Monday, August 11, 2008

Brian’s Reflection: Sat/Sun, August 9/10, 2008

I am not a crook.

- Richard Nixon, who resigned the presidency
on this day, Aug 9th, 1974

And early in the morning He came walking toward them on the sea.
But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified,
saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus
spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."

- Jesus (Matt 14: 24-27) – the Gospel for Proper 14A [RCL], Aug 10th

Well, if anything might get me struck by lightning from the skies, quoting Jesus and Richard Nixon in the same breath might just do it ……………………………………….. well, I’m still here, so I will go on.

On one hand, I loath and despise Richard Nixon for what he, in my view, did to shame the best of what America can be. (Alas, George Bush has, in my humble opinion, far exceeded Nixon.) But maybe I am growing just a bit in Christian virtue, because when I see his face before me, I see such a sad, sad man in Nixon, and I dearly hope that the Christ was, in some form, able to walk across the raging “sea” of Nixon’s disgrace and bring him some calm and peace.

A young man in the Order of the Holy Cross (at the time) once said the most helpful thing about this story of Jesus walking on the waters of the sea and helping support Peter to step out and stay afloat. He said, “Boy, there are many times that Jesus has walked across the chaos of my Life and pulled me up and kept me afloat.” There, friends, is the most important thing that can be said about this Scripture passage, I think. There are those who think that the “miracles” are an invention of the culture, and those who take them literally, and everything in between. But the – the – critical message is that finding the Christ Within is what will dampen our fears and help us master or calm the chaos of our lives and keep us from going under.

How I experience it in my Life, essentially, is being unafraid to see Reality - Mortality, Change, Reversal of Fortune, Challenge; the invitation to see that everything can be an opportunity for new understanding and learning and experience. The Christ walking on the water and lifting Peter says, “Trust yourself, and Life; you won’t go under”. And take every offer of help you can get, I’d say too!

I don’t expect some 1st century long-haired hippie to come along and grab me. I just expect that when I “go inside”, the Mystery of the God of Love will be there, strong and true. I’ll make it.


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