Ugh. I feel this prayer so hard. Why can’t God just tell me what to do all the time?
My understanding of Christianity, of what God wants of me and wants me to do, is so full of multiple perspectives and voices, of textual criticism and historical criticism, of caveats and cautions, that some days it seems nothing at all is clear. Is an action wrong or isn’t it? Well, it all depends on context, I answer myself. Should I allow gravity to keep me attached to the planet? Not until I look up the Latin derivation of “gravity,” I shouldn’t.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. – Psalm 25:4 (NRSV)
Why can’t I just have a clear list of rules for each situation? Or, like, a search engine? WhatDoesGodWantQuinnToDoNow.com doesn’t seem like so much to ask, does it?
Of course, there are people who believe that God has already done this. That the answers to most questions are simple. That life can be reduced to a series of easily understandable rules and regs. They rest easy in the sure and certain knowledge of being right.
They have done great harm to me and to many whom I love.
So, absent an indisputable theophany, I guess I’m glad to have what I have instead of lists of rules: ancient witnesses and guides, modern sages and teachers, companions for the road, a still, small voice inside, a mind I’m trying hard to keep open, and communities of other confused souls who feast and fight and pray and love so hard that I’m pretty sure any path we’re on must be God’s.
I want a map, O God. But I’ll settle for ill-remembered directions and good companions for the road. Amen.
About the Author
Quinn G. Caldwell is Chaplain of the Protestant Cooperative Ministry at Cornell University. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.