This is the third story for our Lenten series. It is on the theme of Praying. The previous sermons are linked at the bottom of this article.
The maid's companion shielded her eyes as she looked towards the gatehouse. "Another person has taken the step. Looks to be a knight." Then they continued to walk around the battlements of the castle. The maid looked again at the noble woman who had met her when she had finally stepped towards the gate after months of wavering. The woman was still beaming, as she had been on that day... how long ago had it been? A week? A month? Time seemed to stand still here. When she had first met the woman in front of the gate, she had bowed low to her in deference to her obvious nobility, but the woman had taken both her hands in hers and raised her up. "There is only one noble we bend the knee to in the Castle. While I shall be your guide, you shall not defer to me except in matters of instruction. Call me, 'sister.'" It was hard for the maid to accept after years of servitude, but after looking in the woman's eyes, she thought she could handle it. After all, hadn't she been able to overcome her personal sense of unworthiness to step forward to the gate? "Where, then Milad.... I mean, sister, are you taking me today?" The woman smiled at the slip, then said, "You seem to have recovered well. It is time for you to go to the audience hall to learn how to converse." The maid paled, "Converse with Him? The Lord of the castle? I'm only a maid, I'm not worthy to do that!." The woman looked at her sternly, "We have discussed this. Our Lord knows no class or birth. We are all unworthy of his countenance, but made worthy by his courteous action."
The maid paused, then said, "I have a question." The woman laughed not unkindly, "Of course you do. You all do. Endless amounts of them. What do you wish to know?" The maid blushed and smiled lightly. "Our Lord knows what it is we want to talk about before we ask, is it not true?" "Yes, it is. Our Lord knows our every thought and action down to the lowest functions of our being." "What, then, is the point of conversation?" The woman paused, "When you worked in the baron's kitchen, did you talk to the other servants?" "Oh yes, all the time." "Did anyone ever tell a story twice?" "There was a huntsman who would tell a story about a bull and a miller that was really funny." She blushed, "It was a little off-color." The woman smiled back at her. "He told it to us at least twice a week!" "Did anyone laugh after the first time?" "Oh yes! We rolled on the floor. It was funny every time!" "But you knew the information in the story. You knew how it began, continued, and ended. Why would you want to hear it again?" The maid thought, "Perhaps because its not about the content, but about the relationships between the teller and the listeners." "Exactly. Relationship is based on communication. Without communication, there is no relationship. The effectiveness of conversation is not based solely on facts, but on the quality of the relationship." "So even though the Lord already knows what we wish to communicate, the conversation still has value?" "Yes. And more than that. The process of conversing quite often clarifies in our heads what we want and desire. In some ways, that is the true value of conversation with our Lord. It does not change Him, but it changes us and how we see our world." They walked a bit while the maid considered this.
"How then do we converse with our Lord?" "There are many ways, almost as many ways as there are people. We can converse with words, or with thoughts, or with action. Some ways are quiet, others are loud, some are simple and spontaneous, others are complex and ritualistic. Tradition teaches us many ancient ways and the Spirit teaches us new ones." "Am I really ready for this?" The woman turned, took the maid's face in her hands, and spoke clearly and directly. "As servants of our Lord, we are ALWAYS worthy, and always called to pick up our conversation with Him. You start with a simple conversation, and then add complexity as it is called for. And you, my dear, are ready - nay - long overdue - to start this conversation."