An Alphabet of Prayer

Friday, February 4, 2022

The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

Doxology: doxa means glory and implies praise or thanks. Doxology can mean the human act of praising God for God’s glory, while doxa itself is more akin to the substance of God’s glory or the weight of God’s radiance.

For example when Moses leads the people out of Egypt, they escape their former life of enslavement and retreat into the desert. Once the people of God have a moment to catch their breath, they look around and realize that the journey ahead will be challenging. They will wander. They will search for their place in the world. The journey has just begun. It will all be vastly different from enslavement: freedom and liberation are embodied experiences.

And yet there are some who look back longingly to their time in Egypt saying to Moses, “we sat by the flesh pots and ate bread to the full…and you have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” In response God says to Moses, “Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you.” Manna from heaven itself a mystery. And knowing this Moses says to the people, “in the morning you shall see the glory (in Hebrew kabodh, in Greek doxa) of the Lord.” In the morning their bellies were full of bread from heaven. In that way they could sing their doxology, their praise, their thanks to God whose glory had been revealed.

The glory of God is not vapid, unapproachable, detached. The glory of God is not beyond us, guarded, withdrawn. The glory of God—doxa—is tangible, embodied. God’s glory is directly related both to our ongoing liberation and to our physical wellbeing. God’s glory is related to the food in our bellies. God does not say to Moses, “Fine go back to the land of beef stew and French loaves.” God instead implies “Stay. Here there is freedom. I do not promise an easy road, but here you will be fed, and here you will find interminable, reliable liberation.”

Praying the Alphabet
Daily we seek you, O God. Dawn to dusk we long for you.
When we are derailed by defeat, disorder, discomfort, disagreement,
we desire your Divine Durability.
When our soul is diminished by disunity, distrust, disequilibrium,
we are desperate for your undivided presence.
Dwell among us, O God. Draw near. Amen.

February 4, 2022

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