A Prayer of Thanksgiving: For Barth and the Bathroom



Dear Father of Grace,

Thank you for those spare moments this morning which I spent with Barth in the bathroom. And odd combination, I’ll admit. But I found it a stark reminder of your grace in basic human needs and yet your complex mystery as The Aim of our pursuits.

I recall a joke I heard once, a story of Barth’s arrival in heaven. The joke goes that Barth arrives with his entire Church Dogmatics in a red wheelbarrow which he pulls behind him as he enters the pearly gates. Then, as he is approaching your throne, a strange noise fills the heavens. After some time, Barth realizes it is the angels laughing. At him: Karl Barth with a lifetime of talk about You tossed in the back of a wagon as the man trudges along those golden streets to the chorus of divine laughter.

What a comedic reminder, dear Lord. Fill us with the laughter of the angels and enable us to never take ourselves so seriously that we cannot see the humble joke we are at our highest moments. Even Barth- who (I’m told) never accepted Dogmatics as a completed work- knew that if he did finish, he would have to start over again.

Thank you for being a God who laughs with us, when you really could and ought to laugh at us. Thank you for alluding us, humorously too. And thank you this morning, God of All, for Barth and the bathroom.


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