The next four beads are for entering into the prayer practice. You could recite the "melt me/mold me/fill me/use me" prayer that I mentioned on Friday, or the four Bodhisattva vows. Any four-line poem or prayer that feels like an invocation or a statement of your commitment or intention will do. I have used one which has changed a little since it was published in Simply Pray (p. 68). Over the next four blog posts I'm going to take each bead in turn and, as we used to say in seminary, "unpack it" a bit.
Open my eyes, that I may see your face in every person I meet, and might seek your fingerprint in every situation I encounter -- myself, my family, and the things of my own life included.
I begin by stating the intention, expressing the desire, that what e.e. cummings called "the eyes of my eyes" might be opened so that I might see the divine in each and every person I meet. The metaphor I use is that of seeing the face of God in every face I encounter, and that seems apt to me. I'm anthropomorphising the sacred by calling it God (and saying it has a "face") in order to talk about anthropomorphising the sacred by seeing it the people I meet.
Yet I believe that each and every one of us is an incarnation of the holy with a human face. As the Unitarian educator Sophia Lyon Fahs said, "each night a child is born is a holy night," not just that one night in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. And, so, I'm really wanting to be reminded that what I see when I see another person is someone sacred -- and at the end of the prayer I note that I especially want to recall this when dealing with myself and my family (but I'll come back to this).
And then I note that I want to seek [God's] "fingerprint" in "every situation I encounter." I actually played with this wording for a while. Note that I say that I want to see God's face yet merely ask to seek God's fingerprint. Why? I think it would be presumptious to expect, even to want, to understand the Grand Design (if there is one). No. I think I can yearn to learn to see the sacred in each person yet I think the most I can hope for is to remember to look for the signs of God's involvement -- God's "fingerprint."
Finally, at the end of this phrase of the prayer I there's a line I actually often forget to say. (Freudian slip?) After all, it's relatively easy to remember to see the face of God in the homeless man I talk to on the street, or in the cashier who serves me in the grocery store, or even in my colleagues at work. But in my kids when they're annoying me or my wife when she's being grumpy? Or in me when the old tapes are playing those old messages about . . . ? (Well, that's the subject of another blog I suppose.) And while I might remember to look for the "fingerprint" of God in the life of a friend when things are going south for her or him, how easy is it to forget to do so when it's my own life? And so I always try to remember to include, "myself, my family, and the things of my own life."
And so there you have it. The first of the four "entering" beads: Open my eyes, that I may see your face in every person I meet and might seek your fingerprint in every situation I encounter -- myself, my family, and the things of my own life included.
See you on Wednesday.
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