Moving the goal line

Amos 5:14-15, 21-24
Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. 
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. - Amos 5:23-24 

Our worship, our prayer, our study are not ends in themselves. They are the exercises that prepare us to join in God’s work of bringing justice to all people.

…[W]e have a responsibility to think bigger…these days. If spiritual practice is relaxing, if it gives us some peace of mind, that’s great — but is this personal satisfaction helping us to address what is happening in the world? The main question is, are we living in a way that adds further aggression and self-centeredness to the mix, or are we adding some much-needed sanity? — Pema Chödrön, “Taking the Leap”

Photo: Fairy Rapids, by Flickr user fs999 under Creative Commons license. 


Weathering the storms

Matthew 8:23-37

“Lord, save us! We are perishing!” — The disciples
“Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” — Jesus

Jesus says that faith and fear are not compatible.

It is comforting to know that the chaos around us is ultimately in Christ’s hands. But not every storm that rages around us — meteorological, existential or emotional — is stilled in the outward sense. Tornados destroy schools. Diseases don’t respond to treatment. Jobs are lost. Angry words continue to be spoken.

I need to admit, as the disciples did, that these storms are bigger than I am — “Lord, help me. I am going down.” Yet safety is not in the rescue; not in the calming of the sea, the avoidance of discomfort, nor in vindication. The safe place is simply Jesus’ presence, and the inner stillness to connect to his peace when the waters rise, rather than scrambling for what I take for “solid ground” under my own power.

Storms come. Chaos surrounds us. The solution is not to pray them away but to experience the presence of Christ in the midst of my fear and anxiety.

How will I handle the squalls that will come today? How will that affect my ability to handle life’s Category 5 storms?