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Posts tagged ‘trust’

Beyond Question: What do you want me to do for you?

This lenten journey continues with the life-changing questions that Jesus asked.  How are the questions changing you as you answer the questions that Jesus is asking?  Today’s question is from Matthew’s gospel.

There were two blind men sitting by the roadside.  When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord have mercy on us, Son of David!”   The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!”  Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Matthew 20:30-32

When I was in nursing school, I was asked to accompany a group of blind women on a cross-country skiing weekend.  I was to help with any emergencies and be the diabetic resource person.  Each sighted person was paired with a blind skier for the first afternoon.  We skied side by side, sharing a center pole.  The woman who skied with me rested her mittened hand above mine and leaned her arm into mine to ‘feel’ where I was leading.

The area where we skied had some steep hills.  I remember standing at the top of one of the hills; me on the right, our shared pole in the center, and “Diane” on my left.

The wind was blowing, there was snow in the air, and the hill was as steep as any I had ever skied down on cross-country skies.  I bent my left arm and her right forearm leaned trustingly against it.  I wasn’t at all confident that I could get myself to the bottom without plunging headfirst into the snow, let alone keep a blind woman upright who was depending on me to get her safely to the bottom.

“Let’s go!” Diane said enthusiastically.

“You wouldn’t say that if you could see how steep this hill is!” I responded uncertainly.  But my choices were to go forward or backtrack a long ways.  My partner was eager to ski on.  “Keep leaning on me!” I yelled into the wind.   “Okay, let’s go!”

I pushed off and balanced against the gravity of the hill and our gaining momentum, my partner leaning into me.  I worked hard to keep our shared center pole in the air without tripping either of us.  My right ski snowplowed all the way down but we flew rapidly into the wind despite my efforts to slow our speed.  My blind partner squealed with delight and joy.

My heart was racing at least as fast as our skis; and I breathed a prayer of thanks when at last we made it safely to the bottom; still upright.

XCSkiing

“Oh, that was terrific!” laughed my partner.  “Can we do it again?!”

In today’s scripture, two blind men yelled out to Jesus, and he stopped to listen to them.  I imagine most people ignored the blind men, or stopped only long enough to toss a few coins their way.  Jesus stopped.  He heard their pleas.  He cared enough to ask them a question.  He really listened to the answer.  And he acted on their hopes and dreams.

Did the blind men have unrealistic faith in Jesus?  How would you answer the question that Jesus asked the blind men at the side of the road, “What do you want me to do for you?”  And how would the story end if you and Jesus were in a dialogue?

I imagine all of us have come to Jesus at one time or another with an urgent plea for a very real need.  What happened?  Do you still believe that Jesus can do miraculous things?

Prayer for today:

You who are the Great Physician, thank you that you care enough to stop, to listen, and to answer me when I call.  Give me faith to believe that you continue to answer prayer.   Help me to be still that I might recognize when you answer me, and respond with a grateful heart.  In your holy name I pray.  Amen

Beyond Question: Why do you not do what I tell you?

questionsWhy do you call me “Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them.”   Luke 6:46-47

Eric Burtness has a wonderful paragraph in his book Beyond Question, as he reflects on this question that Jesus asked.

… it is clear that Jesus looks for us to not only say he is Lord, but to do what he says.  He seeks consistency between our beliefs and our behavior, our convictions and our conduct, our values and our lifestyle.  He calls us to live with integrity, a word that comes from the root “to integrate.”  Integrity means integrating our beliefs and daily behavior.  This isn’t something you just slip into.   Living with integrity is a decision.  It’s a daily commitment.  Saying Jesus is Lord and doing what he says means aligning our convictions with our conduct, what we believe with how we act, every day.*

As we began this series of reflecting on the questions Jesus asked, we talked about them in terms of “transformative” and “life-changing.”  This morning I reflected on how we choose to follow Jesus – or not – throughout our week in all our daily activities.  How do we live out the ten commandments and their obvious direction, as well as the more subtle meanings as Martin Luther defined them?  When we observe a commandment being broken by others do we join in, say nothing, or risk taking a Christian stand?  How often do we compromise our Christian integrity?

Or if following ten commandments seems too difficult, what about following the last commandment that Jesus gave us, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

How different would our lives, and the world, be if we could follow only that one commandment?

Thomas Merton wrote an insightful prayer that I use often.  From Thoughts in Solitude, a prayer for today:

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart form that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
thought I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me.
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

May you choose to live each day with integrity.  And may God bless and multiply your efforts.

* Material from Book of Faith Lenten Journey: Beyond Question by Erick Burtness copyright © 2012 Augsburg Fortress. Posted by permission. All rights reserved.
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