Tag Archives: Ken Gire

Who Doesn’t Pray?

Who of us, however faithful or faithless, doesn’t pray in a moment when the lump on the breast turns out to be malignant? Or in another moment when an officer calls to report an accident in which a loved one has been critically injured?

Who of us doesn’t pray at the birth of a child? Or at the death of a parent? At the Bar Mitzvah of a son or at the wedding of a daughter? Who of us doesn’t pray when a radio bulletin tells a nation its president has been shot or when a television broadcast tells a community that one of its children has been kidnapped? Who of us doesn’t pray when the young men and women of our country are sent into battle? Or when a baby has a temperature of 106?

Who of us doesn’t pray then?

Some prayers are wept in the foxholes of life; others, whispered in the serenity of a spring day. Some are spoken in innocence; others in repentance. Some, in faith; other in doubt.

Prayers are as diverse as the people who pray them, but together they reflect a universal longing for God. – Ken Gire, Between Heaven and Earth

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Why Do People Pray?

on prayerSince the dawn of time people have prayed for all kinds of reasons and to all kinds of deities. They have prayed to Amon Ra, the Egyptian sun God, and to the pantheon of petty and capricious gods of the Greeks and Romans. Some have prayed to the earth; others to the sky. Some have prayed to Ball, the Canaanite deity; others to Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. Some have prayed to Allah; others to Jesus. Some have prayed to a “higher power”; others to patron saints. Some, to angels; others to Mary, mother of God.

And though the object of their prayers differs, sometimes dramatically, the subject of their prayers doesn’t. Not substantially, anyway. Regardless of their faith, or lack of it, all people seem to realize the tenuousness of their humanity and their dependence of someone or something greater than themselves. – Ken Gire, Between Heaven and Earth

Intensified Longing

Psalm 42

For so long in my life I expected my experience of God to be like one of those psalms, structured with pleasing rhythms, full of poetic images, a thing of beauty and grace. What I learned is that those psalms were borne out of great hunger — a hunger that no food on this earth can satisfy.

“He who is satisfied has never truly craved,” said Abraham Heschel, and he said this, I think, because he knew that heaven’s richest food does not satisfy our longings but rather intensifies them.

Ken Gire, Reflections on the Word

Remembering Love

north face of a mountainKen Gire writes beautiful thoughts on the unfailing love of God in his book, The North Face of God:

I don’t know where you are on the mountain or what put you there. I don’t know how wearied you are by the climb or how weathered you are by the elements. I don’t know how alone or abandoned you feel. I don’t know how disoriented you are or how despondent. But wherever you are and however you feel. I want you to curl up in your tent . . . close your eyes . . . and remember.

Remember your own history with God… Think back on the times when God expressed his love for you. Remember those times? Remember the words he spoke? Remember the way he answered your prayers? Remember the gifts he gave you? The many kindnesses he showed you? The forgiveness? The protection? Remember the love you felt for him, the joy, the tears? Remember how he touched you, embraced you, and led you?

He hasn’t changed. Neither has his love for you. It may not seem to be there, the way a rope around your waist doesn’t seem to be there when it’s slack. But it is there. Paul told us that nothing—nothing—would ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39).

God’s love for us, not ours for him, is the rope around our waist.

It’s a rope that doesn’t fray, no matter how much it is stretched.

It doesn’t freeze, no matter how cold it gets.

It doesn’t fail, no matter how far we fall . . . or how often.

Will You Dance?

Tears of the Savior

The other day, I posted a quotation from The Divine Embrace, a book by Ken Gire in which he likens our lives to a divine dance. At the beginning of one chapter, he writes:

Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who popularized the “God is dead” movement, once wrote in a letter to a friend: “If these Christians want me to believe in their god, they’ll have to sing better songs, they’ll have to look more like people who have been saved, they’ll have to wear on their countenance the joy of the beatitudes. I could only believe in a God who dances.”

What Nietzsche failed to realize is that our God, who is very much alive, is a God who dances. What we Christians sometimes fail to realize is that he is a God who dances with us.

To speak of our relationship with Christ as a dance is, of course, to speak metaphorically. But it is also to speak biblically. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, for example, the father’s joy at his son’s return was cause for celebration — at which, the text says, there was feasting, music, and dancing. In Matthew 11:17, Jesus also uses the metaphor to describe the generation that rejected him. “We played the flute for you,” he told them, “and you did not dance.” Jesus invited them to dance, longed for them to dance, and was heartbroken when they didn’t.

When I read that, it grieved me to think of how many throughout history have turned away from the joy of knowing who Christ truly is because they did not see traces of him on the faces or in the lives of those who claimed to know him.

And I wondered, what do people see when they look at me?

 

You claim you cannot believe

In a God who doesn’t dance

How could he not dance

Who created music

Tuned the universe

From pieces smaller than the atom

To the orchestra of His purpose

 

A tune so deep

One could listen all his life

But only catch a glimpse

Here and there

In a tear

A prayer

A moment of sheer joy

A dream

An embrace

A cloud passing over the moon

These moments that whisper

“There is a song”

 

So dance

With him who holds the music

And dances to the music of your heart

One day you will hear the music

The song from beginning to end

Every faint strain you detect now

Then a glorious symphony

 

Will you dance?

To the music for which your soul

Was created?

 

Will you dance?

To the tune for which

Your heart has cried?

 

Will you dance?

Or will you sit it out?

Fearing that no one else

Hears the music

 

Maybe they are waiting

For someone to stand up

Step out

And show them that he dances

And he taught you how

By placing the rhythm

Deep within your heart

Will you dance?