A secret 2011 Lenten prayer, as I began to realize that serving the rest of my life in a church wasn’t “it.”
Almighty God, you cannot be contained by a religion. This box is too small for you. To think that one religion could even contain a fingernail clipping of you!
And so it is with all religions; together, independently. I’ve said before you are not a religion; Jesus wasn’t a Christian; this wasn’t what he had in mind.
When I said those things, I hadn’t been in a church or a religion for 25 years. I spoke in bitter judgment of people, not in recognition of you.
And so you led me from the dank northwest to the bright deserts of Arizona and Israel, and you led me to a church, a religion, a monastery, a community. I jumped into the rituals, singing, liturgies, service, and eventually, theology of this religion called “Christianity.” Then you led me to use my talents in a church by the ocean.
Today I say that all religion is nonsense. I’m here in my religion’s sanctuary, having said their communal collects, psalms, antiphons, Gloria partris, Apostles Creed, Our Father, suffrages. Chanted psalms and sang canticles, and by the time of the Creed, “nonsense” was all I could think.
It was important I experience this firsthand, in a good community and a safe haven by the sea; in an easy time of life, a generous outpouring.
In a centered, most prayerful time of life, it comes to me I’ve attempted to lock up the God of the universe, the timeless essence, the everything of every molecule. How sadly wrong I’ve been to try and contain you in a theology degree, a spiritual life, a building made with hands.
You led me here, knowing I must learn the truth this way. You called me to all of it. I don’t know if I’ll continue
That’s a lie, for I know I won’t. My days here will end; my academic studies will end.
The prayer of great price.