Friday, March 11, 2011

A Theologian's Prayer For His Cat

I've just finished Stanley Hauerwas's memoir 'Hannah's Child'. It's a great read. There are many things I liked about it and which I could blog about. His honesty, his theological journey, his acute awareness of the possibility of self-deception, his tragic relationship with his first wife, who was mentally ill, his amazing relationship with his son, the fact that he is a Methodist who almost became a Roman Catholic, who is known as a neo-anabaptist, who now worships at an Episcopal church. But I think the thing that impressed me the most was the fact that he clearly believes that theology matters. That may sound obvious for a theologian, but believe me there are plenty of theologians who see theology purely as an academic discipline. Theology matters because God matters, and not just any old god, or some vague notion of the creator, but the God who is the Father of Jesus Christ.

His theology clearly impacts every area of his life. He explains how he doesn't think of himself as a good 'pray-er'. His wife Paula encouraged him to begin praying before his lectures, so he started writing his prayers down, and if you ask me they're pretty amazing prayers.

Here is one he wrote when their cat, Tuck, died:

'Passionate Lord, by becoming one of us, you revealed your unrelenting desire to have us love you. As we were created for such love, you have made us to love your creation and through such love, such desire, learn to love you. We believe that every love we have you have given us. Tuck's love of us, and our love of him, is a beacon, a participation, in your love of all your creation. We thank you, we sing your praise, for the wonderful life of this cat. His calm, his dignity, his courage, his humor, his needs, his patience, his always "being there," made us better, made our love of one another better, made us better love you. We will miss him. Help us not fear remembering him, confident that the sadness such memory brings is bounded by the joy that Tuck existed and, with us, is part of your glorious creation, a harbinger of your peaceable kingdom. Amen.