I have shared about my insights on prayer from the Russian Pilgrim (Jesus Prayer) and the Celtic Tradition (Trinitarian and more incarnational). The power of centering the heart in God through repetitive prayer has become my main focus in prayer. As I also shared I have gained greater insight into the Benedictine roots of the Anglican church and it has strengthened my commitment to the "office" (the official prayer liturgy with assigned psalms, scriptures and prayers). These dovetailed this morning in an interesting way.
I began early today. Levi needed something to drink at 4:45. After his bottle, during which time I was able to bathe him in prayers of healing and holiness, I went to Repetitive prayer, sitting in my chair, offering 100 thanks to begin my day coupled with the Celtic Morning Prayer book. I prefer this so that I may focus on thanks (using creation and redemption/incarnation as my source) and it allows me to review the Biblical accounts of salvation history and connect those things (Jesus' incarnation redeeming every aspect of human life) with my personal/our common life. Thanking God reminds me of His saving activity and hopefully opens me more totally to His work in me (and those for whom I pray).
On my drive to work I used a rosary for a new variation of prayer. Jesus was kingdom focused in His proclamation and the New Testament message is more in line with the Ancient Covenant texts (of our OT) in terms of Kingdom than most Christians know or care. The rule of Jesus as King is our hope and God's promise. In the early church it was a center piece of Christian longing. So on the big bead, I pray to the Trinity Your Kingdom Come Your will be done, in my mind, heart and soul today and in all the world "tomorrow" which I then varied to include others as I did each decade. The prayer that God already be at work within us until the Final Day is the message of the Gospel. Already and Not Yet sums up Jesus' victory. Then on the ten small beads I pray, over and over, Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus! This is the Aramaic word used by the first Christians, people like the apostles, who longed for Jesus to return and reign. It is supposed to be our heart's hunger and longing as well.
I arrived a bit after 7:00 and after taking care of some things (including working over the numerous typos in yesterday's hurried blog post) I took up the prayer book. After singing the psalms (I am alone except for the company of unseen angels and the Invisible Triune God) I turned to the assigned readings from the Bible. The second, written by Peter, began with these words: The end of all things is at hand.
The end of all things is at hand. It makes one think about what Peter expected. What had Jesus said that led to this expectation? In our own day, how difficult is it for believers to deal with the two thousand years that have passed since the declaration that the end is near? What does "near" mean, after all?
In a sense, we live in a time where things are "over and done." The great victory has been won. A parallel would be the standings in professional sports. While the season is still going on it is common for a designation, often the letter x to appear next to a team's name with a footnote that the team had clinched the division. The season is not over, there are games left to play. The season is over, there are not enough games left to make a difference in the final standings. That is an analogy for Christ's victory. The "game" is still going on, but the victory is not in doubt. Jesus has already won and is already champion (victor). What is interesting is Peter's advice in light of the victory. He tells us to stay sober (twice bby using two Greek words which are synonymous) in our prayer and to intensely (literally the Greek means stretch out) love. Be hospitable and work as a team, each one using his/her gifts. In other words, act like the victory has been won and live a Kingdom life already. Sound advice in deed, coming from a man who knew Jesus well. May the joy of the victory won be Jesus be a constant source of consolation to us all.