Everything the Lord has made should praise him in all the places he rules. My whole being, praise the Lord.
If you have not yet seen the Netflix special, Two Popes, make some time. The depth of the story and faith of the men it portrays and is challenging, moving, and inspiring. There are so many small conversations from the film that I've been thinking about for weeks now. In one, Cardinal Bergoglio (to be Pope Francis later), tells Pope Benedict a story. Bergoglio says as a young man, he asked an older priest if it was permissible to smoke while praying. The priests says of course not. Bergoglio asks the follow up... May I pray while I'm smoking? Pope Benedict chuckles, and Bergoglio says, "Perhaps we don't always ask the right question."
I think that's a point worth considering, especially in the context of prayer and worship, perhaps even more so in the western world and America. How often do we seek to make our prayer and worship more comfortable? Can I have a padded pew? My favorite pew? Can we skip singing new hymns? Only hymns? Only praise songs? Timpani, but not snares? Guitar but not electric? A specific time slot? Different day of the week? I'm as guilty as anyone. I'd love to have my coffee with me in worship. I have preferences for certain songs, styles of preaching. But what I like about what Bergoglio says is that it's not so much if we like the answer to our question but whether we are asking the right question. What if instead of asking if I could have my coffee in worship or more acoustic guitar or a comfier seat... what if I were to ask myself... when I go for coffee with friends, could I ask them what I can pray for them, and then we pray together? What if when I play my guitar, I pray? What if when I sit in my comfiest seat at home, I think of all my blessings and close my eyes and thank God?
This week, when you think of questions, preferences, statements that focus on your needs or desires, think of a new way to frame them. Get creative, especially about prayer and worship. Imagine a new question, a new perspective. Imagine inviting God into your life in new ways and new places. Invite God to your commute, your meals, your quality time with loved ones, your morning routine. And then share that with someone. Definitely share it with me. I'll be curious what you find.