Grace’s Window, Discussion 2: “Praying the Apocalypse”
“The Christian year begins in the late fall with warnings of the impending apocalypse. This chaotic upheaval reflected in its scripture readings in turn reflects the chaos of the individual soul in personal cataclysm. Just as individual prayer often begins in facing illness, death, change, tragedy, fires, and floods, the Christian year calls for conversion in the context of the end of the whole world, when the threat of apocalypse awakens the most radical call to prayer.” (p. 4)
Before the birth of Jesus Christ, the world was literally a dark and scary place. God sent Jesus that Humanity (yes, with a capital “H”) might be saved for all time. Jesus IS the light in darkness.
Let’s think about this: is it any surprise that the Christian year begins in the late fall, with all of its dark undertones, and many people in the world feel dark and down in the late fall? I think not. Seasonal Affective Disorder could more aptly be named Sensing Apocalypse Disorder. Our souls, which hold pieces from the beginning of all time, remember this dark time before Christ and they cry out for the Christmas season so that Jesus may be born again and he may walk among us. The falling leaves, bitter cold weather, and general death of nature around us are all visual signals of the world long ago, a world before Christ.
Rev. Guthrie goes on to say,
“During the rest of the time, during the other seasons, prayer does not seem so urgent. Still, I practice this prayer in Advent for that end time, that last crucial breath. I want to learn to pray so that my last moment might be prayer and not a hollow gasp. When I pray for God to rend the heavens and come down, when the skies open for the last time and the Son of man comes on clouds from the horizon, I want to look with longing, not fear, toward the horizon.” (p. 5)
While the soul may instinctively recoil in to a state of prayer, as discussed previously, we must LEARN to pray continuously. We must learn to pray for and during the best and worst of times. Learning to pray certainly does not mean learning fancy languages and postures. Learning to pray means to train your soul to give praise and thanks, and to pray effectively during times of darkness.
The world of prayer isn’t simply “…Dear God….thank you…amen” or “…Dear God…please…thank you…amen” The world of prayer is so much more than that. The world of prayer is much more beautiful, satisfying, and exciting. All of these things we will learn as we continue through “Grace’s Window.”
We must learn it because, as Rev. Guthrie states, “the threat of apocalypse awakens the most radical call to prayer.” (p.4)