Things that Words Can't Say

June 10, 2014

Donna Schaper

"We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans." - Romans 8:26

People misunderstand gardeners.  They think we are like normal people and resist loss and what Robert Frost calls "the diminished thing."  We are not.  We may have all those feelings going on but we also have another one.  It is the gardener's gene and genius.  Groaning is its name.  It is a groaning for the future, the one that will live in the seed after we are long fallow.  What will happen to the morning glories?  They may be perennial but what if the new people forget to water them two years in a row?  What about the lupine?  How long can it take neglect and still purple?  Gardeners don't mind dying; we know the seasons much too well for that.  We mind not seeing what happens next.

Maybe you groan another way.  Most people have a place like the gardener's curiosity.  We feel things that words can't utter.  We lean towards a future we can't find.  In the letter that Paul wrote to the people at Rome, he was not only groaning for them.  He was also groaning to them, hoping that they would find a way to a deeper purple, a longevity worth living.  He groaned, with the Spirit, to tell them what he had found in Jesus.  He confessed that he lived beyond the world of words.  Spirit lives there too, in the unutterable, the groan, the curiosity, the hope that something worth lasting will last.

Prayer

Spirit, You of few words, draw near and help us articulate our groaning and to make it worthy.  Amen

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.
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