Wednesday, September 27, 2006

To serve you is perfect freedom

To serve you is perfect freedom.

The bishop quoted that line in his homily on Sunday, and it has stayed with me. It comes from the Morning Prayer Collect for Peace in the Book of Common Prayer:

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know
you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend
us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that
we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of
any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Formal written prayer and poetry are alike in that they try to express in words things that don't easily lend themselves to being expressed in words. (The best written prayer is poetry, and the worst—well, don't get me started … ) In the case of written prayer, those things are usually about our longing for God and how we work out that relationship. Some prayers are more transparent than others, though. It doesn't require advanced powers of interpretation to understand why Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid or Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart resonate.

But I'm still thinking about to serve you is perfect freedom, as I've been thinking about freedom and uncertainty. We celebrate freedom, but our simple view is that freedom equals happiness. I wonder if it's ever that easy. Limits can provide safety and security. Newborn babies know this. Released from the confines of the womb, they flail and sometimes they can't come to quiet until you pick them up and wrap them tightly in your arms.

Twice in the past two years, I've stepped outside the circle, leaving places that had been mine, places where I understood the limits of a certain structure and knew how to locate myself within the framework it provided. Boy, it feels weird out here. Not good, not bad, necessarily; just weird. Who am I, anyway, if I'm not who I thought I was? And where am I going?

Of course the situation looks different from other perspectives: You could say that I haven't really gone anywhere at all, I just made the circle bigger, or that I've stepped into a another circle. I just haven't had as much time to figure out how I fit into this new framework, to learn how to think about myself as a newborn Episcopalian.

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known … send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart.

In perfect freedom. Whatever that means.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home