Nanette Sawyer is the founding pastor of Grace Commons in Chicago and author of Hospitality—The Sacred Art (Skylight Paths).
In my younger, decidedly anti-Christian days, I did not like the way Christians asked God for mercy. It reinforced my idea that “the Christian God” was cruel and punishing. After all, if God was a loving and compassionate God, one would not have to beg for mercy. And if God was cruel and punishing but at the same time righteous and just, then human beings were clearly bad and unworthy. This whole system of thought—shameful people and cruel God—made me want to stay far, far away from Christianity and Christian churches.
I love a good mountaintop experience. It’s a moment when everything changes. Insight flares up in the mind, illuminating the moment, the experience, the problem in a whole new way. You’re never quite the same again. One such moment for me happened in prayer when I was on a three-day silent retreat.
As we contemplate mortality and finitude, I wonder if we could treasure washing the dishes.
Let’s build shrines, Peter says. He doesn’t know how to respond to a mystical mountaintop experience, and he’s afraid.
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