Earnest yet playful
Prayer can be playful. Prayer should be playful.
Genesis 18:20-32 presents this truth. Henry Wansborough OSB comments:
This delightful story is reminiscent of a scene of bargaining in an oriental bazaar, a scene of deadly earnest, yet playful bargaining (Universalis).
Abraham is earnest, yet playful with God. If there are 50 just men, God won’t destroy the city. What if there are 45 just men? What if there are 40 of them…
Prayer is dialogue, conversation with God, earnest yet playful.
So, by all means be earnest in your life of prayer, but be playful too.
In the Lectionary – the book of biblical readings for Mass – the reading from Genesis is given the preface, ‘Abraham negotiates with the Lord.’
Negotiate is an interesting English word, derived from the Latin language.
It comes from ‘otium’ which means leisure, rest. Placing a ‘neg’ in front of it we get the negative of leisure, which is work, trade, business.
Why don’t we try and see our life this way?
So many moments there are that are earnest, full of work, business and trade, yet they needn’t burden us so much because there are always intimations of rest and leisure – playfulness – in these moments, too.