Friday, January 22, 2021

let's just drop the "just" prayers

Going through my files, I love the point made by this letter to the editor of Touchstone by Richard Euson. (I can't find it on-line but will reproduce excerpts below.)

When I hear prayers that being, "We just ask...", I picture Bob Cratchit huddled over a single coal dying in the grate on Christmas Eve. He fearfully turns to Scrooge and asks for "just one more coal, Mr. Scrooge, just one more." Why "just" one more? Because he knows that Scrooge is a tight-fisted, miserly old devil. "Just" signals Cratchit's submission to his master's stinginess. So Cratchit doesn't ask for much. "Just one more lump of coal. Because it's not much, maybe Scrooge will relent.

Our "just" prayers imply that we're Bob Cratchit cringing before a divine Scrooge. We don't really expect much from God. "Just" is our way of rationalizing our lowered expectations while apologizing for the imposition...The "just" implies that God, like Scrooge, is stingy...

The surprising truth, brought home to us especially at Christmas, is that God is unimaginably, extravagantly generous. God didn't "just" send his one and only Son to be born in an obscure village in Judea. He gave the best he had: himself in human form and flesh...[And on the Parable of the Prodigal Sons] While Scrooge calculated the cost of every scrap of coal, the Father gladly gives the fattened calf, the signet ring, and his own robes."


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