Recently my wife bought herself a new wall decoration with 10 family rules. It appears I am not much of a rule abiding person, so she must have thought I will help him remember. It contains very nice rules like: Be Happy, Be Thankful, Work Hard. Much fitting my life reality.
However, it also contains a few that I have more trouble with: Keep Your Promises, Clean up after yourself, Always tell the truth. And to tell you the truth, there is one I often forget about. The very last rule on the board. It should probably have been the first: "Say your prayers". Today is what we call petition day. We may bring our petitions to God, praying for a good season. I belief it is a Dutch protestant custom to have a petition day as well as a thanks-giving day.
For many people in the world prayers for daily bread are a reality with a much deeper meaning than I have ever experienced in my life. I sometimes take it for granted that I find food at the table in the morning. However, with the crisis hitting home our religious upbringing may bring back some dependencies that we may have forgotten about.
The very act of asking for something because you don't have it (some call it begging) is one of the things we avoid by all means. And we look down on people who dare to bother us begging for some help, a daily reality in many metropoles around the world. I must say, having lived in a few of them, I have also been taught that giving is useless as it does not offer a structural solution. The Reverent in church today reminded me of this act of asking. How humiliating this may be. And at the same time: if we only dared to ask. How many people will come to your help? Is asking not similar to allowing someone else to be meaningful to you?
" Ask and you will be given" . Probably we should work less hard and be asking for more.
My name is Reinier van Hoffen.
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Also find the text of a lecture Dr. Achterhuis held at the 2012 Bilderberg conference.