This grand old lady caught my attention several times in a local Christian book store. She apparently is a bit tired out, one shoe on and one shoe off, and her big toe seems bruised. Dozing, her fan dangles and her tambourine lies at her feet. But her Bible is in her hand. She has found a home on my desk, reminding me that faith is simple, a matter of trust, obedience and love.
Lord, you have renewed the face of the earth. Your Church throughout the world sings you a new song, announcing your wonders to all. Through a virgin, you have brought forth a new birth in our world; through your miracles, a new power; through your suffering, a new patience; in your resurrection, a new hope, and in your ascension, new majesty. (Morning Prayer, Book II, Page 1387)
In this prayer of praise to God, the Church acknowledges the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, the nourishment of Word and Eucharist, the joy of oneness with all of creation and with all saints. This prayer proclaims the suffering of Christ as remedy for impatience and his ascension as the springboard of majesty in grace.
It is so easily prayed. It is so easy to bask in its promise.
It is not so easy to measure one’s life against its call, its ideal, its demand.
• Our song of praise cannot become tired and dull piety.
• God’s wonders are everywhere, but do we see them? Or have we become too sophisticated to find God in a rosebud, the smile of an ancient man, the warmth of a mother’s eyes?
• Do we really see his miraculous and loving power – in the cooing of a dove, the smile of a child, the healing of the sick, the rescue of persons in grave danger, in a deathbed conversion?
• What about this new patience in suffering? How are we doing? Do we run from one pill to the next for every minor ache and pain?
• In these trying times, what do people see in our faces – hope and confidence in God’s goodness and power?
• And is there a new majesty – a new life of joy and grace – evident in our daily lives? Do our spirits rise in praise even in the midst of turmoil and suffering?
The Lord and his Church call us to a new explosion of faith, a profound trust, obedience and love.