January 25, 2015
Water flows throughout today’s worship. From the story of Jonah to the Sea of Galilee, through the baptismal waters we celebrate this morning, water connects us to the immediate, and to the eternal.
A middle school science teacher once told me that all the water in the world is the very same water that was present at Creation. The cycles of evaporation and condensation that were set in motion at the beginning of time have filtered the same molecules of water that flooded the earth in Noah’s time and flow out of the kitchen tap in ours. It’s all the same water.
Water means life. We are born out of water, and we can’t live without it for very long. So it’s not hard to understand how the waters of baptism represent our spiritual birth, or why it was so important to Jesus that he be baptized by John in the Jordan River. It’s all the same water.
In the story of Jonah, it isn’t today’s reading about Nineveh’s repentance that we remember first. No, its that part about the giant fish swallowing Jonah and spitting him up on the shore after swimming around in the water for three days. We remember the water.
Yet Jonah’s story pivots on his three-day voyage in that organic submarine. Continue reading
No matter how carefully I plan for a big trip, there’s always a snag of some sort. Maybe it’s a last-minute change in plans, or an item that I overlooked on my (very messy) To Do Before I Leave list, but sometimes it’s just life in all its glorious unpredictability.
And that’s when I have to step back, exhale slowly, and say, “OK God, you’ve got this, I know. Let me get out of the way so you can have some room to work.”
I say it. But I don’t always do it very well.
Until I’m on the plane, and everything really is completely out of my control, I still fret. I still try to fix things from my end. I stay in the way.
But God works anyway, even when I make things difficult. What would it look like if I really trusted God? Let’s find out. I’ll check in with you ten days from now. Keep an eye out. God might be pretty busy while I’m giving him some room to work.
There’s a story of a woman who searches store after store for the perfect Christmas gift for her husband. A friend has come shopping with her, and the friend tries to help this woman find what she is looking for, but the woman shakes her head “no” at everything the friend points out. Finally, in exasperation, the friend asks, “What, exactly, are you trying to find?” And the woman answers, “I’ll know it when I see it.”
Have you ever stood in front of an open refrigerator or kitchen cupboard, looking for something to eat? You’re hungry, but you don’t know exactly what it is that you want? What will satisfy your grumbling stomach? There’s plenty of food available, but what will you choose? What do you really want? What will fill you up, and keep you satisfied for more than an hour or two? Will you know it when you see it? Continue reading