Faces on Faith: Listen!
“But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.”
When I came to meet with the search committee from the Chapel by the Sea last December, one of the things that they told me was that the chapel was considered by many to be a “thin place,” somewhere where the connection between heaven and earth are very close. People seem to find in this place as spiritual connection which is, often, beyond human understanding. This understanding comes from Celtic Christianity which sees unity more than distinction and which celebrates the connectedness of things.
As I ponder this way of thinking during this time of political, cultural and social upheaval, I’m reminded of the necessity of being people of faith who combine contemplation and action and who take the time not only to act but also to pray; to engage in both the prayer of the heart and the prayer of the feet. It is tempting to connect with the beauty of prayer in a beautiful place and to forget that prayer is lived out in deeds of love, mercy and justice. On the other hand, it is sometimes tempting to forge ahead with such deeds without grounding them in a life of quiet listening for the often still, but other times loud voice of God.
The Bible tells us that Jesus would often get away to pray. He needed this time to listen for the voice that we still listen for, even if that voice was actually within him. He knew that his actions were not his actions alone, but also the actions of the God who was incarnate in him. As a Christian, I believe that the God who created this world in love and has redeemed it in love and sustains it in love is the God who still speaks in love today. Indeed this is a time of political turmoil and it will continue to Election Day and beyond. As we seek to reach out in love in a time where there is much division, might we stop and listen for the voice that speaks to us in the think places of our lives in words which both comfort us and impel us to move out in faith.
The Rev. John N. Cedarleaf, Captiva Chapel-by-the-Sea