By Paul Knudtson Continue reading Faithfulness
Hans Kung, a leading 20th century theologian, writes in his 2009 book What I Believe:
“In the act of saying “Yes”, venturing fundamental trust, risking trust in life: in that way and only in that way I can go on living my life. . . .And the unbounded joy which I experienced was similar to the joy I experienced as a child while swimming, when for the first time I had the experience that the water really supported bodies, even mine, that I entrusted myself to the water, that all alone–without support or any aids–I could trust myself to the water.” (chpt. 1)
Peter saw how Jesus trusted the water on the Sea of Galilee.
“During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, “It’s a ghost”, they said and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied,” tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “Why did you doubt?” Mt. 14:25-31
This same story appears in Mark, without Peter’s request; the richness of Matthew is that it gives us permission to go beyond our comfort zone, even if we fail.
“Trust the Water” by Elaine Knudtson
I stand on the edge of the shore between now and then,
Letting the water tickle my toes, but I’m afraid to go farther.
I trust the land. I can control my exit:
- I know the resting places
- the curves in the well worn paths
- the dark valleys to avoid
- the hidden off ramps
It’s comfortable, safe, predictable.
But I’ve come to this place and there’s no turning back.
The water is inviting. They say its cool, refreshing, peaceful.
It’s the reward for leaving the land and coming to the end of the lenten journey.
But can I trust it?
- Its deep, dark, unknown
- There are docks and buoys to mark the safe places, but I want to go beyond the ropes into the vastness of the reefs where the colorful fish swim across the coral.
- I know there is a beauty and adventure for those who dare. But I’m new at this, and I’m afraid.
I look behind me and know the road has been closed. It only goes one way, and I can stay here on the shore until I’m ready, but the day is waning and I see others beckoning me to join them.
They are my friends, my family, my mentors, who assure me the water is fine.
It is the water of experience, faith, community, “koionania”, “logos”, the “word made flesh”; and it is good, it is “tove meode.”
And so I leave the shore; reach my arms to the heavens and fall into the water. so that when you come to the shore, I will be able to call to you,
“Come and join me. You can trust the water.”
15As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
I think of my grandfather’s farm site, the place where my dad was born and grew as a boy. When I was but six, dad went to work dismantling everything that stood there. The barn was taken down and its lumber was reused to build granaries at home in our yard. The house and other buildings were dismantled. Everything was cleared away and the land was broken and crops grew where the buildings and corrals once stood. Now those who drive by that old farm yard on the road see no trace that of the yard and buildings that once stood there. The house and home have disappeared completely from the face of the earth. As Psalm 103 says, “it is gone, and its place knows it no more.”
Recently, my siblings and I decided to sell the land that had been in the family for over a century; land that had belonged to our grandfather. This decision affected all of us emotionally.
“I think I am experiencing grief at the sale of the land. I am in mourning. Perhaps we should wear black. I will be OK I think, but it is still painful. It is a big loss. My head and my heart are out of sync. I am happy that we still have each other.”
I feel that I know that land like no other. It is my land, and I even feel that that land knows me. It has seen me from my earliest years. I was a baby, a boy, then a teenager on that land, in that place. I became familiar with every slough and every slope; I spent Saturdays as a boy exploring the rugged hills of the coulee together with my brothers.
The farm, this plot of ground, this place has always existed in my mind as my geographic center or North Pole—the place from which I looked out on the world. Even when I moved away from home, this place remained the imaginary and emotional center of my universe.
Now all of that has changed—and I am struggling to understand how to get oriented in my life without such a North Pole. I feel like I must now live in a landscape that looks the same as before, but which now can no longer be defined in terms of North or South, East or West. My old compass no longer works—the needle turns back and forth aimlessly, unaffected by any magnetic field. That piece of earth was where my life began, it was the place from which I looked out on the world, the center of my geographic sense of the world—and continued to be the place within my imagination that was my center.
What has happened in this community is the story of what has happened across the prairies as a whole. Farms have gotten larger and the rural population has diminished. Dozens of small rural churches now stand empty on Sunday mornings. Small towns and villages have lost stores and the railway.
With such profound changes, I sometimes wonder what sense of rootedness my children and grandchildren will have. They are disconnected from their ancestors, their heritage, and the farm. What this means for the future or regarding the meaning of my family’s history from generation to generation, I do not know.
One thing have I asked of the Lord; one thing I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. . . For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling and set me high upon a rock. . . . What if I had not believed that I should see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Ps. 27:5, 7, 17
Thank you for joining us! As we retire, we bring together a collection of stories, poems and reflections to share with family and friends. Wisdom is gained as we encounter the spiritual in scripture and through the “logos”–the Word made flesh. It is our hope that you will find encouragement for the journey.
2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Being a Child
Reflections on Genesis 1 and 2
By Elaine Knudtson
Children squeeze, tease, ignite hope and leave. . .
But I remember –
The way they folded into a ball in my arms and tucked under my chin like a soft plushed toy;
The smell of new skin and vellum—is that how we smelled in the Garden?
Did we tuck ourselves under God’s chin and fold into a child, soothed by the beat of His heart?
Could we sense His love, hope, excitement?
Did we bring Him joy,
Or did He fear that we would soon leave?
What love; to bring life into the world, knowing it is only for a moment. But oh the sweetness of those moments.
It is enough to risk the pain. It is a call to seize the moments.
Memory is the album of our life. I choose to remember beauty, truth, peaceful pastures, quiet respite between the storms.
I forget the pain of leaving and remember being tucked under Your chin and carried as I listen to the beat of your heart.
Thanks for joining us! So much of life is below the surface and intuitive. What we believe to be deeply personal and unique is often universal. The spiritual is ignored until the pressures of life exceed our capacity to make sense of any of it. Out of the struggle emerges wisdom and a connection to the Logos, “The Word made flesh”.
As we retire, my husband and I are collecting our poems and reflections to share with our family and friends. We offer it as an encouragement and hope for the journey.
2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton