378. and yet…
One of the classes I have this semester is called Celtic Spirituality. As a spiritual formation class, it focuses more on the practices of the early Celtic Christians than on their theology, which I’m a little bummed about since their theology is pretty fascinating.
Anyway, this week in class, after talking about the features of Celtic prayer, our instructor asked us to try our hand at writing our own Celtic-style prayer.
I hemmed and hawed for a while and I squirmed in my seat because my prayer life as of late has been pretty sparse. And the difficulty for me in this prayer writing exercise wasn’t about not being able to or not wanting to pray, it was that the prayer I wanted to write seemed wrong, heretical, maybe even unholy. But at the same time, I recognized that for prayer to truly be prayer, it had to be honest and from the heart.
My spirituality isn’t in a very good place right now. I haven’t had a healthy spirituality in a long, long time. But if the Celts are right, then God’s presence can be found anywhere, even in the darkest, deepest, dingiest bog. I’m no expert on Celtic spirituality, but from what I’ve seen so far, their instruction manual for prayer seems to go something like this: be where you are, feel what you feel, say what you want to say, and trust that God will take care of the rest.
And so finally, just before time was up for this exercise, I decided to throw caution to the wind and I wrote this prayer.
God is dead, and yet I pray
I reach out into the void, without anticipation
and my hands come back empty
And yet I pray
And yet, I pray
For me, the prayer is simultaneously bleak and faintly hopeful, which is a good summary of my spirituality right now.
And I know the “God is dead” phrase is provocative, but for me, it a phrase with tremendous depth. It means far more than what the words seem to say.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.