Monday, 18 February 2013

Monday - a passage of faith

Prayer:   Lord Jesus Christ,  calm the storms of our life.  Lord Jesus Christ,  calm the heartaches of our life so that we can carry on Your work in joy and peace.  Amen.

Read St. Luke 8: 22 – 25
Jesus calms the storm.     Do you remember the Sunday School posters that used to be used in the 1950’s and 1960’s?   The Sunday School poster was of a tiny boat surrounded by huge waves ready to crash into the boat.  Jesus was asleep near the stern and the Disciples looked scared beyond belief.  The background of the Sunday School poster was painted in greys,  blacks, and white.   This was an image of the Disciples shrinking in fear and the calmness of Jesus that taught many Sunday School children.

But what did we learn from this poster?  We learned that Jesus can sleep anywhere… and then eventually we learned that Jesus calmed the storm because his Disciples asked him.  
In Sunday School we were taught that when we get into the “storms of life”,  to ask Jesus to help us.

As we get older and read this story again and again,  we discover anew that after Jesus had the wind subsided and the waves calmed,  Jesus turned to the Disciples saying, “Where is your faith?”   Jesus is not asking them to tell him their faith level on a scale of 1 to 10,  but telling them to trust Jesus…. Jesus fell asleep in the boat and wasn’t worried so why should they be worried.

We aren’t told the rest of the story  but can’t you imagine the Disciples saying to Jesus, “But you should have seen the waves!  They were huge. But you should have seen the turbulent sea!  But you should have seen the fierceness of the wind!”    

Jean Vanier,  in his book Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus  states that “crossing the lake is a passage of faith,  a passage of faith we all have to make…..  Jesus calls his disciples to move from a faith based on a very visible miracle that fulfilled their physical needs to a faith that is total trust in him and in his words.    This can be a difficult passage for us all, like an inner storm.  It can represent the passage from childhood, where we feel secure with our parents,  to adulthood, where we become responsible for our lives…. The disciples,  who were confused and upset in the boat are telling us something about ourselves.  How easily they seem to have forgotten the blessedness of Jesus.  How easily we forget!   We can live blessed moments of the presence of God in prayer or through an encounter with someone where we sense God’s presence.  Then something happens and we are plunged into the depths of sadness and despair.   We forget the moment of blessedness.  Doubt, anger, and anguish surge up within us.  We have short memories!  …. So this crossing of the lake was a physical reality,  but it also symbolizes our growth in faith,  our passages of faith.  We all have to go through times of confusion and doubt.  This is all part of the journey of faith.  It is not an easy journey since we have to die to ourselves,  die to the desire to control situations, to control the Spirit of God, to control Jesus in order to abandon ourselves to the Spirit of Jesus leading us.”    (Vanier, Jean.  Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus.  Novalis,  2004  pg 123 - 124)

Prayer:  Great God,  we thank You for our journey of faith.    Great God,  we thank You for the work we have accomplished in Your Church.    Great God,  remind us of Your presence when we go through times of confusion and doubt.  Remind us that You are our every present love.  We thank You.  Amen.

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