I know a really nice, simple, churchy woman whose sister has brain cancer. Last week she thankfully told me that a recent test said that the cancer had not spread. She said, “We had a huge prayer chain. I mean like thousands. Like even all the way up in Michigan. I know that’s why the cancer didn’t spread. I mean, she was totally covered in prayer.”
It was a nice story.
A nice, churchy story with words like “prayer-chain” and “covered.” The type perfectly apropos in that certain corny sub-culture of American Christendom.
But why am I so cynical about it? Why do I doubt the churchy prayer team moms and the program-oriented pastors had anything to do with stopping the growth of the tumor?
I mean if it really was You in there why didn’t you just remove the whole rest of the tumor?
And why have I started to use the word “churchy” to describe things that I think are totally uncool.
If I put my pride and hurt aside, honestly, I think we are ALL Your church and You will work in any way You want.
You are God of the moms covering their loved ones in prayer chains, like my mom did. You are God of a little church doing their old-fashioned thing in Eureka, Kansas. You are God of Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, and Billy Graham alike. You are God of street hippies with puppies weaving crosses out of hemp. Of my friend who drinks and smokes on his porch as he does his morning quiet times. Of my gay seminary student friend who is trying to impact culture with movies. You are God to all of us who are seeking you in the best way we know how.
And do I doubt that it was you who stopped the tumor from spreading because You didn't work in the way I think You should work? The truth is You could go in there and heal only half of a tumor if You wanted to and You would have Your reasons.
That is all. You are bigger than me and my ways. You are bigger than a flashy mega church and small enough to work in every single half-believing, cynical, slowly healing heart, like mine.
And I think I might just try to start using the word “churchy” to talk about people in Your church who, most of the time, are simply doing our best as the people you have made us, to heal our loved ones and in the end be called good and faithful servants by our God.
Raw Spoon, June 12, 2012