Sunday, November 9, 2008

I come second

I just finished reading an amazing book by Eugene Peterson called "Working the Angles." The three angles are prayer, scripture, and spiritual direction. There's no huge imagery or illustrations that tie deeply into the whole "angle" thing, and there's no subliminal reason that there's only three. In Peterson's mind, there is only prayer and scripture for us to be putting energy towards, and we are also supposed to have and be a spiritual director.
The concepts that he brings out about prayer, Scripture, Sabbath, and many other things are so life-changing. He says prayer doesn't start with us. God spoke first, so any speaking we do is second and ought to be in response to God. Wow, kind of changes the idea of "starting a meeting with prayer." He also talks about how God spoke His Word, and then it was written down later. God's Word is spoken, and as such, it is arranged in narrative form. When we submit to others our teaching from the Scripture, are we giving it that value? That whatever verse we pick is deeply and inseperably tied to a huge story that God literally SPOKE to us. Do we read the Bible like that? Again, God spoke, we listen - we come second. He also discussed how we see our day to day structure. The day begins when we go to sleep - because we get out of the way and God does amazing and infinite things as the sovereign creator that He is, and then we wake up later and ask to be a part of it. The Jews saw each day ending at sundown, and beginning in the dark while they were asleep. God comes first, creating and moving in the details things we can't possibly imagine, and then we get up and become a part of it each day. We come second.
Whether you agree with his ideas or not, I think it is worth considering the overall point that everything we do ought to be done with a proper posture and mindset - that God comes first and we come second. This one thread should run constant through the way we pray, the way we live out each day, the way we study the Bible and interact with each other, and maybe even the way we prepare to go to sleep. Think about it.

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