“No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” John 1:18
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Easton speaks of this passage and its deep meaning to her. The Greek word translated “heart” is not the literal physical heart – but might be more accurately translated as “in the bosom.” It is God the only Son, who is in the bosom of the father, who has made him known. This image is wonderfully striking to me. The child held carefully at the parent’s bosom. It is vulnerable and tender, intimate and safe.
For me, this is a powerful image and example of what prayer can be for us. A place of coming to know God intimately. A practice in which we let go and accept that we are but helpless babes in the arms of a loving parent – a time for rest, connection and restoration. What a gift to know God in this way. In quiet, in rest, in simply breathing – with no expectations or demands.
Too often, I fear we settle on prayer lives that are To-Do lists and what I call Emergency Room Prayers. They are uttered in desperation when we are overwhelmed or a crisis comes up. It is definitely good to pray for help throughout our day and to turn to God when worry and despair creep in. God most certainly cares about those things that affect us so deeply.
But when we never truly settle ourselves into the bosom of God, we are missing something incredibly valuable. We lose the power of connection to our Creator. We neglect the delight of being truly present with God. We miss out on the safe place offered to us and on a different kind of relationship with Jesus.
So how do we enter the bosom of God? There are limitless ways to do this, but a laundry list of requests probably isn’t one of them. Silence, breath prayers, or scripture with contemplation are a great place to start. Or maybe turning on sacred music and journaling or coloring are more your style. Perhaps you find yourself nestling into the bosom through yoga, a prayerful walk or gazing out towards the lake.
I invite you to stop by the chapel at Faith to use some of the new prayer tools and resources we’ve added – or better yet, join us for Prayer Lab on Wednesday nights from 7:30 – 8 pm to experiment with different types of prayer and see what fits for you. If you have questions or would like to know more, I’d be delighted to give you a tour!
Here’s praying that you may find rest in the bosom of our loving God.
~ Deacon Nina