Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Want to Walk on Water... give it a try in this guided meditation.


I'm going to do something a little bit different from my homily today. I'm actually going to lead you through a guided meditation, which is kind of nice. It's a nice, beautiful summer day and a time for you just to rest. So that's what I want you to do. I want you to close your eyes and get in a real comfy position. Try not to fall asleep, but if you do it's okay. And whatever you do, the most important thing is to try to be still.

So close your eyes and try not to move a muscle. So, especially kids, try not to fidget. Be totally still and just lay there for a moment and close your eyes and use your imagination to enter into this scene, and all you have to do is listen and rest.

Imagine yourself on the mountain, and it just is the time right after the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus has just worked this miracle where he took the loaves and the fish, and he broke the loaves and he gave them to all of the people, and they were fed. And not only were they fed, but they were satisfied.

So imagine yourself just having this experience of being fed by Jesus and completely satisfied, completely content. You're at peace. You're at rest. And after this miracle, Jesus walks with you down to the sea of Galilee, down from the mountain. He asks you to get into the boat. He commands you to get into the boat, actually. And maybe you're not ready to get into the boat, and you start to realize that he's asking you to go without him to the other side. And so maybe part of you is a little bit anxious. Maybe a part of you is excited. Maybe you ask him, "Lord, can't you come with me," and maybe you try to grab him. And you notice he gently pushes the boat out to the sea. And you are alone in the water with other disciples, and it's calm as you start to drift out and the wind blows you. And you notice Jesus beginning to walk up the mountain by himself.

Now, in baptism you were baptized into Christ. You are Christ in baptism. So I want you to imagine being Christ and walking up that mountain by yourself. Your best friend, John the Baptist, has just been killed and beheaded. You've just worked this wonderful miracle. You've been dying to spend some time with the Father alone, in solitude, to let him comfort you. You tried earlier that morning to go off by yourself on the boat, and the crowds gathered around you. And so you worked a miracle and you fed them, and now you just want to be alone with God. So you climb to the top of the mountain, and when you get there you look out. And if you've ever been on the top of a mountain and overlooking, you know that feeling. Try to picture the mountain, the hillside, the sea of Galilee off in the distance, and it's just you alone with the Father, and you're so glad to finally have this time just to be with the Father and to let him comfort you.

Maybe you experience when you go to solitude wonderful peace. Maybe you experience anxiety when you go to be alone. Maybe you are afraid to be alone. But you realize, as Christ, that the Father is the with you and you are with the Father, and so you spend all evening in solitude with God, the Father, in peace. He's comforting you. You notice the sun beginning to set, and the sky is covered with the beautiful colors of orange and reds, and it's evening, and you're there alone with God.

And after the sun sets and it gets dark, off in the distance you see lightning, and you hear the rumbling of the thunder coming across the shore, and you realize that the disciples are out in the boat alone and so your prayer is interrupted once more, and you go out to them walking on the sea.

Now, imagine for a moment you are one of the disciples in the boat. Maybe you're Peter. Maybe you're one of the other disciples. But you're in the boat, and the winds have picked up, the winds are against you, and the waves are beginning to crash and come over the boats, and you begin to panic because you're out of control. The boat's being tossed around mercilessly in the waves. And as you look around at the faces of the disciples around you, you realize that they are just as afraid as you are. You see the panic in their face, the fear in their eyes. And at the fourth watch of the night, when it's completely dark, the darkest point of night, you see something off in the distance. It looks like a ghost, and one of the disciples screams, "It is a ghost." They're terrified, in fear. And at once Jesus speaks out to you and you hear his voice, "Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid."

Now, I just want you to imagine all your anxieties, all of your fears, whatever it is in life right now that you can't control. Let those be the waves. Let those be the wind. And you hear Jesus's voice, "Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid." And immediately his voice cuts through all of that. His voice has the power to calm you and to bring you to peace despite all of the waves and despite all of the wind. And with great excitement and great joy, you look at him and say, "Lord, if it truly is you, let me come to you. Let me walk on the water." And you look at Jesus, and instead of saying no, he says, "Come. Come." And as you look at his eyes, you realize he is commanding you to walk on the water.

And so with a little bit of trepidation, you put one side out over the bow and you touch the water. Then you bring your other foot over, and you realize that instead of sinking you're walking. And you're filled with excitement, and you begin to take a step towards him and another step, and you realize you're walking on water. But the storm is still raging and the wind blowing against you, and all of a sudden you realize this, and you look down and you begin to sink fast. And before you can realize this, your mouth is under water. So you cry out, "Lord, save me." And immediately the Lord grabs you by the hand and pulls you up. And he looks at you with a smile and he says, "Oh, you of little faith. Why did you doubt?"

It's not written in the scripture, but somehow or another you've got to get back to the boat. So Jesus carries you, walking on water, and he walks you back to the boat and he places you in the boat and joins you, and the moment he steps on into the boat, the storm subsides and in an instant the clouds vanish, the thunder stops, the winds cease, and you're at peace. The water is absolutely calm. It's like glass. And after he gets into the boat with you, the disciples look at him and one of them says, "Truly, you are the Son of God."

And at that moment you realize that Jesus does have the power to calm the storms in your life. He does have the power to allow you to work miracles. He does give you the ability to walk on water with your faith. And once more you're restored to peace. Once more you're taken out of that anxiety and out of that storm, and you experience his peace, and you too look at him and you say, "Truly, you are the Son of God." And Jesus looks at you with great love because you get it. You understand who he really is. You look at him and you say, "Truly, you are the Son of God."

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