Sunday, December 03, 2006

Drowning in a Sea of Individualism

Here's an example of how different modern culture is from the corporate culture of the Bible. First, a question: When you are going on a trip by car, do you pray for your trip? If you do, for what do you pray?

My guess is that, if you are a believer in Christ, you pray. So far so good. Now answer the second question, "What do you pray for?" If you are like me, you pray for things like no rain or snow, dry roads, good visability, little traffic, lax speed limits and no construction zones, those kind of practical things.

Let's contrast the concerns that we pray for with how anicent Israel prayed. The Rabbi's prayed that God would not listen to the prayers of travelers! Why? Because it was thought that travelers were likely to only pray for their own needs and not the greater needs of the peoples through whose land they sojourned.

As one commentator put it, "The Jews had a sense of solidarity that we don’t understand. ... As a result, their prayers encompassed the good of the community and were not isolated to the individual."

What a totally different perspective from our own age. We are so stuck in our own idiosyncratic needs and desires that we almost never think of the common good. That's part of the problem at the center of most of our discontent with one another in our families, in our churches and in all of our relationships.

2 comments:

Craver VII said...

Pray like the rabbis if you wish, but I can still get a St. Christopher for the dashboard, a Jesus fish for the bumper, and a plethora of scented doohickeys to hang from the mirror. If I look hard enough, I might even be able to find a modern-day Tetzel offering reasonable rates on a truckload of kitsch. That should ensure sunny skies and wind to my back, right?

ChosenRebel said...

Clearly, I will have to do a series of messages on superstition!