My daughter and I have been watching the Masterpiece Theatre production, Wives and Daughters, and for me, it's the second time I've seen it. Besides the gorgeous scenery and costumes, this time I am enjoying "seeing" the character of Molly Gibson.
If I liked her last time I saw this, I like her even more so now. Molly Gibson is a truth teller. And in an age of discreet and tedious social protocol, she stands out as a pure light of simple honesty. She says what she thinks- when the situation warrants it. And when the situation calls for her to bite her tongue, so to speak, she does. She knows how to do both.
I'm impressed by this kind of practical and social wisdom. It's no small thing to "be yourself", blend in with the social mores, stand on an issue, keep within a social group, build relationships, cut ties when you have to. You don't need the patience of Job for this kind of accomplishment- you need the wisdom of Solomon here. And even in that department, Solomon himself did not fare that well.
According to Wikipedia, Mores (pronounced /ˈmɔːreɪz/) are norms or customs. Mores derive from the established practices of a society rather than its written laws. They consist of shared understandings about the kinds of behaviour likely to evoke approval, disapproval, toleration or sanction, within particular contexts.
I recently discovered- don't know why I didn't see this before- that there are no social mores with God. When it comes to prayer, or coming to God with your concerns, there are no intricate, unspoken but implied, paths you have to navigate. For the Christian, the plain and spoken reality of the cross of Christ is clearly seen as the means we have, the access we have, to come to God.
But there are no social customs, no snickering snide remarks made by angelic bystanders, about the way we are supposed to come to Him. You won't hear an angelic whisper admonish you, "Oh, didn't you know? You're supposed to kneel three times, cross yourself twice, and look as pious as you can. That's the way we do it here in this realm".
The plain, welcoming truth is that I don't have to figure out any incidental customs that would invoke disapproval or disdain if I inadvertently said the wrong thing to God at the wrong time. There are no social mores with Him. What a relief.
There are social mores in the church, in relationships we have with other people of faith or Christian beliefs, though. There are preferences in certain sub-groups for how to present yourself or how to pray, even, or how to express your thoughts. That's reality. It's just that many groups don't even realize they have these preferences. This can cause a bit of a problem. Sometimes relationships suddenly reveal that we've had our preferences and our likes and our dislikes as guiding rules- and sometimes a rule gets broken in the relationship. Now the relationship has a problem- but what exactly is the problem?
Haven't figured out all the social interpersonal stuff yet. I may be 100 before I figure all that out. But I have discovered that there is a very direct route of communication with God. I've discovered there are no social mores with Him and that I don't have to weigh myself down with concern over possibly breaking any so called unspoken but spiritual rule of how to talk with God, how to be myself with God. I just talk with Him, any time I want to. He hears me.
And if I have to take up my cross to follow Christ as a Christian, and thereby suffer some things, one thing I do not have to suffer is a burdensome, tedious route to talking with God. The coast is clear. My mind is clear. And it's very clear that it's all because He made a way for me to come to Him.