Perhaps the most attractive quality of the folks I am privileged to hang out with is their simplicity. Often people confuse simplicity with ease or easiness but these folks lead far from easy lives. They do though exhibit a beautiful simplicity which I find quite compelling. Involuntary poverty has stripped my friends of illusions of self-reliance. Folks who habitually experience more month than money become more apt to look simply to their heavenly Father.
The other day there were only three of us at our “Study & Prayer”. At the conclusion of the prayer time I opted not to end with our usual “Our Father…” but instead invoked a blessing on each of us as we went our way. I did this because not everyone remembers all the words and sometime people can feel awkward and in such a small group one cannot hide such a lapse. It seemed like the right thing, at the time, but one of the group brought to my attention that I had forgotten the closing prayer. Rather than to try and justify myself I just conceded that I had indeed omitted it. In the ensuing conversation she explained to me how much the prayer has come to mean to her. She really values the reminder that God is King and that we do best when we seek to do his will.
This was a bit of an eye opener for me. Over the years I think I may have become inoculated to the effects of this powerful prayer. I can rattle it off without a thought! My friend might stumble over a word but to her it is fresh and powerful.
This came home to me again as I was reading a book about the spirituality of St. Francis. The author, Richard Rohr, writes “To pray and actually mean “thy Kingdom come”, we must also be able to say “my Kingdom go””
I do not find such a simple spirituality very easy! It is difficult to voluntarily let go of the things I hold (or better said hold me). My kingdom may be puny and pitiful but it is hard won. I have spent the capital of a life time to purchase it. Paul in Romans suggests that it is only “filthy rags” but they are my rags! Yet my daily prayer is that my Kingdom needs to go and that his must come. His is a more beautiful and everlasting Kingdom. It is a much more worthy investment. It is the rock upon which to build a life of simple significance.
I am, I think, hearing the siren call of voluntary simplicity and to, in Samson like fashion, shake off the bonds of ‘my kingdom’ and simply follow after Jesus and the way of Jesus in my life. This is not easy. Faltering are the footsteps that follow a perfect example. Frail and fallible feet try to tread this path. But follow I must! It is the way of life for me. Each day each moment the questions comes “whose will?”, “whose kingdom?”
My friends set me an example! I am blessed to spend so much time with the involuntary poor so that I can learn the value of voluntary simplicity. I do not want to ever lose sight of the fact that poverty induced simplicity is not God’s plan. His Kingdom is one of justice and equity. To this Kingdom we owe our allegiance!