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Monday, September 28, 2015

Today’s Reading | Matthew 8:18–27

Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (NRSV)

It’s interesting that this particular story follows the incident of the scribe’s enthusiastic statement, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus’ reply to the scribe—like Jesus snoozing in the boat—lacks much comfort. It’s as if Jesus replies, “Fine! But while foxes have holes and birds have nests, if you follow me, you might find yourself feeling as if you have no home, nowhere to lay your head, because that’s what following me might lead to for you. So you’d better think hard and long about the choice.”

At some time or another in our journeys of faith, it becomes exceedingly difficult to follow Jesus. A choice that would be obvious and easy for your friends is suddenly complicated and difficult for you, because it seems Jesus’ choice would be different and you are butted up against a fork in the road. God has caused your world to shift, and it seems as if you have no place to lay your head, as if you no longer fit into your life as you once did, as if you are completely out of step with your family, or your peers, or the world itself. That’s what following Jesus can lead to—the feeling that you, too, have no place to lay your head.

The thing to remember in those times is that Jesus is still in the boat with you, even though it looks as if he’s completely unengaged. Sleeping. But he’s there, perhaps sleeping because he trusts that you will get through this great shift in your life, and when the time is right, the storm will settle down and calm will come.

Holy God, help me to stick with my enthusiastic exclamations about following you, even when the way in front of me becomes complicated because I’m trying to be faithful. Help me navigate. Remind me that you truly are with me, that you trust me, and that you know what it is like when being faithful leads to a feeling of being out of step with the world. In your name I pray. Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

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