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Finding my way

by davesandel on January 5th, 2018

Finding my way

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Friday, January 5, 2018

Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses and the prophets wrote, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth!” – from John 1

These guys really didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. Jesus famously said that while foxes had holes to sleep in, he and his disciples often had nowhere to lay their heads. He didn’t sound too happy when he said that. The status of a traveling rabbi must have been insecure and uncertain, to say the least.

Traveling home from Texas, we stayed one night with friends in Murray, Kentucky and an earlier night at a motel in Little Rock. We were coming north, and the weather is cold! In Arkansas they are not used to this. A couple was sitting in the motel lobby, bundled up in huge coats. She said she was pregnant. They had no money, and no place to stay that night. No place to lay their heads.

I don’t know what happened to them when the lobby closed. I wondered about that all the next day, and felt vaguely guilty for having slept all night in a heated room when they might not have. In the context of their deprivation, I felt far too privileged.

I think of Jesus as having choices and resources, and making healthy decisions to take care of himself. But that’s just because I see myself that way, and Jesus … well, he may not have had so many choices or resources. And his decisions surely had more to do with God-moments, and ministry, and compassion than reflexive self-protectiveness.

Jesus, I think, would have found a way to care for the couple in the motel lobby. For him situations like that were not complicated, whether he was healing on the sabbath, sharing a meal with sinners and prostitutes, or sleeping outside in the cold. He just did what was in front of him. As he put it, “I only do what the Father is doing.” And God the creator is nothing if not creative, right? No telling what he might do. Jesus watched, and Jesus did the same thing.

Thinking about the haunted eyes of the girl in Little Rock, I’m caught in sadness and regret because I did nothing. The example of Jesus changes me, but sometimes not often enough or quickly enough. God’s forgiveness pours out like an unending waterfall, but still there are consequences for my sin. I don’t move through life like teflon. What I do, and what I don’t do, matters.

O Lord, we’re home now, and I hear the furnace roaring underneath our house. Electric blankets heat our beds. Warm food fills us, and sleep comes quickly. This is a comfortable place to live, Lord, and you have provided it for us. Thank you for it all. Please forgive me for holding it too close. How can you fill our hands if we don’t open them? O Lord, yes, you are the Father of us all.

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