I'm still stuck on the Epistle of St. James (3:13 - 4:3, 7,8a) from last Sunday's lectionary lessons.
You'll excuse me for sounding impertinent but some of it sounds a bit like Yoda might have written it, doesn't it?
You do not have because you do not ask.Annoying, this is.
You ask and you do not receive because you ask wrongly.
Or, as Yoda would say, "Do or do not. There is no try."
I like Yoda. Sadly enough, he has become, for an entire generation, the closest thing to a resource for understanding spirituality and prayer.
I suspect every generation has one. I seem to remember the popularity of Master Po in the Kung Fu Series. As I recall, instead of an apprentice named Luke Skywalker, there was someone Master Po called "Grasshopper."
And, let us not forget Professor Dumbledore to Harry Potter. I suppose in my generation, it was Jiminy Cricket to Pinocchio.
Yoda says things like,
"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."Somebody give the weird little creature an, "Amen."
Here's the thing for me about the message from St. James' Epistle: Prayer is a mystery. I think that's true because prayer is, essentially about relationship. And relationships, especially between God and ourselves and others, are an even deeper mystery than prayer.
In order for prayer to work, one must believe in mystery.
As Luke Skywalker once said to Yoda, "I can't believe it."
And, Yoda said, "That is why you fail."
'Belief in mystery' sounds like a mystery itself. That's because it is.
The other true thing I know about prayer is that even when we don't believe in mystery, prayer can still work.
That's the mystery of prayer.
Or, as Yoda would say, "A mystery is prayer."
It means letting go of what the world values, and embracing the values of the Realm of God where the values of the world have no meaning or currency.
Or, as Jesus said,
"Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all."To which Yoda might say, "True, that is."