“Lord, prepare me.”
It is one of those contagious songs that once it is in your head, you can’t stop singing it. All it takes is the simple hum of its melody and you are hooked, even if like me, you can’t carry a tune in the proverbial “bucket.” I can’t help it. I hear my wife Priscilla’s voice in my head, “Honey, you stick to preaching, not singing.” However, I can’t help but break out in song, “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary.”
Something in the words of Richard J. Foster remind me that “my whole life, in one sense, has been an experiment in how to be sanctuary.” I think this might be true of each of us.
We are called to be living sanctuaries, learning how to abide in the presence of God in the midst of all the stresses and strains of life, emptying ourselves of the stuff drowning out the one voice offering us a peace that passes all understanding; living sanctuaries willing to live in “the sacrament of the present moment” [Jean-Pierre de Caussade]; living sanctuaries willing to allow the gift of this moment in the presence of God to be enough.
In a few short days, living in the present moment will be a challenge as United Methodists gather from around the world for the necessary work of ordering the life of the General Church. However, if we see this work as holy, asking God, “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,” I know that God will show up. God will fill the sanctuaries of our souls if we dare empty our hearts of all the anxiety and fear that will travel with us.
Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, laying aside my own agenda, surrendering my will so that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven. Lord, prepare me (us), so that my (our) only desire is to give myself (ourselves) completely to the actions of Jesus Christ. In the sanctuary of God’s deep love for each of us and all of creation, may we rejoice and find peace enough in a grace that is sufficient for all our needs.
As I prepare to travel to Portland, I go with these words from The Prayer of Saint Patrick:
“Christ be with me.
Christ within me.
Christ before me.
Christ beside me.”
-Saint Patrick Breastplate Prayer
“But as for me my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped…until I went into the sanctuary of God.” [Psalm 73:2,17]
“Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for you.” *
Yes, just in case you’re wondering, I am singing out loud. Consider yourself lucky you are not within earshot.
My heart does grieve but my spirit is not
Broken as long as memory whispers grace
Spoken in pure love that is true, helping
Face the darkness, knowing tomorrow
Brings light with might enough to break this
Sorrow and make today a bright blessing.
So I sit in deep prayer gazing out my bay
Window attempting to say words that will
Stay the flood of tears, yet only quiet will
Ease this storm’s fears. I’ll sit with it awhile
Until these buried seeds of grief blossoms
Into some deeds of hope asleep in its healing.
* Words & Music: John Thompson and Randy Scruggs; © 1982 Full Armor Publishing Company (admin. by peermusic), Whole Armor Publishing Company (admin. by peermusic) CCLI License #120028
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