Prayers for Pastors

Creating jams (a prayer for pastors)

Not the real sign.
Not the real sign.

Holy One,
Out in the country,
curving our way to the burial,
in the valley before the little mountain
we see the sign:
“Forbidden fruits create many jams”

We laugh.
“Talk about over-simplifying!”
“I would never put that on my sign!”
“That one’s perfect for the Blurred Lines parody.”

We feel superior,
more subtle, more evolved,
more in touch with you.

Until things get hard.
Then we understand.

We run the risk of making it too simple.
We want everything to make sense.
We want to explain it all,
in words of one syllable,
or words of many.
We want to control it,
but we cannot.

We cannot control brain chemistry,
or cell division,
or plate tectonics
or the state of the climate.

We cannot go back in time
to make people build in safer places
or tell them not to get on that plane
or convince them that there is some other way.

We cannot control each other,
and even if that wouldn’t solve
all the troubles,
we convince ourselves it might.

Our desire to control the world,
when you don’t insist upon it yourself,
creates jams.

That’s the real forbidden fruit,
not the moral and social ills
implied by the sign,
but our tendency to think
we can fix it,
we know better,
we can take your place.

Forgive us
for taking what is not ours.
Guide us
to the roads you would have us travel.
Unjam us
to serve you fruitfully
in Jesus’ name.