I love the Bible. It is a book I read and try now to live by. Pastors, priests, poets, politicians and theologians are all very well but they do not accompany us to our death bed and beyond. I can’t imagine the words of a poem or political treatise speaking me to life and then gently whisking me off to death. Although I do know a God who spoke, like poetry, this world and us into being and I do attempt to contemplate Him in three persons: Father,Son and Holy Spirit – in awe, in joy, in distress, in despair, anger and often anguish – I do also confess to shaking my head sadly, because like mathematics, I do not understand.
As religionists, we all tend to preach what we imagine to be our God and His will for us, and yet the one true God defies our expression. He indwells our very indrawn and expelled breath. Our minds, capable of intelligent thought, fails us, when we contemplate Him. Our hearts, capable of love, falters when we are asked to love those who have hurt us or have done unforgivable or unjust things. The God, I read about in the Bible, is able. I am not. Sometimes, I am glad. I do not require a quantifiable God. I need a God who can see ahead of me and beyond my mortal being. One who possess a purity of reason and compassion that might be absent in my soul when another needs it most.
The Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, today needs our prayers. There has been a call for it and it made me realize, who knows, I may need it today as well. A dear Christian friend sent me this poem, “The Apologist’s Evening Prayer” by C.S Lewis. I did not know that this author wrote poetry but given my continuous engagement with poetry and inadvertently politics and religion, I thought it might be a good time to lay our political and religious cudgels down and pray for each other.
“FROM ALL MY LAME DEFEATS and oh! much more
From all the victories that I seemed to score;
From cleverness shot forth on Thy behalf
At which angels weep, the audience laugh;
From all my proofs of Thy divinity,
Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me.
Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust, instead
Of Thee, their thin worn-worn image of Thy head.
From all my thoughts, even from my thoughts
O thou fair Silence, fall, and set me free.
Lord of the narrow gate and the needle’s eye,
Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.”