Thursday, December 4, 2008

Haunted by the Prayer of Mother Teresa

On Monday evening I had the privilege of joining Suzie Slonaker, Dr. Tony Campolo, Dr. Paul Louis Metzger, Clark Blakeman, and about 20 others for dinner at the Aquariva Restaurant just south of downtown Portland. The funny thing about meeting at a hip restaurant on a Monday evening is -- you just about own the place. To say the least, we didn't have a problem hearing each other. And that's a good thing.
 
The discussion over dinner was how we, as followers of Jesus Christ, can be more intentional about loving "the least of these." Suzie and her staff and volunteers and supporters at REACH Ministries are champions at doing just that. Their mission, through the love of Jesus, is to extend compassionate care to those affected by HIV/AIDS and all life-threatening illnesses and situations.
 
I wish I could share a video or audio recording of Monday evening's discussion. It was lively, engaging, challenging -- and deeply resonated with me at every turn.
 
At the dinner, Suzie shared this prayer from Mother Teresa. The words of this prayer continue to haunt me:
 
Deliver me, O Jesus,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the desire of being popular,
 
Deliver me, O Jesus,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being slandered,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being suspected.
 
Amen.
 
If you google "David Sanford" or "If God Disappears," you'll find a wide assortment of rants and raves. Just remember there is more than one "David Sanford" in the world! Still, I've received a lot of harsh words over the past decade and a half since the Internet first went public. I talk about those harsh, angry words in my new book -- knowing, as I wrote it, that I would receive plenty more.
 
Some have wondered why I link to the critical, negative, and even harsh reviews of my new book on this blog. That's easy. I trust you, whether you know me or are visiting my blog for the first time, to decide whether what someone says about me or my book is worth believing.
 
Besides, we've all said things we later wished we could take back. I certainly have. Others have shown me an immense amount of grace. Maybe Mother Teresa's haunting prayer will help me to do the same more consistently and authentically.

1 comment:

Johanna W said...

I am being so blessed by your book — it’s the kind of book you want to read and re-read over and over. It’s so full of such great teaching. Thank you.