This week I’ve been thinking about getting stretched out, crucified, between worry and regret.

An image from Jennifer's Listening Book that explores the postures of stretched out arms and hands in prayer position at heart-centre. One looks like an image of crucifixion and the other like prayer hands.
The Psalms point to a posture of prayer as a helpful antidote to feeling crucified between worry and regret.

A long time ago, in my small town Grade 8 Science class, Mr. Powers asked one of the strong young men in the class to hold a ten dollar bill with his arm stretched out all the way. If he could hold up his arm for ten minutes, he could keep the ten bucks.

Jeremy couldn’t do it. Ten bucks was a big incentive at that point and he couldn’t do it. The weight of his own muscles made his arm too heavy.

Test the posture out. Stretch out your left hand as far left as you can, and then stretch out your right arm in the opposite direction, and just hold them up until your arms are too tired to carry on.

I come nowhere close to ten minutes.

This week as I reflect on the story of Saul and David from the week’s lectionary readings, I see Saul stretched out between worrying about what was going to happen in the future and regretting the mistakes he made because he would not accept mentoring. Stretched out, tight, and unable to bear up under the weight of his own arms.

Lots of us get crucified between worry and regret in precedented times, let alone unprecedented ones.

I see the contrast in David. David made mistakes, but the tone of his life was always to come back into relationship. Many of the prayer-poem Psalms were David’s space of talking to the Divine Family and being filled with praise for relationship. Take a listen to this Faith at Home Podcast episode based on Psalm 28 for an example of prayer and praise in hard times. Prayer and praise, day by day.

The Psalms aren’t a retirement project, but an everyday, living faith practice. The Psalms are a workhorse for a life of prayer.

Try a different physical posture as an example. Instead of heavy arms, stretched out, weighed down by worry and regret, we can move our hands in toward our heart-centre. Let your right hand tell the truth of your being loved from before the beginning. Bring your left hand in to meet it, and allow it to affirm your position as one who is forgiven.

Let your physical hands represent prayer (conversation with God) and praise (the etiquette of relationship). If we will move our hands into a prayer position in front of our heart, our hands will have the support and the strength to be held up. Try this posture and see how many minutes your hands could support one another tucked up against your heart-centre. There is almost no limit strength-wise.

Our original blessing, being loved and grateful in relationship with God, can help us to be more elastic in the midst of uncertainty. That’s just one benefits of a faith relationship, alive and active in the every day.

What do you notice when you test out these two postures?
How might you engage prayer and praise in the midst of your everyday experiences?

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