The Holy Gospel: June 24, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 4:25-31

Meditation:  “Necessary Suffering”

If you follow this blog, you know that I have been blessed by reading Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward.  Jeannie gave it to me as a gift, and I am so glad she did.

Today’s passage falls into the context of Rohr’s assertion that we do not move into the life God intends for us without “necessary suffering”—which he essentially defines as something we cannot control, something we cannot answer, or something we cannot overcome.  He states that abundant living is only possible when we’ve given up every attempt at self-help and thrown ourselves upon God’s grace.

That seems to be exactly what was happening on the lake when even seasoned fishermen could not handle the ship.  Mark tells the story in a way that makes us believe the disciples did everything they knew to do, but it was not enough.  The ship was in danger of being swamped.  In desperation, they turned to Jesus.

That’s really the only way the ego ever gets out of the way—in desperation.  Just as the disciples probably went too long in trying to keep the boat from sinking, we go too long in trying to save ourselves.  We’re glad to have Jesus on board, but we let him sleep too long.

And then….and then….and then, we come to the end of our “selves.”  We come up against life we cannot manage, maintain, or manipulate.  Necessary suffering.  And if we turn to Jesus in that state, he awakens and commands even the winds and the waves to obey him.

Today’s question is really simple, even though it’s arguably the hardest place to come to in life.  The question is, “Are you still trying to keep your own boat from sinking?”  If so, you’re stuck in the first half of life (ego construction).  Jesus wants you to experience the second half (ego consecration), which he referred to elsewhere as “abundant living.”


About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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