It's amazing how God talks even when you don't want God to talk . . . even when you have made it clear you're not in the mood for a conversation . . .God talks anyway. Now whether we listen, that's a different story. And yesterday evening, I wasn't in the mood to listen -- at least not at the time God was trying to get me to talk. I could hear God asking me to pray . . . talk to him, but I didn't feel like praying. And God didn't push. He just walked with me, kind of like the tag along kid that you wish would go away.
I was just coming out of a conversation with someone who had my brain so overloaded with these thoughts of how ministry should be approached in this age of IM'ing, Twitter and all of these other electronic forms of gathering information instantaneously, that I began to think that maybe I'm not fit to do ministry in this age. I started to wonder why would God pick this 38-year-old woman who rather write her notes in class in her notebook than on her computer or listen to the lectures downloaded and who'd rather still listen to her music on CD's than on an ipod and who'd rather comb through books in the library to research her text for her sermon. How do I do ministry that captures those who respond to information so differently?
I was preparing for my prayer class last night and I knew I needed to focus. The topic was Prayers of the Heart . . . the prayers that move us to become more intimate with God . . . the prayers that moves us into the presence of God. . . the prayers that the Jesuit priest Jean-Nicholas Grou says is the prayer the heart prays and the voice that God listens and responds to. Prayers of the Heart are the heart-to-heart talks we have with God. As I sat there listening to the other members talk about their heart experiences or lack thereof, I found myself drawn in by one revelation that was lifted up. It was the reminder that: "You don't have to be grown up with God!"
The woman who shared this took this from the image of God who is a nurturing parent . . .a God who is described in Hosea as a Father who takes his children into his arms, and leads them with "cords of compassion" and with "bands of love" and bends down to feed them. A God who is described in Isaiah as a mother comforting her child. A God who invites us all to crawl into God's lap, receive his love, allow his healing and strength to overflow onto us. A God who allows us to laugh and cry freely in arms that wrap around us tight.
I like that image. I like knowing that this "big kid", who still struggles and is often frustrated with the twisting, turning, winding roads in her life, can still snuggle into the arms of her parent and be loved on, hugged and caressed until all is better. I liked that even though I wasn't talking to God, God still chose to talk to me.
And it was what I needed.