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A poem by David Redding.

“Lend a Hand”

O Lord, it is so hard
for those who cried all night
to bear our laughter.
How many have to suffer
through our smiles
for someone else,
when they’ve been out
of smiles so long
it isn’t fair.
What’s a hand to do
that’s been dropped
and left hanging
all alone.
Shaking hands
is no solution.
Every hand needs a
hand to hold it.
Aren’t there enough hands
to go around
until we circle at last
this lonely earth
and no one will be able
to make a fist anymore?

The forge does not stand for spoken prayers necessarily; it signifies waiting in God’s presence, soaking up His warmth. We do not affect the forge so much as it affects us. It signifies being affected by an unbelievably hygienic and nourishing atmosphere, such as happnes with plants sunning themselves.

In prayer a light “Brighter than the sun” comes on, as Saint Paul said happened to him en route to Damascus. Perhaps its effect is something like the effect our favorite song or poem has upon us; or what it means to be sitting beside our favorite friend; what it does to a baby to bask in his mother’s arms.

What happens to a person when he falls in love? No one knows the extent of the curative powers, the dynamic effect on the will to live in such an experience. Consider the effect of falling in love with God. What does it do to have someone so creative, so life-giving, take your breath away? Such an intimacy with God rests and tunes the heart. There is a bath we call baptism. There is a breath so strong, Scripture refers to it as “a mighty wind,” where “tongues of fire” have been known to fall on everyone present in prayer. ”

Bad words are better than phony words. Telling God off would be better than kidding Him. Read the Psalms. Some of them address God almost savagely, but they are real. The psalmist takes prayer to be a time when he can let down his hair – let the cat out of the bag. Only then can he manage an honest “hallelujah.”

Prayer is dangerous and easily perverted. What consumes our attention finally gets us. What gets our attention?

We have long been accustomed to thinking of church as a requirement instead of a reward. We urge each other to pray and read our Bibles until, before we know it, we have twisted the blessing into a burden. It is no longer “Good News”; it has become more chores to do in an already overworked life. Instead of the relief Christ promised, church becomes our responsibility. Instead of the rock holding us up, we are holding up the rock.

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