calling.)  She said when I share too much it is overwhelming.  I honor that.  We both prayed for our faith to increase.  With the help of the Holy Spirit as we discussed my journey we boiled it down to one sentence: 

“As we come into the Fall of 2012, I have now been 21 Seasons (that’s over five years) praying ten to twelve hours a day in my car for the reconciliation of the Churches.”

Lord, now, I know that Nebuchadnezzar was a tad nuts after God had him hit the road (Dan 4:16), but he only had to endure in the wilderness for seven seasons (Dan 4:25) until he “woke up” and remembered that God is the Most High God.  I’m not crazy; my own sin didn’t get me into this mess; I went into this journey knowing that God is the Most High God and that I wanted to serve Him.  It’s not fair that I have had to endure three sets of seven, weather-beaten seasons (Rev 12:14) praying in my car for the reconciliation of the Churches, because the Churches have been in denial.  (And I was praying in my car well before You ever sent me to the Seven Churches.  I really need a hermitage, but Lord, You even asked for that vision back after You gave it to me in the first place, so I have no comfort from that.  What’s a princess to do?)  I don’t understand, Lord.  I do what You tell me to do and the Church still does nothing.  Both the Episcopal Church and the Catholic Church have Canon Law to make provisions for and to show tangible value of their full-time pray-ers.  I researched “Setting Apart for Special Vocation” back in 2008 after I got “The Call.”  Protections are in the national canons of the Episcopal Church under Title III, Canon 14, section 3.  I have shared this multiple times.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  When a prophet falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear, does she make a sound?

On Tuesday on the very minute of the hour of the start of Yom Kippur You asked me to share my One Sentence this week with the school of prophets.  I sent it at 4:52 pm Jerusalem time (7:52 am Pacific Time), the time when the first candle would have been lit in Jerusalem to celebrate the Day of Atonement.  I offered my life as a prayer.  I trusted You, Lord.  You did say to Abraham and Isaac that You, Yourself, would provide the lamb for the burnt offering, and then the two of them went on together.  (Gen 22:8)  Well, the Church and the Jews have also both gone on together.  You were the Lamb that was sacrificed on the altar.  God didn’t send a ram in Your place like He did to Abraham. (Gen 22:13)  Whazzup with the Churches and the school of prophets?  What are they waiting for?  What “ram” are they waiting for?  There’s a whole lot of “unquenchable fire” going on over here (Mk 9:43, 45, 48) and that doesn’t even include the two verses (vs 44, 46) that our own contemporary Bibles leave out because they’re a repeat of verse 48!

Mk 9:48 where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

Lord, I understand that everyone and every sacrifice is “salted with fire.” (v 419)  That goes along with tenderizing for any BBQ.  But Lord, some of us are getting the whole Morton Salt container dumped upon us!  This isn’t fair!  And it tastes bitter.  I choose not to buy into that spirit, but the taste is bitter nonetheless.  I can (and do) tell You now with every ounce of dignity I can muster that I don’t feel loved when You allow all this “salting” to continue!  It feels like I’m in a barren desert and there are no echoes of sound coming back.  Have I lost favor with You? (Nu 11:11)  I claim Moses’ words as my own:

Nu 11:14 I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me.

11:15 If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once–if I have found favor in your sight–and do not let me see my misery.”

Lord, You told Moses to gather seventy elders to the tent of meeting so that You could distribute the load. (Nu 11:16, 25)  Later, there were fifty prophets who stood at a distance facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had crossed the Jordan. (2 Ki 2:7)  You, Yourself, sent out 72 disciples to spiritually sweep the area before You got there. (Lk 10:1)  All any of them had to do was bear witness.  I feel bad and sad and I cry out to You that I could not even engage twelve—plus one—shepherds of the Seven Churches and a handful of prophets!  All they had to do was bear witness and do what you asked them to do!  I wasn’t tackling the whole world, just a Brotherhood!  And this is still very unfair.  I’m not a Jedi Knight!  I cannot fight the dark force all by myself!  Is everyone still so busy working hard for You, Lord, that we don’t know how to be “salt;” to know how to have “salt in ourselves” and how to be at peace with one another? (Mk 9:50)  Well, if that’s the case, then I use Queen Esther’s appeal to You, O my King!

Esther 7:3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O King, and if it pleases the King, let my life be given me — that is my petition — and the lives of my people — that is my request.

7:4 For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to [You, O] King.”

Lord, today is the Feast of the Tabernacles, aka the Feast of Ingathering.  What are the Churches feasting on?  You said You are the Resurrection and the Life. (Jn 11:25)  Resurrection IS New Life.  Where do they think that resurrection is supposed to take place?  Do they not know that resurrection happens within ourselves?  In this most desperate hour of our anguish, please help all of us to stand in dignity and in self-respect as you raise us up like the phoenix using her own tears washing the ashes which bring her back/forward into New Life.  We are only mortals and cannot gather in the “first fruits” of Your harvest without Your help.  Without Your vision we can only see from our human eyes the worm-eaten stubble of our lives.  Only You can unify us together in New Life in You.  Only You can help us bear witness to others of Your Truth.  We have no power as mortals to convince anyone else of Your Truth.  The Holy Spirit must do that.  Please soften us, God.  Please give us Your mercy.  Please intervene with Your mercy, grace, and peace, with Your compassion in action once again in history, so that we may find the “salt” within ourselves, within each other, and that You restore our covenantal relationship with You, to be at peace as we look to You, our Lamb of Atonement.

Jesus Christ:   Sweetheart, I hear your lament.  I hear your prayer.  I am stirring hearts into compassionate action.  I make good on My promises.  So, yes, to answer your question, prayer is enough in this context.  Do you remember the “sea of glass, clear as crystal”? (Rev 4:6) 

Me:      Yes.

Jesus Christ:   It is a sea of great peace with crystal clear clarity.  The seven spirits of God are there. (v 5)  The Seven Virtues work together to bring peace by the workings of the Holy Spirit.   The Seven Virtues work in harmony since they are part of the Holy Spirit’s character.  In the New Heaven and the New Earth there is no more sea [of anguish.] (Rev 21:1)  The soul fires are quenched because the Truth has been told.  And God’s mercy endures forever.  I breathe on you, Dear One.  Be “seasoned” in grace, in kindness, in gentleness, in mercy, rest, purity, and peace.  Help is on the way.  I am sending and connecting you to those whom I have been training up for this very hour.

 

18 After Pentecost                  30 Sept 2012                                       Gospel: Mark 9:38-50

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
7:1 So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther.

7:2 On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”

7:3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me — that is my petition — and the lives of my people — that is my request.

7:4 For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.”

7:5 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?”

7:6 Esther said, “A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.

7:9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.”

7:10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.

9:20 Mordecai recorded these things, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far,

9:21 enjoining them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same month, year by year,

9:22 as the days on which the Jews gained relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and presents to the poor.

Psalm 124
124:1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side — let Israel now say —

124:2 if it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when our enemies attacked us,

124:3 then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;

124:4 then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;

124:5 then over us would have gone the raging waters.

124:6 Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth.

124:7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.

124:8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
11:4 The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat!

11:5 We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic;

11:6 but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

11:10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the LORD became very angry, and Moses was displeased.

11:11 So Moses said to the LORD, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me?

11:12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child,’ to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors?

11:13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’

11:14 I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me.

11:15 If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once–if I have found favor in your sight–and do not let me see my misery.”

11:16 So the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you.

11:24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent.

11:25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

11:26 Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.

11:27 And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

11:28 And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, “My lord Moses, stop them!”

11:29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit on them!”

Psalm 19:7-14
19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the LORD are sure, making wise the simple;

19:8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eyes;

19:9 the fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.

19:11 Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

19:12 But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.

19:13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.

19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

James 5:13-20
5:13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.

5:14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.

5:15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.

5:16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

5:17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.

5:18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.

5:19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another,

5:20 you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Mark 9:38-50
9:38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.”

9:39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.

9:40 Whoever is not against us is for us.

9:41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

9:42 “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.

9:43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

9:45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell.

9:47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell,

9:48 where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

9:49 “For everyone will be salted with fire.

9:50 Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

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One Response to “Is Prayer Enough?”

  1. Dori September 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Hey my sweet friend, another interesting read. Thank you for sharing as always. Praying for insight and direction. May you have peace and joy in this time.

    Hugs

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