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Against the Wind

Against the Wind

Friday, March 28, 2014 – Week of 3 Lent, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 88 (morning) // 91, 92 (evening)

Genesis 47:1-26

1 Corinthians 9:16-27

Mark 6:47-56

In this morning’s gospel, Jesus gets a good look at his disciples as they struggle without his assistance. Starting in the evening, the disciples are at sea in their boat, and Jesus is all alone on the land. Sometime between the setting of the sun and the next day, “Jesus saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind.” They must have looked exhausted, ineffectual, and even ridiculous.

I wonder what our own restless nights and hectic mornings look like from the vantage-point of Jesus as he stands still and watchful on some nearby shore. Perhaps he sees in us, as he saw in his disciples, the futility of some of our efforts and actions. Perhaps he sees us spending all of our strength trying to push ourselves as hard as we can against the very currents of nature. Perhaps he sees us mustering all of our energy and fear to fight some force that seems as relentless and oppositional as an adverse wind.

In the gospel passage, Jesus doesn’t stand watching forever. Instead, “he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea.” The gospel tells us that Jesus at first intended to simply walk past his disciples, but when they react to his presence in terror, “he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased.”

I can’t tell you how often this experience has been replicated in my own life. It is so easy for us to get caught up in patterns and dynamics that turn our lives into an all-out struggle against an adverse wind. But then, when we find a moment for silence, when we seek the perspective of Jesus, then a peaceful presence lets the wind die down and gives us a chance to adjust our course.

At some point in the slim margin between evening and night, or between night and morning, can we simply invite Jesus into our boat? From the vantage-point of Jesus, we might be struggling to no purpose. But in the presence of Jesus, we might discover a new calm, some new courage, and a more inspired course throughout our nights and days.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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