Last Sunday, we heard the story of Jesus’s most famous miracle, his walking on the water. I believe that biblical truth resonates on many different levels. Considered from a metaphorical and spiritual standpoint, how it was that Jesus might have been able to walk on the surface of the storm-tossed sea? Just before his disciples become stranded at night on the stormy Sea of Galilee, Jesus has preached and miraculously fed a huge crowd in a deserted place. Jesus had come to the deserted place to be alone and pray with his disciples after receiving the news of King Herod’s beheading of his cousin, John the Baptist. But the crowds followed him there, thwarting his retreat, and Jesus fed and ministered to them. He then sent his disciples alone across the sea, and himself went up the mountain to pray, alone with God all night.

Circumstances in our lives and the world around us can be like the stormy sea… threatening to overwhelm and drown us, or even to overwhelm us in a positive way. After Jesus fed the multitudes, the disciples may have been dazzled by the miracle they witnessed, and some accounts record that the crowd was ready to take Jesus by force and make him king. How is Jesus able to not only stay afloat, but to walk on these stormy waters as well as the adulation of the crowds? I believe the answer can be summed up in a single word: space. Because Jesus spent time alone with God, there was space between his own deepest self and the circumstances of the world around him. The stillness and restoration brought to him during his periods of prayer and retreat acted as a buffer between his soul and the demands of the crowd or the chaos of the waves.

How can we find such space in our lives? I found that my summer vacation in the Sierra Nevada with my family was one way to create space. I came home refreshed with new perspective and hoping to hold on to that “mountain mind!” I regularly go away on spiritual retreats. But I still need to find time daily to be silent with God to preserve that space between myself and external circumstances. Some ways that I do that are through meditation and prayer, breath work, exercise, as well as being open to awareness of and gratitude for the beauty and blessings around me.

As school starts up again, summer rhythms shift for our church and the entire community. I pray that your summer has brought you a sense of space, and that you can find ways in your daily life to preserve that margin of deep peace.

Please see regular opportunities for prayer and meditation at Grace as well as other resources I enjoy to create space below! If you would like to commit to being present at another weekly time with others for prayer or meditation in Grace’s sanctuary, or to walk the labyrinth, please let Formation Director Sarah Christopher Neidhoeffer know! We can advertise a new time so that others have the opportunity to gather with you.

Mondays 6AM– Centering Prayer

Wednesdays 3:30PM– Contemplative Reading Circle (please contact Sue Cottrell for a good time to join this group, generally when they are beginning a new book)

Thursdays 7AM– Contemplative Morning Prayer

Thursdays 9PM– Compline (Night Prayer) with Anglican Chant

In deep peace,

-Rev. Any

PS. The sanctuary is open for private prayer and meditation during office hours Mondays 10AM-1:30PM and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10AM-4PM. The labyrinth, an ancient tool for walking meditation, is always open!