God's Lovingkindness Endures Forever
Psalm 136 sung by Jessi Colter
"a profound connection is lost when people
stop being able to hear each other's ways of praying."
-- Leonard Cohen, paraphrase
"generous listening to how other people pray is prayer:
an act of participating in the divine kindness."
-- Process Theology, not paraphrase
Listening to others pray as prayer
Ann Powers reminds us, with help from Leonard Cohen, that one of the gifts of listening is that we get to hear other people’s ways of praying. This is one form of being a generous listener.
It goes without saying that, in our time, Christians need to hear the beauty of a Muslim way of praying. And a Jewish way and a Buddhist way and a Native American way. But it must also be said that Muslims and others need to hear the beauty of a Christian’s way of praying.
In hearing that beauty a space is opened up for people of faith and people without faith to feel part of the very root of faith: shared yearnings of the heart for something deep that comforts and connects.
In process theology, this kind of listening is itself a prayer. Not simply a prayer for peace but a prayer in peace, because in the listening itself, in the understanding, the comfort and connection of the Loving Kindness that endures forever finds its moment on earth, in our very act of listening and being connected in, well, lovingkindness.
-- Jay McDaniel