Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Reality in prayer

Reading in Lamentations tonight. I was just going back through some of the passages that God has used in my life, and chapter 3 never fails to astound me. Jeremiah is so real in his prayers. No playing around or trying to sound pious or strong or anything else. Just real. He's hurting and he's not at all afraid to tell God all about it.

That pulls up intersting contrasts in my head. I guess I had always seen Jehovah of the Old Testament as somehow less like a Father than I see Him in the New Testament. As if He had more of the distance and terribleness of a mighty king--just, but ready to destroy. Good, but with a tinge of awfulness. But Jeremiah doesn't talk about Him like that. I mean, if you really thought of God--who was, by the way, talking to you out loud on a frequent basis--as the kind of God that would zap you for doubting,  you wouldn't be praying things like "My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord." Jeremiah is talking to God the way you or I might sit down and pour out all of our fears and dismays to an intimate friend, someone to whom you could say anything at all.

It's an amazing juxtapositioning. King and Father, God and Friend. Far, far beyond my comprehesion, but deserving of praise all the more for its wonder.


The Bard said...

The more I think of the Old Testament/New Testament presenting different views of God, the more I think the idea is nonsense, hersey, or both. It is the OT (especially Psalms) where we find God most personal; it is Revelation in the NT where we find ultimate sovereignty & judgment.

Monica said...

I'm not sure it's fair to call it heresy. That's a little strong. There do seem to be different pictures of God presented in Scripture, and there does seem to be something different about how God presents Himself to man in the New Testament. Case in point is how the method of worship changed. We aren't going through a system of priests that separate us from God any more. Instead we "go boldly to the throne of grace." There's definitely something different.

The Bard said...

Yes, there is very much different in the NT, and I think how we approach God is at the top of the list. The Incarnation changed the world in ways that, sadly, our Catholic friends understand better.

However, the idea that God is somehow more judgmental in the OT and "nicer" in the NT is simply unbiblical. While some of us as evangelicals who fall into that thinking are not heretics, the mainline "christians" who promote that view are.

Monica said...

OK. I'll buy that.