Moving Through - Devotions for the Wisconsin Annual Conference for August 31
“Jesus replied to his disciples, ‘You give them something to eat.’ (Mark 6:37)”
The words of Simon Tugwell, in his book, Prayer, touched me today.
“St. Ambrose gave his congregation some very good advice. Using the old Christian symbol, he compared them in this stormy world to a fish swimming in the sea. And to his congregation he said, ‘Be a fish.’ We must learn how not to be swamped by the situations we find ourselves in. We must learn how to get through them with a minimum of damage, and a maximum of profit.
“One aspect of this is simply learning to get through situations, and not always to want to take them with us. There is a story told of two monks in Japan, ‘traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection. ‘Come on girl,’ said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud. Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself, ‘We monks don’t go near females,’ he told Tanzan, ‘especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?’
“’I left the girl there,’ said Tanzan. “Why are you still carrying her?’
“We must learn to pass through situations like a fish, rather than carrying them all with us like a snail. We should certainly emerge with a little bit more experience of life, but there is no need to carry more with us than we have to – each situation carries quite enough trouble with it by itself.”
May God give us grace to let go of what we need to let go of today. May God give us the courage to see new possibilities before us today.
Prayer: Gracious God, we are your people. Lift our eyes to see the possibilities that you are placing before us on this day. Give us the courage to embrace these possibilities as gifts from you, that you will partner with us. Teach us how to let go that which we need to learn to let go. Guide our steps on this day. Open our hearts to the people you place in our life. Teach us to witness, anew to your love. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.