The Rev. Shelia McJilton writes on the very real fear of those whose lives stand to be aversely affected by the sequester. After reflection on hearing the painful stories of real people, McJilton relates it to Jesus asleep in the boat on the Sea of Galilee:
Jesus never seems to live in fear. He lives in the center of himself, a place that is deep, quiet, sure. He seems clear who he is, and to Whom he is connected. No fear. He just is. He is totally present. When he sleeps—even in a storm—he sleeps. When he goes to a dinner party, he seems to get totally involved with the wine-drinking and bread-breaking—in fact, he can even make some good wine out of clear water to add to the merriment! When he has conversations with everyday folks, he listens—really listens. He says, more than once, “Do not fear.” Jesus reminds us that God knows when the sparrow falls, God has named everything, God clothes the beautiful lilies of the field. If we live our lives in the center, where Jesus does, perhaps we will not fear. Do not worry about tomorrow. Today’s worries are enough. Well, yes, there is that.
Yet I am left with a heavy heart. People I care about are worried about what may happen. Perhaps it won’t. Perhaps it is another Capitol Hill tempest in the proverbial teapot. Yet my vocation as a priest and pastor calls me to be with my people in their sorrows, fears, concerns, joys, in their conversations about God and where their lives of faith connect with their daily lives. Where is God on the Metro? Where is God in the research lab or at their computers? Where is God in their struggles with elderly parents or teenagers, or in their courageous battles against cancer? Where is God in a dark night of the soul? Where is God in the middle of a rainy, windy night when you wonder if your struggle to make ends meet is about to get even more difficult?
I don’t always know where God is in any of these situations. Sometimes God is maddeningly silent. Sometimes God seems to be hiding way too well to be found. Yet I believe—I give my heart to—in the love of God. I fiercely hold onto the hope that the boat we are all in will weather the storm. I am not Jesus. I do not have the power to speak to the storm and make the waters calm in a moment. But I can hold on with them. I can stay in the boat with the others and try to comfort them. It seems so small a gesture. Yet I will trust that God is in this too.