Walter Brueggemann is amongst the most important voices in biblical theology and church reflection on mission and ministry. I can learn as much about how to let the Bible speak its truth from one page of Brueggemann, as from whole chapters, even books, of those who recycle received and safe but tired ideas that end up domesticating and subduing the restless,demanding urgency of Scripture text.
In recent years some of Brueggemann's prayers have been published - they too have a startling freshness, a disturbing originality to ears more used to extempore carelessness and informality oblivious of required reverence. The faith of an Old Testament scholar and biblical interpreter inevitably informs and fuels their scholarship, and reading Brueggemann's prayers makes me inexcusably jealous of those who over 40 years have sat in his classes and felt the Bible go red hot in their hands!
Here is one of Brueggemann's prayers at the start of his Old Testament Theology class:
With you it is never "more or less"
We will be your faithful people -
more or less
We will love you with all our hearts -
We will love our neighbour as ourselves -
We are grateful that with you it is
never "more or less"
With you it is never "yes and no,"
but always "yes" - clear, direct,
We thank you for your "yes"
come flesh among us. Amen
From Awed to heaven - Rooted to Earth, (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003), 139.