(Check the tag “Inviting God In” for the rest of this series, taking readings from Joyce Rupp’s book of the same name.)
Here’s number 6 on page 25:
I will say, “Peace be with you!” Psalm 122:8
I went to a Catholic school until grade 8 and we had some New Testament paperback “Good News!” version we used in our religion class. For grad in grade 7, I think it was, we got these lovely red “leather” bound pocket New Testaments that came with Psalms and Proverbs. In grade 12, I accompanied friends to a youth retreat at Millar College of the Bible and got a full bible that I highlighted and bookmarked until I grew bored of the thing and recycled it.
During a very brief stint in Basic Training, I was gifted another pocket sized New Testament upon getting my uniform and other gear. That one went to Community Living, probably. I never questioned it at the time, but I wasn’t a strident atheist at the time, either, although looking back I probably did question why they’d be forcing Bibles on us.. It never occurred to me to try saying no.
Long digression; I would read through the Psalms and proverbs sometimes, when I felt like thinking of the Bible as a self help guide — but that wasn’t something I was able to keep up on for long.
Peace is more than the absence of conflict. It is an attitude about life. … Trusting that God is with us and that this gift is all we really need for our happiness.
Which was the problem; it didn’t matter how many verses I highlighted, how many I looked up on whatever prayer topics were listed alphabetically at the end of them, no matter how many nights I lay in bed assembling my thoughts.. there never was a sense of getting an answer. I don’t consider myself a failure, though — and the idea that “Sometimes the answer is no” is preposterous. That’s how you make yourself feel better when prayers don’t seem to get answered.. except why is this an answer that should make you feel better? I don’t like being ignored. Imagine how people in iron lungs must have felt if they tried to pray for cures for their polio-caused paralysis. God thinks you deserve this disease because there’s something noble about suffering.. I think that’s horrible to tell someone and horrible that a so-called loving god would condone it. Give thanks to science for the ones who survived, not God.
Next up, God’s ways of being known.