Sunday, September 09, 2007

Intersections, Part III

A few entries ago I mentioned praying a prayer at church that I was afraid might disturb some folks, and was surprised that no one questioned me about it.

I have since learned that some people thought I looked like Elvis, going down on one knee, mic stand in hand, and it seems that some folks got the idea I was trying to be showy.

As mentioned in my previous blog entry:
It was definitely difficult to do, but as soon as I read that passage weeks ago, I felt compelled to do this. I'm thankful that God gave me the opportunity and the guts to carry through.
If this were a showy "Look at me" thing", I don't think it would be difficult, nor would I be needing guts to do it.

I remember being in junior high or high school years ago and an old man kneeled once while leading a public prayer. That made a big impression on me. And it's never crossed my mind that he was doing it as a "Look at me" thing. Rather, I learned that day to question my normal way of doing things (I've never been an expert at applying this lesson, but I hold it dear to my heart). Whatever educational "shock value" I may have intended was more of a "Hey. This is Biblical. Open your eyes" (figuratively about the eye opening, although a literal opening of the eyes in prayer is Biblical also).

It's regrettable that I appeared Elvis-like in my action and left the impression with some that I was trying to be showy.

Quite a few folks were bothered that I left off from my prayer the phrase "In Jesus' name". This I did because Paul left it out of his prayer. That's all it was.

Nevertheless, some got the impression that I was intentionally trying to cause a disturbance when they read this blurb from my earlier blog entry:
So I read a prayer instead of coming up with my own; I kneeled; and I did not use the formulaic "In Jesus' name, Amen".

I really expected that it might disturb some folks, but no one said anything....
That was bad wording on my part. What I intended was, "I was nervous that one or more of these 'oddities' might disturb some folks...", not that it was my intention to disturb them.

My intention was to pray a Biblical prayer and in the process to show my brethren that the New Testament allows more freedom than our traditions sometimes allow. It was not my intention to disturb people, but neither was I averse to poking them in the ribs and saying, "Pay attention; this is Biblical".

It has since been pointed out to me that although eating of meats is okay, it's not okay when it offends a brother. The implication is that I should not be poking brethren in the ribs for educational purposes. I'm not entirely sure I agree that applies here, but I'm not sure it doesn't apply either. So in deference to these brethren, I'll be using the phrase "In Jesus' name" in future public prayers at church.

Some hours later after the discussion, I think the main thought in my head is this:
A prayer written by the Apostle Paul, and recorded by God for the benefit of his church, is unacceptable to some brethren if prayed as written.
I have to admit, that bothers me a great deal.

We all parted on friendly and brotherly terms. I'm sure I'll be looked at with some suspicion, and that's okay. As long as I can be true to God and my understanding of the scriptures, even if I have to be somewhat quiet about those things (which is Biblical - Rom 14:22), being "suspect" is acceptable.

I pray that God is made to look good through all of this, and that we all grow as a result. And whatever growth and praise to God results, it's by the power of Jesus Christ.

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