It was John Calvin who said, “Earth is the theatre of God’s glory.” Thus Eugene Peterson writes:
“Creation is our place for meeting God and conversing with Him… We take box seats in this creation theatre when we pray… The psalmists have season tickets in the theatre. All the psalms are prayed in it. They pray breathless in awe, laughing and crying, puzzled and dismayed, complaining and believing… there is no prayer, real prayer, outside the theatre. Dissociated from creation, prayer drifts into silly sentimentalism, or snobbish mysticism, or pious elitism. The intent of prayer is not to refine our coarse materiality into pure spirit so that we do not embarrass heaven with the vulgarities of flesh… The Word did not become a good idea, or a numinous feeling, or a moral aspiration: the Word became flesh…” (Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer).
The Word became flesh and we continue to interact with Him in prayer. An early error of the first few centuries is known as Gnosticism; it was a philosophy that tried to erase the physicality of Jesus, and the sacredness of God’s creation. Somewhere between this and its converse – idolatry, there is a geography of prayer that uses metaphor, but doesn’t worship it; it uses metaphor, but doesn’t washout the reality of creation. While the psalmists called God a rock, Peterson notes, “they never set up a rock and called it God. They called God a shepherd but never found a good-looking shepherd and made a statue of him to preserve the form of God. They called God a shield but never embellished one with precious stones, hung it in a sacred place, and worshiped it.”
Today’s prayer is taken from portions of Psalm 18:
1 I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me…
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because He delighted in me.
Let yourself be taken into “a spacious place” and feel His delight.