Sunday, August 19, 2018

First Day of School

Grandpa had picked up Nigel and Zoe and they were riding home from school when grandpa interrupted the silence and asked how the first day had gone. Nigel was the first to answer and he said in a huff; “They made us change-up the teams in our basketball game partway through. If they had let us play with the team I was on at first, we would have won all the games, but they made us change. That’s not fair.”

A wiser Zoe explained to Nigel that they shook-up the teams so that everyone would have a chance to win. “It’s not fair that one team wins all the games, Nigel,” she said. “Everyone should get a change to play on a good team. Everyone should get a chance to win.”

“But, it’s not fair that we should have to change teams just because we are better than the rest of them. It’s not fair. We should get to win, ‘cause we’re better,” Nigel protested.

Again, Zoe tried to explain the concepts to Nigel, that everyone should get a chance to win. "Everyone should get to play on a winning team, Nigel. You were just lucky you won because you were on a good team and the other guys were on a bad team. Everyone should get the chance to win.”

Nigel took a deep breath and prepared himself for a final retort; “Oh yeah! Well that’s just what they tell you when you’re losing!”

It’s gonna’ be a long year, grandpa thought to himself.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

A Few words About Prayer

Like most parents, as my wife and I were raising our children we worried that we were not doing it the right way; that somewhere along the way one of us would say or do something that would lead them astray or would not equip them with the right stuff to be productive members of society. Wow, what righteous dreams we had for them, and for ourselves.

It didn’t take too long to realize that as long as we were talking, we were doing the right things. When there was communication going on between the four of us, our family was making progress, and everything would be alright.

Prayer is kind of like that. We have lofty goals for our prayers, and we worry that we are not accomplishing what we should with our prayers. Or, we worry that we are not equipped with the right prayers to say in every situation. We bog ourselves down with too much head-knowledge that we cannot offer prayers from the heart.

Often, we believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to pray and that we only know the wrong way; that God doesn’t listen to prayers offered in the wrong way and that God finds our prayers unworthy of attention or action. I went through a stretch thinking God was grading my prayers. Imagine how frightening that was.

Trust me when I say, there is not a wrong way to pray to your Father in heaven. Well, actually the wrong way is to NOT pray to your Father in heaven. Avoiding prayer is not prayer and it is not growing in relationship with God. When I realized that our family was talking together, exchanging ideas and thoughts with each other, and strengthening our bonds with each other, I stopped worrying about whether we were raising our children the right way. It was when there was no communication that I worried.

I imagine God feels the same way.

Prayerfully,   Father Mark +