On Friday, my friend, Buddy Stallings, the rector of the
Church of the Ascension on
everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone
who knocks, the door will be opened.
Was there something wrong in the way they were asking? Were they not searching hard enough? Was the knocking supposed to be in some secret code that they were too stupid to figure out? Or was it that they just were not good enough people to get what they so desperately asked for, and so God stood back and watched their misery grow and grow until they were faced with the most difficult decision of their lives: the decision to remove a four-week old baby from life support? Did God ignore them because they weren’t up to God’s standards?
This is a terrible passage of Scripture. People use it to torture themselves and to torture other people. And if, like me, they simply cannot bring themselves to believe that God is so cruel and petty that God ignores us if we do not have just the right words or are not quite good enough, they rationalize the passage away. They look for ways to pretend – and it is nothing but pretending, the way a battered woman pretends that her spouse really does love her because she cannot bear the truth the he doesn’t – They look for ways to pretend that God really did, after all, answer the prayers but we are just too dumb to see it.
[Download the rest of Father Patrick Malloy's sermon below.]