To Whom Shall We Go?

To whom indeed?

For what if Peter had turned to face the Lord only to discover He wasn’t even there? Who had he been following all this time? Crestfallen and alone, would he have gone back to his boat and cast out into the deep hoping to pull Baptismsomething up? Anything… His endless net never emerging from the dark waters no matter how much he pulled and struggled and cursed and screamed, it was
pointless.

Would he stare down into the depths, noting its emptiness, its continuous descent? Recalling, perhaps, a dream of walking on water?

Simon, did you hear? Did you hear a voice saying, “Follow me”? Were you sitting by the shore mending your nets, arguing with Andrew about the weather and tides? Did He pass you by?

Did you love Him?

Who? Did you ever know Him?

How do we proceed from these shores, once the wind has stopped and the view is clear? As we warm ourselves by the fire, which way do we choose when all ways are open; yet somehow all unappealing?

But sometimes…

Maybe…

Perhaps…

…in that silhouette on the horizon, a flicker in someone’s eyes, the breaking of bread there is a whisper. Faint. Soft. Like a passing wind high above.

Where were you, Peter? Where was I?

When the foundations were laid? I cannot tell you as I don’t know so much.

For now, all I can do is to sit on the still lake and wait, watching the shore for a familiar face.

Seagulls over Lac Leman

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Sometimes We Break

Diary

I am the sum total of every moment that has lead up to now. Memories of night swims with friends in the Newlands Resevoir, the intimate moments of vulnerability, soft kisses and gentle tears, mistakes of pride, mistakes of shame, darkness, joy, finding Christ, losing Christ, losing myself, letting Christ find me… letting Christ love me.

And life whirls on in a blur of autumn leaves, winter nights, and spring-filled pain that summers into new beginnings. Every wound, strike upon my back, my breast, self inflicted, yet mirrored upon Him. Not in judgement but in Love. As I break He holds me together and the storm rages on.

I remember a reflection I once did. It was from a spiritual guide. I was a statue, a construction of time and weather; crafted with care and precision. Imagine, the reflection lead, that you are a statue. What do you look like? And finally, how does Jesus see you?

As I followed the instructions, I pictured a broken, flawed statue; Blackened by time, cracked and chipped and slowly crumbling. Over my arms were chains, locked into the ground.
I imagined Jesus coming to see me, this ruin. What could He possibly see in me, how could He love this? And yet, in my minds eye, quite unexpectedly, He embraced me. With all the chains and cracks and flaws and brokenness, He just loved. I could only cry in response.

As I’ve travelled through Europe the last three weeks, I’ve met beautiful people from all over the world. Sometimes it was a long discussion in a backpackers, and other times it was a brief encounter in broken French and dramatic gestures. But each moment was another chip into the stone face of my life, creating definition, refining me. And yet, in the whirl wind of isolated travelling, what I thought would be a chance to escape myself, my thoughts and fears, has been just the opposite. I left, but it turns out I came with too. And there have been many moments of looking at myself, this broken scultpure, and trying to remember what it felt like when Jesus embraced me in my brokenness. Because sometimes that is hard to believe.

Often thoughts will turn against me and I will think there is no way I am worthy of following Him. He wouldn’t want me. This hypocrite. This blind guide. Yet I remember His followers – The tax collector, the zealot, the denier, the traitor… All broken, all called.

And perhaps that is the key. He calls me, not because I am worthy, but because He loves me.
In every broken moment, He is there. In every quiet forest walk, He walks beside me. In the silence of a dark night, He whispers my name.

“For our courteous Lord does not want his servants to despair because they fall often and grievously; for our falling does not hinder him in loving us… He wants us so to take heed that he is the foundation of our whole life in love, and furthermore that he is our everlasting protector, and mightily defends us against all our enemies, who are very cruel and very fierce towards us, and so our need is great, the more so because by our falling we give them occasion.” – Julian of Norwich

The Meaning of Life

Spinning

I’m in shock.

In the last 48 hours I have experienced some amazing “coincidences”. Too many to mention in one post. Keep in mind as you read this “bonus” post, that today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 5: 1 – 12 – The Beatitudes, one of my favourite passages in scripture.

I met a beautiful person on Saturday night. She was homeless.

I was at a farewell party and I noticed her standing outside on the street clutching a hot water bottle. I don’t know why but I felt compelled to go out and speak to her. So I did.

She immediately launched into conversation, excitedly. I could tell that she must have had some form of mental impairment. Whether that was caused by drug addiction or not, I can’t say, but she had both a depth and a simplicity about her which was captivating. Hair in dreadlocks, hippie pants and cigarette in hand, she spoke about her situation a little. What struck me was her innocence. Yes, perhaps she has made some bad choices but she cannot be blamed for those. At least I don’t believe she can.

She was a truly wonderful human being. At one point she said, “Yes, things are difficult, but you are given those things because you are the kind of person who can handle it.”
I heard her then and I felt as if her words were directed at me somehow. As she spoke, the Beatitudes jumped into my mind because it was as if in her they were embodied. For some reason I had been thinking about the Beatitudes quite a lot in the days leading up to this night.
I asked her if she knew what the Beatitudes were. She shook her head.
I rattled off a few, getting them a bit mixed up but the gist of it came across.

As she listened , she lifted her hot water bottle to her cheek and smiled. Her face softened and she looked at peace in that moment.

Her spirit is burned into my memory, her laughter and her childlike excitement at the various topics we spoke about.
And finally, when I said goodbye, she smiled and touched my arm and said, “God bless.”

He had just done so.

The Beatitudes

He began to teach them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Happy Pentecost

Sunset in Botswana

Sunset – Botswana 2009