Excerpt from Subversive Spirituality by Eugene H. Peterson
Teach Us to Care
Teach us to use all these occasions of need that are the agenda of our work as access to God, access to neighbor;
Teach us to care by teaching to pray so that human need becomes occasion for entering into and embracing the presence and action of God in this life;
Teach us to care by teaching to pray so that those with whom we work are not less human through our caring but more human;
Teach us to care so that we do not become collaborators in self centeredness but rather companions in God-exploration;
Teach us to use each act of caring as an act of praying so that this person in the act of being cared for experiences dignity instead of condescension and realizes the glory of being in on the salvation and blessing and healing of God and is not driven further into neurosis and the wasteland of self.
Teach Us Not to Care
Teach us to be reverential in all these occasions of need that are the agenda of our work, aware that you were “long beforehand” with this person, creating and loving, saving and wooing;
Teach us the humility of not-caring so that we do not use anyone’s need as a workshop to cobble together makeshift messianic work that inflates our importance and indispensability;
Teach us to be in wonder and adoration before the beauties of creation and the glories of salvation, especially as they come to us in these humans who have come to think of themselves as violated and degraded and rejected;
Teach us the reticence of restraint of not-caring so that in our eagerness to do good we do not ignorantly interfere in your caring;
Teach us not to care so that we have time and energy and space to realize that all our work is done on holy ground in your holy name, that people and communities in need are not a wasteland where we feverishly and faithlessly set up shop but a garden in which we work contemplatively.