Archive for presence

inner silence

// May 10th, 2012 // Comments Off // presence, the story


He looked down at his shackle-scarred hands as the water lapped around his knees. The boat sailed toward the horizon.

In the midst of the quiet sounds of the ocean and the wind blowing through the caverns of the coastline, the man found his inner silence deafening.

All the voices had left him – he could not recall a time like this. His mind was clear, and his heart longed for companionship.

The words of Jesus remained with him.

He stood up.

He turned.

He made his way home.

Luke 8:26-39

unperturbed

// November 30th, 2011 // Comments Off // presence, the story

20111130-074217.jpg

The fact remains, no matter what the tone of how Jesus spoke with his trainees when it was revealed they could not deliver the boy, Jesus was not overwhelmed with the evil.

He could see deliverance on the other side of the oppression. The disciples thought they could see it, but no. The father wished he could see it. The boy was perhaps over the notion of hope.

But Jesus was unperturbed by the hold of evil over a life. He knew it ultimately held no authority.

Luke 9:37-45

troubled

// September 6th, 2011 // Comments Off // presence, the story


He leaned forward, and began looking them in the eye – one by one. He knew his next words were unlikely to bring the reassurance they carried.

After humiliating himself as a worthless servant before them, he then spoke of his departure, then of his betrayer, and then of Peter’s impending denial.

‘Uneasy’ was an understatement. None of them were in a hurry to speak, lest he predict something against them. If not for his strange display of servanthood, they would be angry, insulted, perhaps estranged.

So now, Jesus’ words of reassurance had little hope of landing – but he said them anyway.

John 14

convulsion

// June 1st, 2011 // Comments Off // presence, the story

It was all too much. The boy’s father sat in the dirt, next to his beaten and bruised son. Thankfully the evil seemed to relent for a time, giving his only child some reprieve from his torment. But he could see his boy being destroyed – physically … emotionally … and in his spirit.

He reflected on the night before. After so many failed attempts of deliverance from the oppression, it was a last ditch effort when Jesus’ followers offered to help. He was unsure. So many empty promises of healing had emptied him of all hope – no telling what effect it was having on his boy.

They insisted – and he hesitantly nodded and motioned them toward his son.

And so he sat there in the wake of yet another gut-wrenching disappointment. He could no longer with-hold the emotion, and his body began to convulse with grief.

Then a crowd gathered – the teacher approached from his night on the mountain.

Luke 9:37-45

cushion

// April 6th, 2011 // Comments Off // presence, the story


“How can he sleep in THIS?!!” Matthew screamed at the top of his lungs. He glared at the fishermen as they struggled to maintain a straight course for the other side of the lake. He looked into the eyes of James, then Andrew for some confidence in their safe passage – but he found no such assurance.

What began as a routine journey across this somewhat unpredicatable body of water, had quickly escalated into a life or death situation. Even the seafarers amongst them were exhausted physically and mentally, and were now incredulous at the ability Jesus had to sleep so soundly in the midst of an unprecedented storm.

So they woke him.

They could never have predicted what he would do next.

Mark 4:35-41

guilt

// March 1st, 2011 // Comments Off // presence, the story


“You would think I’d be ecstatic or excited – or even just hopeful.” he thought to himself as his friends carried him toward the crowded house. He looked at his mat sentimentally as they jostled him along, “I’m just glad they can’t read my mind, but if this man can do what they say, I’ll miss this mat. It’s been my only security since the accident – my safe place in a world of insecurity and change.”

The truth was, since his world came crashing in all those years ago, he’d changed – for the worse. As faithful and supportive as his friends and family had been, he knew he’d treated them like dirt. And that was putting it mildly. He didn’t deserve friends like this. He didn’t deserve to be carried to Jesus. He didn’t deserve the healing they thought he would receive that day.

As they lowered him through the hole in the roof, he was wracked with guilt.

Mark 2:1-12

unreserved

// February 14th, 2011 // Comments Off // presence, the story


With the teacher’s invitation ringing in his ears, the burly fisherman would not allow hesitation to get in his way. As the sea boiled and the boat hurled, Peter staggered over toward the side.

For weeks now, the stories of the kingdom swirled through his impetuous mind – how an entire tree could come from such a small seed … a woman’s batch of dough could rise from such a small pinch of yeast … a merchant would sell all he had for the ultimate pearl, or someone else might sell all he had to buy a field where he discovered hidden treasure. And then today – to see so many people fed with such a small amount of food.

In following Jesus – hearing what he had to say, and participating in what he was doing – all that Peter understood seemed to be coming unstuck. And a new kind of reality was settling into his heart.

“If this is what the kingdom of God is like” he thought, “I want in.”

And with that he stepped out of the boat.

Matthew 14:22-33

isolation

// January 31st, 2011 // Comments Off // presence, the story


He was tired. Yes, tired of the numbness, the ugly sores, the weeping wounds on his hands and feet, the hot and heavy cloak he was required to wear that stuck to his wounds, the hoarseness of his voice from the ulcers in his throat – tired of being surrounded by death and dying.

But he was tired of so much more. Since the day the priest pronounced him ‘unclean’, he’d been banished to live with others who were sick like him – banished from his family, his friends, and banished from his identity as a Jew – forbidden to worship God in the temple.

As he limped along the road to his home outside his old village, he saw a group coming towards him and wearily lifted his hand to cover his mouth and warn them of his approach, “Unclean! Unclean!” The familiar words were a permanent reminder of his isolation.

As they came closer he heard someone say the name – Jesus. The leper looked up and saw the one they spoke of. His limp turned to an awkward gait, and, ignoring all social and religious protocols, he fell on his knees before the rabbi.

Mark 1:40-45

religion

// January 24th, 2011 // Comments Off // presence, the story


He struggled to understand why, but he was constantly agitated – especially on the Sabbath. He hated the custom of going to the meeting place, he hated the people with their preoccupied smiles, he hated religion full-stop. It never took the anxiety away, in fact, it only added to it.

But there was another reason he hated the day of rest and worship, the day when his culture required him to gather with others in public – he hated it because he never knew what was going to come out of his mouth. Whenever a rabbi would get up to teach from the Torah, it made his blood boil, and he would often unwittingly shout out in protest. Sometimes he would scream obscenities at the top of his voice, and he would only learn of this when his family asked him why afterwards – it was as if someone else owned his mouth.

He felt misunderstood, alone, and helpless – and no rabbi, elder, or teacher of the law had ever been able to tell him why.

Mark 1:21-28

death bed

// January 14th, 2011 // Comments Off // presence, the story

Serving Herod Antipas, the King that no-one wanted, certainly came at a price – but it had it’s perks. Job security in his time was a unique opportunity, as was the comfortable lodging – and the power it gave him was, admittedly, satisfying.

But being a royal official also meant there were certain streets you never walked down. Certain areas to be avoided. Certain truths that were best kept in the realm of ignorance – truths that were often a direct result of the decisions he made, or at least enforced among the people of Galilee. A king’s oppression of his own people will always mean a king’s official will be unpopular.

None of that seemed to matter today. The look in his sons eyes was enough incentive for him to walk the 30 km journey to Cana where he had heard Jesus was headed. Whatever the risk and whatever the cost, this father was determined to do to keep his son from dying.

John 4:46-54