Resting Through the Storm

At the end of a long day of teaching the crowds from the shore, Jesus confronts the disciples with a plan: That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” – Mark 4:35 It is Jesus’ idea to get in the boat before dark and head away from the crowds and toward gentile territory on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. So, the disciples of Jesus hopped in the boat and they left right then. As we read through this passage, Jesus is going to perform a miracle over nature. But, there is more meaning to this story than just the face value. Throughout his gospel, Mark presents events as well as words as parabolic. Jesus is teaching his disciples (and us) in parables of words and deeds. This story starts with Jesus saying “follow me” and disciples complying, despite not knowing what was to be ahead. Being a disciple means getting in the boat with Jesus. Because they were heading to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, the disciples were leaving both the crowds and heading toward the gentiles. Both of these realities forced these followers of Jesus to confront their own preconceptions of the Messiah. Leaving the crowds meant leaving power and adulation. Heading to the unclean gentiles confronted the idea that this was Israel’s Messiah. They were heading away from their vision of the Messiah. Being a disciple means letting go of your expectations of the journey. The way of Jesus is one of surrender and obedience. It is also one of discomfort as...

Making Space

Every year it happens. When the calendar flips from December to January we focus on change and what we want to be different in the coming year. A fresh calendar feels for many of us like a fresh start. Yet, it doesn’t take long for reality to catch up. We want things to magically be different. Our desire is for new results, but making changes is difficult. Even though the calendar has a new number at the top, our to-do list is the same and our circumstances don’t change. Last year does not disappear. What I want for the New Year comes from a reflection I made around Christmas and I wanted to take a moment to share it with you. It comes from the story of Jesus’ birth found in Luke 2. When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – Luke 2:15 God communicated with the shepherds. It was night. Probably not a super convenient time since sheep need constant protection and supervision. Yet when the heavenly revelation was over, the shepherds first response was to go and see. They made space in their lives for the voice of God. How many of us would have looked at the clock and said “I’ve got to get up early” or the TV and said “I’m in the middle of a show” or the to-do list and said “I’ve got more things to get done before I can do anything else.”? We all,...

Gain Perspective. Live Well.

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