I’ve just been praying some set morning prayers from the Russian Orthodox Church – here’s an example:
May my faith replace my deeds, O my God, for Thou wilt find no deeds to justify me. But may my faith be sufficient for all: may it answer for me; may it justify me; may it make me a partaker of Thine eternal glory. And may Satan not seize me, O Word, and boast that he has torn me from Thy hand and fold. Save me, O Christ, whether I want it or not, for Thou art my God from my mother’s womb. Come quickly to help me, for I perish.
By using these words today, I’ve joined in the story of the Orthodox Church in Russia (and it’s a flipping long story) – not just as a bystander, but as a character in the story. It screws with my head that, every day for maybe a millennium or more, other people have shared exactly the same words as felt personal to me this morning – I love it when my head can’t handle stuff!
This last week, I was in Herrnhut (a little village in Germany, near the Czech border), joining in the continuing story of the Moravians, who prayed around the clock for 120+ years (apparently using the trombone quite a lot 🙂 and sent out missionaries to everywhere in the world. And then I was in Dresden, joining in another story as I sat in a city formerly destroyed by the Allies, listening to a guy who started a weekly prayer meeting that escalated out of control until, in 1989, 400,000 people were praying on the streets of East Germany, and the Berlin Wall came down. That’s more than just a good story!
It can make you feel a bit small, cos the story’s not about you. But I also love how empowering it is too, cos in God’s eyes I’m just as significant as any of the Moravians, or Russian Orthodox, or any other characters in any part of His story (Moses, Mary, Peter, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Florence Nightingale, William Wilberforce, Catherine Booth, Smith Wigglesworth, my Dad), cos He loves me for me, and not because I’ve done anything amazing …
Here’s a quote from The Horse & His Boy:
You’re not quite the great horse you had come to think, from living among the poor dumb horses … you could hardly help being that. It doesn’t follow that you’ll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know that you’re nobody very special, you’ll be a very decent sort of horse.