Waldemar Flaig, 1892-1932 Jesus mit den Jüngern im Sturm oil, by 1932 via Wikimedia Commons
But when [Peter] saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:30-31
Faith to walk on water. Faith to face the storm. Faith to battle the wind. Faith to walk toward God.
And when we begin to sink from fear, fatigue, stress, and anxiety, a little faith to cry out to Jesus to save us.
James Tissot (1836-1902) Jésus engage les apôtres à se reposer (Jesus Commands the Apostles to Rest) between 1886 and 1894 opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper Brooklyn Musuem
[Jesus said,] “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
I know some days I am heavy with pain, fatigue, and discouragement. I know others carry heavy responsibilities, grief, and stress. I know the world is heavy with violence, racism, and injustice.
I don’t know how to heal the heaviness. But Jesus does. I will practice turning my attention to Jesus. I will trust him with my burdens, the burdens of others, and the world’s burdens. I will rest from my tendency to do-it-myself and let Jesus help me through the day.
Bread Shop in the Street, Old Jerusalem By Grand Parc – Bordeaux, France, via Wikimedia Commons
[Jesus said,] “Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.” John 6:57
When I feed on Jesus, the Compassion of God, I intentionally work on transforming my habits of impatience, self-centeredness, resentment, and fear. I intentionally practice following Jesus and his way of peace and non-violence. I intentionally do my best to imitate Jesus and his healing presence.
A Ruby kindles in the vine, 1905, 1912 Adelaide Hanscom, 1875-1931 via Wikimedia Commons
[Jesus said to his disciples:] “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.” John 14:20
Jesus, the vine that gives us life, is in us and we are in him. We are forever entwined with God, with God’s love and grace and goodness and compassion. We breathe with God, live with God, move with God, love with God.
We are the visible fruit of God’s healing and peace in the world. We are the trusted servants of God, trusted to forgive, show mercy, and practice non-violence. We are trusted to build up those who are broken, fragile, discouraged, poor, homeless, and suffering. We are trusted to bring the hope of the Resurrection and God’s eternal love to all those we encounter.
Early christian image of Christ as the Good Shepherd Fourth Century A.D. Museo Epigrafico, Rome
[The shepherd] walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. John 10:4
We follow Jesus into quiet, secluded places to pray. We follow Jesus to dine with the poor and the outcasts of society. We follow Jesus to touch those with untouchable illnesses. We follow Jesus to wash the feet of others. We follow Jesus to forgive those who betray us. We follow Jesus to love our enemies. We follow Jesus to do the will of God, however counter-cultural it may seem. We follow Jesus to die to ourselves and rise to new life.
Christ with two disciples on the road to Emmaus Workshop of Rembrandt (1606–1669):Corrected by Rembrandt Pen and brush in brown ink, washed, heightened with white, on paper, circa 1655 Warsaw University Library via Wikimedia Commons
Then [the two disciples] said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32
What language do I speak when I open my heart to others? The language of humility? sincerity? hope? faith?
When others speak to me from their hearts, in what language do I listen? The language of compassion? acceptance? non-judgment? peace?
Today I will practice speaking and listening with love. It’s the language we all share in common.
JESUS MAFA. Jesus appears to Thomas, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” John 20:24
I wonder how convincing the other disciples were about their encounter with Jesus. Thomas may have had good reason to doubt them.
And I wonder how convincing I am as a witness for Jesus. Do I embody the compassion and unconditional love and non-judgment of Jesus? Do I embody the mercy and forgiveness and non-violence of Jesus? Do I embody the service and healing and humility of Jesus?
Honest doubt nudges me to deepen my commitment to practice the God-qualities that comfort and encourage others, and that bring peace to my corner of the world.
Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) Two Disciples at the Tomb, ca.1906 oil on canvas Art Institute of Chicago via Wikimedia Commons
When Simon Peter arrived after [the other disciple], he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. John 20:6-7
I imagine Jesus chuckling as he neatly rolls the cloth that had covered his head and leaves it conspicuously separate from the other burial cloths. He knows his disciples are in for a big surprise. And he knows they will be puzzled, dismayed—and hopeful.
The resurrection of Jesus always points me to hope. Hope in change. Hope in the unknown. Hope in God’s gentle guidance and infinite love.