is the visceral prayer of the tax collector in Jesus’ parable, crying “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” That, that alone, is all it takes for the compassion and mercy of God to rush with a speed faster than light to his side. He doesn’t know from nothing about theology. He just knows the cry, “Help!”
And it’s enough. “I tell you, that man went home justified.”
There is so much more for Clapton to learn about the Love who loves him, of course. And, God willing, I hope somebody teaches it to him. But the core and essential thing is there in him, the recognition that he needs the help of God. The raw openness to God’s loving and ardent Yes to him.
I keep bumping into stories like this and thinking of Sherry Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples and her discussion of the Rise of the Nones. The Nones are not atheists or agnostics (though they might call themselves that). They are seekers, spiritually homeless people looking for home. They are marked by hunger, not irreligion. They are, if they but knew it, children of St. Augustine, a saint who has an awful lot to say to our age because he lived it.
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless till they rest in thee.”