So sang REM in 1987…and here we are living it. The end of the world you can distract yourself in, by what you buy, or where you holiday, or where you live. None of these distractions are available anymore. Only the question: what really matters?
Church is made up of those who live as if what really matters is the human being you happen to be with. If so, then everyone matters – not as an idea- but as something that has to be safeguarded, respected and loved. How then should we respond to the “end of the world as we know it?”
Consider what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from the helplessness of a prison cell, awaiting his execution before the end of the second world war:
Jesus is there only for others. His being there for others is the experience of transcendence. It is only this freedom from himself, this being there for others, even to death, that is the source of his omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Faith is this participation in this being of Jesus (incarnation, cross, resurrection). Our relation to God is not a “religious” relationship to a highest, most powerful, and best Being imaginable…but our relation to God is a new life in being there for others…the neighbour who is within reach in any given situation.Letters and papers from Prison, D. Bonhoeffer
It's the quality of Jesus' being there for others that reveals his divinity. Being there for others - is where God happens: in us...through us...with us. being there for others- that won't happen without prayer - the kind of prayer Jacob prayed: "I will not let you go unless you bless me..." And the blessing comes to Jacob, but leaves Jacob with a limp' leaves Jacob wounded. A prayer that wounds. As the poet Scott Cairns says: "The wound is a reminder of his nearness".
A prayer to be there for others. That will leave us with a limp. But who would want to walk without that wound?