Home > Church, Faith > God Bless My SUV

God Bless My SUV

Our marathon of visitations (in the physical sense, not the supernatural, though that would make for a much more interesting post) is coming to an end. Tomorrow we leave for home again, after a weekend away after a week hosting a friend after a weekend hosting a bunch of family after a week of hosting other family, after a weekend of moving in after a week and a half of painting. And this week we don’t have any visitors, or anywhere to go but where we want to. Our time is our own again, to use in the evenings and weekends as we’d like to. And there was a great sigh of relief from everyone in our household, down to the lately-neglected fish.

I read lately about a movement that originated in Maryland where a local activist has begun organized prayers at gas stations in the area, to ask God to lower gas prices. It caught on quickly and has gathered international attention. It seems well-intentioned enough, with the claim being to turn to God in our problems and ask Him to intervene when the situation seems to be overwhelming. And in the realm of public Christianity in America it’s better than much of what’s out there, being a public display of personal faith through group prayer rather than, say, street preachers, Christian politicians, televangelists, webevangelists, or outspoken revivalists.

I know, it’s not hard to beat the bar most of those guys set. But I’m reaching here for something positive to say about this movement to offset what I really think about it all, so perhaps it might not end up sounding like a rant. Because really, if you’re going to pick something to pray publicly about…gas prices? This is what is most important to put in public effort towards? The object of prayer here I suppose more or less undercuts any positive aspect I could dig up on the idea anyway.

Michael Spenser, my blogging hero of late, makes the point more eloquently that I think I can manage right now:

So somewhere a homeless man or a family struggling to put food on the table will see a group of middle class suburban Christians gathered around a gas pump, praying that God will have mercy and get things back to where we can all go about our business. I don’t have to spend much time asking if Jesus would join such a prayer meeting.

Perhaps rising gas prices isn’t something God is concerned about. Perhaps instead it’s something He’s orchestrated if you will, to invite a more sober reckoning of what our priorities are. The Old Testament is full of stories of prophets delivering messages to Israel to give up worshiping at the altars of other gods and return to devotion to the one God. I can’t avoid the symbolism here where rising oil prices have driven Christians to pray at gas pumps.

There’s more I think to this parallel than I have the brain power to delve into at this hour, but the lines are open. I even had a snappy ending in my head just now, but when I reached back for it it had already fizzled. Must go to sleep now.

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