Friday, March 7, 2014

Lectio Divina--Day Three


[Here is part three and the final installment of a brief series on the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina.  Click here for part one, and here for part two.]

I cant count the number of times this happens every day: 
*   I examine my work in light of my colleagues, and I ask:  Am I productive enough?  Smart enough?  Approachable enough? 
*   I evaluate the quality of my parenting against the standard I create by watching mothers I know, and then I worry: Am I as close to my children as she is to hers?  Too harsh?  Too lenient?  Not fun enough?  Too frivolous?
*   I observe my friends social graces, and I wonder:  Am I kind enough?  Witty enough?  Outgoing enough? 
Perhaps its normal to think this way.  I'm not sure.  This habit of thinking, though, typically produces yet another item for an ever-growing list of what I am not.

And when I approach my spiritual journey from the same vantage point, the results are even more incriminating.
·      I encounter one believers amazing generosity and recognize my own fierce attempt to hold tightly to any blessing that comes my way.
·      I see someones unwavering trust in the midst of unimaginable hardship and realize my own tendency to vacillate.
·      I hear a Christ-follower describe the ways God speaks when she prays hear an unnerving question whispering loud from the back of my mind:  Why doesnt He talk to you that way, Anne?
These are some of the reasons its hard to imagine myself as anywhere near qualified to have been in the boat during that pre-dawn storm.  But if somehow I had been one of the twelve, theres one thing Im sure of:  I would NOT have been Peter. 

I wouldve been one of the others.  One who didnt recognize Jesus at first.  One who was terrified at seeing what I thought was a ghost.  One who sat watching while my zealous friend made that audacious request for Jesus to call him onto the water, thinking he could walk on it too.

In that moment, I would have been comparing myself to Peter.  
And I wouldve fallen disappointingly short.

If youd been one of the disciples that night, what might you have felt?
*   Would you have feared for Peters safety?
*   Would you have dismissed this as just another example of his often-overblown self-importance?
*   Would you have rolled the eyes of your heart in secret disdain when he faltered?
*   Would you have been frustrated with yourself, or envious of Peters fearlessness?
*   Would you have wished Jesus had invited you to come out on the water?
*   Would you have wondered why He didnt?
*   Would you have expected Him to reprimand you for you didnt do?

Im struck by how neither Matthew, Mark, nor Johnall of whom were right theredescribe such a reprimand.  Nor do they seem at all fazed by their own inclination to simply observe the scene as it unfolded.  Mark and John, in fact, dont even mention Peters part of the story.  

What all three accounts include, though, are His shimmering words: 

Take courage.
It is I. 
Dont be afraid.

Surely those sentences spoke something unique to each man in that boat:

Dont be afraid  . . . of the waves that toss you.
Dont be afraid  . . . of your inability to recognize Me at first.
Dont be afraid  . . . of your own fear.
Dont be afraid  . . . of what you cant find the courage to do right now.
Dont be afraid  . . . that youre not like Peter.
Dont be afraid  . . . that you are you.

Soon the scare was over, and they were willing to take Jesus into the boat.  How would you have felt then? 
Shaken and exhilarated by the miracle you just witnessed?
Sheepish at your own reticence?
Just relieved its over?
Again, the gospels tell only this:  Each one in that boatregardless of what he did or didnt dowas overwhelmed by a fresh understanding of just who their Friend really was. 

Offspring of Divinity.

The scene ends not with a reprimand, but with a realization.
These men declare it to Jesus, who receives their words as worship.
In seeing who they arent, they recognize who He is:

Truly, You are the Son of God.



{p.s.  Click here for Day One and Day Two of this series on Matthew 14.]

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