Monday, April 29, 2013

An Unholy Prayer

Yesterday morning, I gave the Communion devotional at church.  It's an honor and a joy, but some mornings just don't go as planned.

Or maybe they do.  Just not my plans.

I'm in this habit of praying as the last song winds down before it's time for me to step up.  I pray out loud, charismatically (if you'd want to call it that) and just basically pour out all of my nervous energies into the prayer moment so that when the mic'd moment comes, I am pumped up, chilled out, and completely focused...on the real deal.

So often, my prayer includes something to the effect of:  Thank You, Lord, for this opportunity and for the good words to speak to my family today.  And: This is Your moment, God, and I am so grateful to be able to share in it, even just a little bit.  And: I take this moment and I give it back to You because it is only You who does this and never me, although I am humbled, Lord, that You would use someone like me.  And: I have no need to fear, no need to be nervous.  This is just a thing, and it is a thing You have graciously and awesomely created me to do and I am stoked to be able to do this.  What an awesome gift!

And so on.

But yesterday, the song before the Supper was "Holy, Holy, Holy."  After singing the first verse in Greek (as I always do), I turned to my prayer and focused my energies on focusing my heart to get myself out of the moment and give it to God.  As I began to pray, the very first, holy-roller, charismatic, fired-up, energized, humbled, surrendered words to come out of my mouth were:

"There is absolutely no reason for me to be holy right now, Lord."

Because I meant to say nervous, or anxious may be a better word, but we were singing "holy" and that's what came out.

Followed by my own incredible laughter, which didn't stop for a verse and a half, until I realized I'd better stop laughing at myself or I'd miss my cue.

Honestly, I was laughing because I realized that was kind of true, too.  There is absolutely no reason for me to be holy.  I mean, I try, of course, but I think I'm the kind of person who can easily put too much pressure on myself to make appearances.  That is, to appear holy or act holy or even, yes, be holy and it's the same kind of thing I find off-putting in other people.  Just how holy can you be in your fallen flesh?

I'm so tempted to want to get everything right, to do everything well.  To live humbled.  To show my best, most righteous, most Christian, surrendered self at all times, particularly in a moment like this when I am speaking or writing or working for God so overtly, in such a place that everyone expects something holy.  I want to be holy and bring it.  But I was laughing yesterday and relaxing because I realized I don't have to be holy to bring it.  I'm not bringing perfect; I'm bringing God.  I'm not perfect; I am God's.  And so I settled into this very relaxed state where all of a sudden, I took a breath and surrendered into being hole-y, having my weaknesses and my failures and my fallen shorts.  

Because most days, that's as close to holy as I'm ever gonna get.

I didn't come back to my prayer yesterday morning.  I mean, what else can you say after something like that.  The song faded out, the crowd sat down, I smiled to myself and said, "Let's do this," then I walked to the mic.  

And we did it.

And maybe it was holy.  Or maybe it wasn't.  Or maybe it doesn't matter.

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