“All actual life is encounter.” – Martin Buber, I and Thou
I struggle with much Christian language; in which human emotions, purpose, needs and agency are projected onto God with overstated confidence. Maybe you do too?
While we should always be careful in our speaking of God – God’s ‘purposes’ and ‘actions’ as if they were ours writ large – the bigger danger for us is that we fail to see God when God is really there.
“The Psalms are prayers addressed to a known, named, identifiable You. This is the most stunning and decisive factor in the prayers of the Psalter. Prayer is a direct address to, and conversation and communion with, an agent known from a shared treasured past. […] The utterance of “You” as the centre of speech distinguishes prayer, […] this “You”, whose face is not seen and whose voice is heard is known by the story that comes always with the name.” – Walter Brueggemann, The Psalms and the Life of Faith
Today allow this Psalm to recall you and I to an awareness of God ‘in, with and under’ all of the events of life – even yours and mine – and to a new confidence for our living in fellowship with God. Telling ourselves our own stories, and asking ‘I to Thou’ for strength for all that is present and ahead.
We break from the preoccupation of our day even the coming and goings of worship and make space to notice you in the ordinary moments and encounters. You are always with us. Always.
God of flesh and word, we meet you in worker and friend, stranger and pilgrim, the needy and the needed, the questioner and questioned.
So when we meet you, may we deepen trust, deepen life, deepen justice and deepen joy.
And when you meet us, help us approach our activities with presence and power, with love and humility, with courage and dignity. Amen
adapted from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community .
The Rev’d Dr John McNeil Scott, Principal of the Scottish College, Glasgow