Archive for June 18th, 2007

Finding God on a Lily Pad

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Galatians 1:11-24 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Rev. Tammy Mills):

When Paul wrote this passage he was under attack. His authority and his place in the body of Christ was being challenged. To quiet his attackers he shares some of his spiritual journey. He hopes to make clear that he is sharing the message of Jesus and not some watered down second or third hand account of the gospel.

Paul describes himself as a fanatic for the law, but one day, as he was headed to Damascus to round up Christians, God reached out and his heart was forever changed. After that experience he went away to Arabia for awhile most likely to unpack and grow into the experience he had just had with God. Only after that time alone with God, does Paul head back to Damascus.

His time in Damascus had to be difficult. Christians there knew Paul had been coming to kill them — now he was showing up to tell them about how God had changed his heart. That had to be a tense visit.

From there he eventually went to Jerusalem. His trip to Jerusalem wasn’t easy. There were many Jews there who would have liked to have his head. Paul wasn’t going to be easily accepted by the leadership of the Christian church in Jerusalem.

Finally Paul describes going back to Syria and Cilicia. This was the area where he grew up. The people in his home town would not have been receptive to the “new Paul”. They would have thought he was crazy.

As you can see, Paul’s journey wasn’t always an easy one. But each place he went he continued to grow his spirit and share his faith. What has your spiritual journey been like? I know mine looks a little odd if you take each place I have been separately, but when viewed as a whole I can see how each place grew my spirit and helped prepare me for the next place in my journey.

One of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott, describes her spiritual journey this way.

“My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another. Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear. When I look back at some of these early resting places — the boisterous home of Catholics, the soft armchair of the Christian Science mom, adoption by ardent Jews — I see how flimsy and indirect a path they made. Yet each step brought me closer to the verdant pad of faith on which I somehow stay afloat today.“ p.3 (Traveling Mercies)

God leads us where we need to go to grow our soul. Today, I will try to trust God to guide my journey and not worry so much about which lily pad I will land on next.

Thought for the day: Perhaps I am right where I need to be.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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