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There have been many conversations in our household regarding the potential purchase of GPS to assist us on our various journeys around town and far away.
We have heard the pros and cons. We have contemplated the need, vis-à-vis the “old fashioned” map reading, noting the “mayhem” component presented in the television ads offered by an insurance company was not helpful. It only identified the anxiety of technology gone awry.
We even tested the product when we rode to a meeting with a friend who had an up-to-date model. Hubby Dear occupied the front passenger seat so he could better hear the directions.
Unfortunately, that idea did not pan out. As the “lady in the box” spoke, Hubby Dear asked, “What did she say?” I could see the future displayed before me. The lady would talk; H.D. would seek my restatement followed by questioning if my interpretation was accurate. By then, our right or left turn would be a moot point and cold silence would reign, until we heard the reproving but renewing words, “recalculating.” Obviously, we remain in the limbo of indecision regarding this step into the future.
In the meantime, the scenario kept repeating itself in my head. This time it was not about a piece of technology. This time it was a rethinking of another global positioning system, one that involved engagement with spirituality.
I began a “what if” process. What if the world’s GPS was God’s Prayer Service? What would that look like? Would that work for us?
I could see it clearly. We’d be on a journey. It might only be to a different section of our spiritual life, not so far away as to be daunting, yet one that we hadn’t yet visited. We’d have traced our travels in prayer journals and conversations with folks who had already been there. We’d pack our bags with ideas, books, tapes and music, whatever would make the trip more enjoyable.
The day would come when we’d be on our way. Just in case our directions were inaccurate or we got lost somehow, we’d take our GPS with us. God’s Prayer Service would be plugged in, ready to assist us as we traveled. All we needed now was to pay attention.
It was so comforting to know that we had a knowledgeable companion on the way. Our own maps would not be forgotten or considered useless. God’s presence does not deny our needs; it empowers them. God’s presence empowers us to be companions on the way, each listening for direction and accepting interpretation and restatement when our hearing was impaired. Each pair of eyes would watch for signs along the way, signs that we had not veered from the chosen path.
Inevitably, we’d run into a detour. Our maps became useless. We couldn’t decipher the accuracy of the new route. Anxiety took hold. Our voices rose, as fear made our heart race. Would we find our way to the main road? Would we lose our way completely? Could we calm ourselves long enough to appreciate the beauty of this newness we were forced to enter?
The questions pierced our fearfulness and a welcome voice emerged from the divine GPS, “Recalculating!” God was recalculating the way for us. God would lead us through this confusion. God would get us back on the way, even if we got there by a different route than we had anticipated. What a relief!
“Turn right at the next intersection, one point four miles from this spot.” The instructions are clear. The voice is calm and decisive. We can relax and give ourselves the gift of following God’s directions. It is such a relief not to have to be in control.
All it takes is listening. Listening to God’s voice as our positioning system is both crucial and salvific. God’s voice is global, mapped perfectly to suit our needs, and constant in its caring. Worries that we might be going in the wrong direction or being lost in a morass of one-way streets disappear because God is constantly recalculating the route so that we might find ourselves.
The television ad included the presence of mayhem as an entity that ruins the positioning system, doesn’t include the latest updates, and causes terrible collisions. It’s a GPS gone awry; a system that harms rather than helps.
God’s Prayer Service promises to include all updates and changes. Nothing will be out of divine control or sight. God will always be there, serving as our guide and guard, preventing us from falling into the hands of mayhem. God promises safety and security. All we need to do is plug the grace of divinity into our lives.
We need to take care of our GPS. We need to make certain that it is not left out in the cold but kept warm and part of our daily rides into the unknown. We need to make God’s presence a useful part of our lives, relying on it totally so that we will not stray from God’s way; God’s will for us.
We’ll also need to keep check of updates, always aware that our God is a God of surprises. Our God is dynamic, calling us to newness, taking us as we are, loving us as we are but never leaving us in a deadly complacency.
God’s Prayer Service is freely given so that it can be freely received and freely shared. God’s Prayer Service is meant to be integrated into the vehicle of our lives, an essential detail that frees us from worry and enlivens each day with adventurous love.
God’s Prayer Service is our global positioning system lovingly recalculating our way home. Without it we are lost, lonely, and scared. Secure in its presence we can travel in peace and bring others along with us to enjoy the ride.
Does this work for you?
Fran Salone-Pelletier has a master’s degree in theology and is the author of Awakening to God: The Sunday Readings in Our Lives [a trilogy of Scriptural meditations], lead chaplain at Brunswick Novant Medical Center, religious educator, retreat leader, lecturer and grandmother of four. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.