Photo Prayer 2021-29 -- One Of Many

“Our” is the first word of the Lord’s Prayer. That prayer goes on to say, “Give us today our daily bread.” and “Deliver us from evil.” Who is this “us” kemo sabe? It’s a word I generally do not think about. Worse, if I am praying alone, I find myself praying not for us but for me, myself, and I. If I am praying with others, my prayer is often limited to those around me. It takes an act of will for me to extend the meaning of “us” to include everyone everywhere — including you, for instance. Am I not one of many, with as much but no more claim to God’s favor as you or anyone else? Please, think of me when you pray, and all our sisters and brothers. I will try to think of you!

Photo of cooking utensils in the kitchen at Brodsworth Hall, South Yorkshire, England.
Image copyright 2018; text, 2021 by Danny N. Schweers.

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Alice wrote:
I couldn't agree with you more about the nature of my prayers as well.

Susan wrote:
Love the photo attached to this. All of us hanging out together! Good thought. Will definitely keep it in mind when I pray.

Nancy wrote:

Elaine wrote:
Great point! Great picture!!

John wrote:
I found another photo of the same utensils! This place [Brodsworth Hall] would be on my bucket list of things to see if I were younger. 😊. That site must be really amazing. (Kind of like Winterthur here in Wilmington in the sense of not being changed since some early date. Also like the Truman house in Independence Mo. Have you ever seen that? Unchanged since Harry’s death and part of National Parks service.) I loved the photo prayer!! I have had a recent insight/hypothesis that the “foundational sin” is selfishness — broadly defined. Your prayer is a good reminder to pray to be “saved” from that sin.

Stephanie wrote:
Each one of those utensils is unique. And yet, they are all in the service of a single task, food preparation. An apt metaphor for people of a common cause or belief. I believe that each of us is a particle of the cosmic consciousness. It takes "prayer" for us to have even the most remote intimation of life's mystery. Although we aspire to understand and receive God's grace, our humanness (selfishness?) gets in the way. An eye-catching and pleasing piece of photography. And what is that thing in the lower right corner? And where is the missing utensil? Ah, mystery.

Mark wrote:
Most of my life I've been a skeptic re: prayer. More recently, I find I can 'pray' with some element of surrender, if I concentrate not so much on content but on a theme. The theme always is the same: a desire to be aware of, and then to feel connected to, a pervasive current of energy that I remember and sometimes notice in present time within me - sometimes surging within me - as well as all around me, in others, but in basically everything that isn't me. My faith is in the notion that if I can feel this sense of connection, authentically, then I will be replenished with fresh energy and perhaps able to figure out how to persevere and get through whatever is creating too much distance, disconnect, and/or hurt. So in a nutshell, for me at least, prayer has become all about connection.

DANNY REPLIED: Thanks for those comments, both short and expansive! I especially like Susan’s interpretation that the serving utensils in the photo represent us hanging together. It is so pleasing to me that my photos and prayers spark such diverse comments from such a diverse audience. Here is a link to a photo showing more of that same kitchen in Yorkshire:


Craig wote:
I like it! These would make great decor in a restaurant (farm to table?) Here is a photo from Hell’s Backbone Kitchen in Boulder Mountain, Utah. They use colanders for decor... it works! [DANNY REPLIED: Colanders! Bowls with holes in them! Now that you mention them, I have on occasion found those patterns of holes remarkable in their creative geometry. Looking more closely at my photo, I see that seven of the eight utensils have patterns of holes. Only one of those patterns is a square grid; the rest show imaginative design. Looking at your photo, that is the twin to the colander we have in our kitchen, with its odd asymmetric hole patterns.]

Joe [a professional photographer] wote:
Beautiful. [DANNY REPLIED: I confess to bringing out the colors in the photo, but only because I found them so pleasing, especially the way the yellow tungsten light on the left gives way to blue daylight on the right.]

David wote:
I think it is referring to your pod. [DANNY REPLIED: It? My pod? You've lost me, David. Then again, I am easily confused and fear I may become even more easily confused as I get older, not only because my brain synapses are hardening but because I cannot keep up with the new words in our common vocabulary. Saying that, I remember that "pod" is my group of friends with whom I do not have to wear a mask. And "it" is the word "us" in the Lord's Prayer. Well, that is often how I say that prayer, that "us" is me and my pod and to hell with everyone else! But that is not how the prayer is meant to be said. When others say that prayer, they should be thinking of me and, if I am consistent, they should be thinking of you. And, I suppose, if we are to be consistent, we should be thinking of them. I hate being consistent!]

Nancy wrote:
I love the photo and the lighting. It's those simple patterns that stand out the most. As to "us" is that not a reference to the people that are present and or those we hold dear. But perhaps to all Christians. I'm thankful that he is patience with all of "us". [DANNY REPLIED: One of my fascinations is the common desire to decorate with patterns. That desire flies in the face of the modernist movement that values clean lines and plain, unadorned surfaces.]

Denison wrote:
Love the photo. Will send you a handmade paper piece that included a colander.

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