Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 123; 146, Isaiah 44:9-20, Ephesians 4:17-32, Mark 3:19b-35
Stepping into faith is like walking into a great lake with fists full of gold coins. The first few steps are invigorating – a refreshing dip for our weary soles. The sand may slip away beneath our feet, but if we feel insecure the familiar shore is only a stumble away. As we go deeper, we feel more buoyant, lifted by a force far greater than ourselves. But at a certain point, perhaps around the point the water becomes level with our hearts, we begin to notice the drag of those gold coins. And now we have to choose: settle for going no further, turn back in defeat, keep going and drown … or start getting rid of the gold.
Those gold coins have names engraved on them. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul tells us some of those names: theft, corruption, lust, falsehood, bitterness, wrath, slander, anger, malice. Maybe we’re having difficult letting go of them – they seemed so useful on the shore. We want to hold onto them in case these living waters won’t really support us, but it’s the holding on that makes us seem like we’re slipping under the waves. Their illusion of safety ultimately leads to the deep, cold darkness.
Maybe we’re feeling foolish for not leaving them on the shore, or for forgetting our hands were not empty. The good news is, we can open our fists at any time. If we let these waters swallow our burdens, we will feel lighter. More free. Risen. Can we let go?
For an instant we let them drag us below the surface. We are suspended between two worlds – one that offers a familiar death, and one that promises life if only we grab it and nothing else. Each finger we uncurl, each coin we release, is a movement toward life. As the last coin slips between our fingers, we break the surface.
Hands free, we spread our arms, lay back and relax into the gentle surface of the lake and the certainty it will cradle us, and let the face of the sun shine upon us.
Comfort: The Living Waters of Christ will sustain you.
Challenge: Grab a handful of coins. Name them for the things you need to let go in order to rest in Christ, and throw them in a lake or fountain.
Prayer: God of the Living Waters, let my spirit rest in you. Amen.
Discussion: What are some things you need to let go of?
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