Wednesday, August 05, 2009

August 5, 2009 - Pulling the Boat to Shore

More from Rabbi David J. Wolpe’s Why Faith Matters...

Wolpe retells a centuries-old rabbinic parable, about a man in a boat pulling on a rope, in order to bring his boat to shore. From the illusory perspective of a passenger on the boat, it may seem as though the boatman is pulling the shore to him. In reality, of course, it is the boat that is moving. The land is solid, substantial, immovable.

Prayer is like that, says Wolpe:

“People have much the same confusion about spiritual weight and motion: In prayer, some believe that you are pulling God closer to you. But in fact the heartfelt prayer pulls you closer to God.

I have prayed in fear and in joy, in crisis and in calm. Each time I understood that what I was asking for was not the object of my prayer. My prayer that I would be healed was a prayer, stripped of all its topmost layers, to be assured that whatever happened would be all right. Every prayer in this way is a prayer for peace; it is peace in the world and in one’s soul, the certainty that the pain is not empty, the world not a void, the soul is not alone.”

- Why Faith Matters (HarperOne, 2008), p. 142.

No wonder so many scripture passages describe God as a rock that cannot be moved.

So much about the way we live our lives is egocentric. We really do believe – as the ancients believed about their home, the earth – that the universe revolves around us. One of our deep, spiritual tasks, as we mature through life, is to dispossess ourselves of this mistaken notion.

Cancer has a way of bringing that truth home all the sooner.

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