Weeks before my son was born, I wrote out all of the issues of The 77% Weekly until the end of 2006. I figured that I would spend time in his first 6 weeks on Earth to finalize the first issues of the new year.
I didn’t. (I could have. But, I chose not to.)
Instead I’m going to introduce a guest columnist who will be filling in until mid-February while I continue my transition from being a full-time Poppa.
My friend Larry was both a minister and a professor of sociology for 50 years. It was only after he retired from both that he discovered that he has the soul of an artist and that his inner child likes very much to create stained glass art.
Weekly, we have dinner and then we each work on stained glass art projects. We talk at length about life, religion, the Bible, and God.
Larry, over the years, has written a number of what he refers to as Simple Prayers. They are beautiful. I think of them as prayers Garrison Keillor would have written if he were an ordained minister.
Here is what Larry wrote as an introduction to his Simple Prayers:
I am not a person who is particularly attracted to prayers uttered in public places. I am often called upon to offer public prayers and I do so when I am asked to. However, the temptation to perform and pontificate in public places is very great. It is not easy to be honest and vulnerable in our public praying. One would think that it would be much easier to be honest with God in our private moments. But it isn’t. Our need to try to impress the Almighty seems to know no boundaries… even in private.
The purpose of these simple prayers is to help us talk to God in the way true friends try to speak to one another. True friends speak to one another about the full range of their human concerns and feelings without trying to either impress the other or be less than truthful in what they have to say. Praying to God should be our highest form of truth-telling. It is my hope that the prayers I have chosen to share with you will encourage you to be open and transparent before God and to speak the truth when you pray.
I was watching the little children stepping on their shadows, dear Lord. They were actually trying to run after their little child-like shadows. Their game went on and on for several minutes. They were lost in their playfulness. I looked at their faces and I saw my face reflected in one of them. But all of a sudden my face vanished and it wasn’t my face at all. My vision of my own childhood passed away as quickly as it came. My own playful spirit vanished too. Just a vapor for a moment extinguished by adult realities. I miss that little child in me. I miss those playful moments when the most serious thought I had was to successfully slip away from my own shadow. I think I understand why adults look so longingly at children at play and why children absolutely never look the same way at adults who are busy working. I think children understand something the rest of us adults don’t. Please, dear God, revive some of the child in me so I can remember and understand what a magnificent gift I once had and, hopefully, can have again.
In addition to those listed in issue 40/40 of 2006, the following people also contributed to the financial well-being of this internet based congregation in 2006:
Erik, Pamela, Madeline, & Charlotte Hartog
Larry & Virginia Keene
Caryn Pawliger & Gary Seligman
Click here if you would consider making a tax-exempt contribution to help further this ministry-rabbinate’s goal of empowering people to find and be with (the) God (of their understanding).