Yesterday morning at 5:45 AM in Knoxville Tennessee, on my way to Cracker Barrel to meet my friend, I beheld a spectacular crescent moonrise announcing to my day that the mighty sun was just around the bend. I sat down at my back right-hand table as Lahoma brought my coffee and greeted my day, and I pulled out my book on Prayer by Tim Keller (given to me by my son Nick)only to find myself converged by these words:
Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon. The crescent is very beautiful and perhaps that is all one like I am should or could see; but what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge myself by the shadow that is nothing.
Flannery O’Connor, January 1946
My friend David arrived and said that he had noticed the moon as well, and he commented on how the bright crescent edge is supported by the faint known, that is difficult to confirm quantitatively, rim that circled the entire lunar orb.
And I have pondered that image and that prayer for these 24 hours, even waking very early to read a few more words by Keller that emphasize the importance of prayer:
Prayer is the only entry way into genuine self-knowledge. It is also the main way we experience deep change – the reordering of our loves. Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us. Indeed prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life
I then spoke to the Lord and asked him to show me how much I need him and to speak to me. Because I see my self-sufficiency and yet am haunted by the brevity of my stay here and the temptation to miss it altogether in my brief time by focussing on my on success in selfish preoccupation. I fell asleep again on the couch and had a dream.
I found my self on a wide field with a lot of people with my sons Ben and Nick nearby in front of a set. We were standing and speaking on some sort of TV show – I remember the monitors and we were laughing and joking. Then I heard the music strike up and we were in a long line of worshippers, all excited who started singing and clapping hands and playing instruments to “O Happy Day.” It started building in volume and we could not help but join in and start singing. The harmonies were all rich and full, and then there appears a leader who moved on some sort of podium down the rank of celebrating band members – It was Rick Presley, thriving and well and throwing himself into the direction of the singers waving a baton and looking down at us with a gratified smile.
The worshipping line soon took on the form of a marching band from Tennessee – no more orderly with all of the dancing and playing and singing, but somehow a Tennessee unity. And there appeared a tall white man dresses in red and white university garb – with IU. It may have been a band uniform, or just team apparel, but he was from a different earthly patronage – Indiana University. He had heard the music and came breaking in to join the Tennessee throng worshipping the Lord. The dream was so intense and music so full that it seemed more than a dream , and so fresh in my mind as I awoke in thanksgiving that I am in a happy day, and finding myself accepted and affirmed by God this morning because Jesus has washed my sins away. Praise Him! That is how God met me when I called to him.