Day Ten — 23 February

Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.

Lectionary readings (Click the links to see the readings):
Deuteronomy 26.16-19 | Psalm 119.1-8 | Matthew 5.43-48

Nothing has worked out

Lord, nothing has worked out the way I thought it would.

People in your Church disappoint me. I've wondered many times if I shouldn't give them up and come to terms with you alone. Their shortcomings hurt and upset me. This failure to live what they preach offends me, especially since they claim to represent what is right. This self-assurance also … 'When you hear some of them, you might conclude that you personally exemplify, the truth of their every word. Even when they speak of things they don't know anything about.

I wish they were more saintly. I wish they were more humble. Quite frankly, Lord, they make me angry at times. I think that you were almost bordering on carelessness when you said to the disciples: 'He who hears you hears me' (Luke 10.16).

And yet, Lord, I mustn't turn my back on your Church. I mustn't separate myself from the whole under the pretence that I would find you more easily then. I want to stay among your own, where you are.

When all is said and done, you have supported and upheld us all. I must learn to love. Not a sentimental love. That's not what you ask for. What you want is love which knows no aversions. Lord, I should like to pledge to you my effort to love. But I need your help.

Make me understand that my brothers and sisters are human. Like me, no worse and no better. How else could you have revealed yourself to man except through man?
What did I expect? That your people would be perfect? Did I forget the history and nature of man, and what salvation is all about, when I dreamed of a Church free from misery, human ambitions, and failure?

I had built my own dream Church … a Church that was not human, didn't even exist. Is your Church responsible for my dreams? Can it be blamed for my expectations? Lord, let me not forget the human condition.

Lord, guard me against my optimism as well as my pessimism. Teach me to be just, which is something quite different—and infinitely more difficult.

—Paul Geres. Prayers for impossible days, tr. from French by Lucien Jerphagon. Revised edition. Augsburg Books, 2001.

Day 10
"Lord, what a menagerie!"—Noah's prayer.

Psalm 119.1 Beati quorum via integra est: qui ambulant in lege Domini.
("Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.")
Charles Villiers Stanford: Three Motets, Op.38, no. 3.
Ave Chamber Choir Slovenia, dir. Jerica Gregorc Bukovec.

May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church, cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602