Flannery O’Connor prayed, “Oh God please make my mind clear. Please make it clean. … Please help me to get down under things and find where You are.” Because it is so easy to become a dumping ground and there are so many things that are piled on top of us. Of course, it does not feel like that; but with each conversation, we are often at a loss for God because of words. Things– not people, places or experiences– can cause us to lose sight of God.
And it should be noted that God is not in the things, that God is not found in the things, that the things are not a stepping down to God. Instead, God is beneath them, covered up. God is under the things.
Flannery O’Connor’s prayer bears repeating because it is so easy to lose sight of the Divine after nonstop reports of hatred, murder, violence, loss and pain. It is enough cause to hide under the covers, to hide behind locked doors, to justify our avoidance of them or “those people.” God forbid. I offer this prayer of intercession with the hope that our churches do not become lumped in with the things that get persons lost, unable to find God where God is.
God, revealed in Christ, unrecognized unless You look like us, we confess that we have covered You up with our cultural misrepresentations and social inclinations. We have lost You under our fears and facades of membership, belonging and power. We have piled our hatreds into Your holy space and we cannot part with them though they restrict our fellowship.
God in a manger, we confess that we have attempted to move You to places more suitable for a Messiah— if only in our minds, that we only want You with us and not them. We confess that we been embarrassed by Your presentation and entry into the world: a weak, dependent, vulnerable child. So, we make apologies for our faith and excuses for Your appearance in the world.
God, we confess that we have reburied You, covered You up with our traditional selfishness and unnecessary expectations. Despite the years, we are not far removed from those who couldn’t believe that You were God. You are not the God that we expected or that we would have chosen for ourselves. Forgive us for we have lost a true sense of who You are. We know that You are around here somewhere, dogeared and stuck in a pew, mixed in with the bills and old mail, at the bottom of the pile of programs, reports, of our to- do list.
So, we ask that You reorder our lives and for You to make sense of us, the mess we have made in our lives and in the lives of others. While we are well- dressed, You know that we have covered up the spills of our mistakes. Clean us up and get down under things so that we can find You. And while You are cleaning, will You move our hands out of the way, teaching them that they are busiest when they pray.
In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.