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Saturday, June 18, 2016

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)

When I read the Gospels, I find that I ascribe thoughts and motivations to the actions of Jesus. I think I know “the rest of the story,” and I generally fill in my own narrative based on how I would feel in the same situation (or how I am feeling that given day).

Take, for instance, this passage when Jesus called for a boat to take him to the other side of the approaching crowd: “Then a scribe came to him and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’” My “rest of the conversation” goes something like this: “Excuse me, can I get some personal space, here?” or, “Gee, why don’t you people just leave me alone!” The next verse reads “Another disciple said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’” To this I add, “Fine, do whatever! I don’t need you anyway.” I am embarrassed to read my thoughts, which seemed perfectly justified in my head.

The good news is that there are people in my life who share their thoughts on the very same scripture, providing a much deeper understanding of the account. Perhaps the scribe was too hasty in his desire to sign up or was doing it to join the “in crowd.” Perhaps Christ was showing him it is not easy living in this world and apart from this world. And as for the disciple, perhaps following Christ is not something that you can do “after” you have first tried to handle your life on your own.

Dear God, help me to not speed-read through the quiet, subtle ministry of our Savior. Teach me to discern the true message of your Word. Amen.

Written by Katy Sinclair, Associate Director of Music for Children and Youth

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