Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pray without ceasing...at the Mall

Last Saturday, in the midst of the snow and wind, I went to the mall. I dislike the mall but had to go to the mall. At the mall (am I saying "the mall" a lot?) I stood in various lines to get information about the electronic accouterments that apparently are necessary to operate an electronical device that Santa (who for me looks just like the FedEx man) is bringing for Christmas. I am profoundly clueless about these things...so standing in line for information from people young enough to be my children who, I must say, maintained admirable composure during the onslaught, is a necessity. I was tempted to yell out, "How many people in this line are going to use the weather as an excuse to skip church tomorrow morning?" but resisted. I would like to say that I maintained a heart of gratitude and good will during this trip but...
This morning's meditation included a section of James Freeman Clarke's "Prayer" (see all posts jfc) on "Prayer without ceasing" Some excerpts:

"This spirit of constant prayer was a natural growth of Christianity; one peculiarity of which...was to insist on a permanent union of the soul with God, and an immanent presence of the Holy Spirit in the heart...Hence Christianity is spoken of as a life; as a constant, regular activity of the spiritual nature..."eternal life abiding within us"...Therefore to pray without ceasing intends the unbroken union of the soul with God, so that all of life shall flow from God and to God...Therefore to pray without ceasing is to work for man in constant reliance on God; to work for Christ, and in every moment of need to look to God for strength wherewith to work. While this habit of intercourse with God is maintained, while we thus bring all parts of our life before Him in thankfulness, penitence, or supplication, we fulfil the command to pray without ceasing."

Even at the mall, the Saturday before Christmas, in a snowstorm. Blessings


David G. Markham said...

Hi Boston Unitarian:

Having been brought up a good Roman Catholic boy, and one who was in the seminary for awhile, I am familiar to this idea of prayer without ceasing and frankly I never got it.

The more recent idea of mindfulness or awareness makes more sense to me.

To go about one's business and life mindfully makes a lot of sense to me and if they includes one's relationship with a higher power, that's great.

Constant inner dialogue with the Almighty would drive me nuts, but a quiet centeredness and meditativeness would be nirvana.

Love your blog!

All the best,

David Markham

PeaceBang said...

We love knowing that you're not perfect.

BTW, I like to call it "the Maul."

slt said...

Hi Mr. Markham,
Many thanks for your comment and your kind words. It often strikes me in reading the "Boston Unitarians" how close their idea of a religious life is to the practice of mindfulness. It does not depend on externals, or on an emotional "experience" of some kind, but a deep attention to each moment. Doing your nearest duty...
Thanks again and Blessings

Hey Peacebang,
I felt a little "mauled" by the time I left! Many thanks