I have discovered a weird but real connection between the state of my soul and the state of my physical surroundings. There is something about creating physical space that also seems to "create space for my soul to breathe", as Emily P. Freeman likes to say. I remember once when our hallway was more than a bit cluttered, and after I cleared it I truly felt like a weight had been lifted.
I'm guessing many people have had similar experiences. Something in our human nature craves that feeling of spaciousness and order, and at times we feel like our brains can't fully operate until we create a physical environment that reflects what we want to feel inside. Settledness. Peace. Space. Quiet.
What I'm starting to wonder, though, is if there might be a way to operate better in the before-it-gets-cleared space. After all, isn't much of our life lived in that place? Who among us can honestly say that every aspect of our lives is in perfect order and is staying that way for long periods of time?
As I'm writing this, it is Holy Saturday - the day in between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Since we are living in a time that gives us the gift of hindsight, we know what happens next in the story. We know this death is going to lead to new life, everlasting life. If Jesus' death was like that cluttered hallway, what's coming next is a clearing that is going to take away the mess, permanently!
As Christians, we often get super excited about the resurrection (and rightly so - it's pretty much the best news ever!). The thing is, we often have no idea how to exist in the reality of something like Holy Saturday. A time when people had to walk through the valley of the shadow of death in a more real way than we can quite imagine.
Can we learn to pray in that valley? Or do we tend to believe we'll be able to pray once we are on the other side? How do we pray while we're waiting for a resurrection?
I certainly don't think there is one magic formula, one set of words that will guarantee to lessen the pain or ease the suffering. But I do think it's worth showing up in some way to pray as we wait.
Maybe it's just a simple, help me Jesus. Or perhaps we borrow some words like these, from the Prayer at Compline in the Book of Common Prayer:
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.
I don't know about you, but I could sure use some more practice praying in those times when the mess is very real, or the stone hasn't yet been rolled away. May God grow us into people who are faithful in prayer at all times - before, during, and after the space has been cleared.
Pray with me...
... Father, we lift up all who are waiting for a resurrection and ask that You would help them to pray as they wait Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
... Lord, we pray against discouragement or hopelessness within the ACSD community and beyond
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13
... Holy Spirit, transform us to be a community of people who pray through it all - before, during and after! And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator
Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory