After cleaning the kitchen we scraped dough off the chairs and floor, put caps on all the markers, picked up all the smooshed cranberries and bits of turkey that covered the floor, put all the toys away, made tea and then sat down, each on our respective couches.
“what are you thinking?” my mom asked me from across the hall.
“if i should read or not.” i answered. i sat in silence, listened to a few songs and then picked up the only book that was in the room.
“What are you reading?” my mom called to me.
“prayers.” i answered.
“can you read some to me?” she called out from her couch.
i started with the collects, “Assist us mercifully, O Lord,” I began. “that among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, we may be defended by thy most gracious help.”.
I continued. “Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that Your words which we have heard with our outward ears, may, through thy grace, be so grafted inwardly in our hearts…”
‘say that one again,” my mom asked. I read a few more prayers before she stood up to go to bed. As she rose she asked me “What are you grateful for, Mikaela?”
“I guess this book.” i said.
Thanksgiving as a collect
One of the reasons I’m really grateful for The Common Book of Prayer finding me now in life is because I don’t have much to say ‘of my own accord’ these days. I find myself wanting to just be a human being and not be a Christian anymore. I don’t know how this will work. It’s not like I can simply discard the theological framework I have been living out of. I don’t want to adopt some other religious mindset, like a Buddhist mindset, or a unitarian mindset. I probably very much essentially still am a Christian. But the problem remains that I do not want to be a Christian. I just want to be human and that’s it.
My friend called me on her cigarette break from motherhood and asked me if I wanted to do a Francis Chan bible study with her. I politely declined. “I’m trying to get away from Christian things I think” I said. “Oh, that’s not good.” she said. I continued to explain myself, “I don’t know why Patty, I just can’t. I’m still going to read the Bible.” …”Okay, i think i get it.” she said. “i think i know what you mean.”
And while this is going on, I find The Common Book of Prayer to be okay. I can’t help but have a relationship with God, i realized. (more so it is very unlikely that God will at this point in my life refrain from reaching out to me)
No matter what decisions I make in the coming weeks and months about whether or not I will continue on in a church body, get involved in a church, whether or not i listen to sermons, whether i tithe or not, the fact is, i am. I live in a world I didn’t make, I exist in a family I didn’t choose…For these two reasons alone, I can justify reading the Common Book of Prayer. (after abandoning all other Christian rites) I still want to have a means to reach out to God. Maybe because part of being human is so intrinsically connected with communication. And if communication with people is so complex and difficult, maybe its normal to have something like a guide, by which to show me how I might (if I so desired) communicate with God.