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Never did know how to spell that word, maybe it doesn't matter since it is self explanatory.

Last night was the Dibley and District Churches Together meeting which I was chairing.  It had some good moments - another church has decided to think about joining in and their minister, complete with dog collar and brief case, had come to the 'Council of Churches' as he insisted on calling us.  We managed to appoint people to organise most of the activities planned in the next three months - and I only ended up with one action, hurrah!

After sharing news from the churches I opened a short time of open prayer, inviting people to pray for the other churches' needs.  One of my colleagues, from a tradition nominally highly organised, always prays pretty much the same thing, and while I think I know what he means, it always makes me simultaneously cringe and fight off the giggles.

'We put Jesus in the centre... we lift Him up... we magnify Him...'

Every time he says it, I have a mental image of a circle of people dragging Jesus into the middle of the ring and hoisting Him up onto their shoulders in some sort of gymnastic/acrobatic maneouvre.  Then as He perches precariously on human shoulders someone gets a magnifying glass to make Him seem bigger...

OK, I'm sure that is not what is intended, but there is implicit some theology I struggle with...

Whilst I'm sure my colleague's "putting Jesus in the centre" is more what the Victorians would have deemed "looking unto Jesus" the words used imply that it is us who somehow control where Jesus goes - not unlike the parody of the missionary who carries Jesus in his/her suitcase.  It is not, I would argue, we who put Jesus at the centre but instead who ask God to help us align ourselves with where He is.

'We raise Him up, we magnify Him'  Yes of course I know what these mean, but I do wonder if they make any sense to folk not schooled in religious langauge.  It is, afterall, a Baptist minister who once used as a 'children's talk' the idea that the pulpit was a magnifying machine and made it 'magnify' a match stick into a pencil, a pencil into a broom handle and a tennis ball into a football who is to blame for my desire to giggle during this prayer.

It is easy to critical of other people's attempts at prayer, which may be infinitely more sincere than my own but maybe those of us who lead public prayer have a duty of care in our choice of words?


  • I like Baptists!! (some of my friends are baptist)

    So, please, let's link each other (if u add http://www.magnusbeckerblog.de/ to your blogroll, I'll add you, too). Thank you very much!

  • Hi Magnus,
    thanks for your comment. Alas I am a typical English ignoramous and cannot read German so can't read your site- and Babel Fish failed to translate it. Can you point me to something English language so I can check it out (you know as well as I that the www is a tricky place) . Thanks

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