On Sundays, Night Prayer will focus on an element from the day’s celebration of Mass: tonight, the Lord’s words in today’s gospel, addressed to Zacchaeus, a man of short height who had climbed a tree to get a better view of Jesus…
« Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
When I look for myself in this story, Lord,
my first thought is that I don’t often enough
try like Zacchaeus to see you more clearly…
So I can hear you calling out to me,
« Come down from your high horse
and come closer – I’m here, right by your side… »
Or perhaps you’re saying,
« Step out from the shadows and into my light:
I’ll show you the way to the peace you’re seeking… »
Or might these be your words, Lord?
« Come over to my side and leave behind
the people and things that are holding you back… »
And then, there’s that urgency, clear in your voice,
« Come down! Come quickly! Come now! »
I know I waste time, that I put off you off;
I postpone prayer for no reason at all;
I hustle and rush for foolish things;
I’m slow to respond when you whisper my name
and still you call out,
« Come down! Come quickly! Come now!
I won’t waste your time – I promise!
I’m waiting for you, always looking for you
and I wait in patience – even when I say,
Come down! Come quickly! Come now! »
And you want to meet me – where?
In my house? Why not at church?
Right where I am? A bit too close!
In my heart? how ’bout my mind?
In my soul? That’s private space!
Here and now? How ’bout tomorrow?
You’re at my door? I hear you knocking!
Let you in? Have I a choice?
Yes… you’re always at my door
and I often hear you knocking,
calling out my name
in my thoughts and heart and soul,
in my everyday existence,
in every place I go
it’s you who follows me, Lord,
not the other way around,
it’s you who’s always calling,
« Come down – and come down quickly!
Come now – I’m here for you! »
Help me surrender, Lord!
Help me give up, give in, give way
to how you are always looking,
with patience ever searching,
and daily drawing closer
for a better view of me…
Protect me, Lord, while I’m awake
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace…
It wasn’t easy finding music for this Night Prayer. Virtually
all songs relating to the Zacchaeus story are written for very
young children. The piece I chose combines the movement of
Jesus into Jericho and in to Zacchaeus’ life and ours – with
the freedom he brings when we welcome him into the homes
of our hearts…
Freedom Is Coming Traditional South African