Wear the River
“I have tried to learn the language of Christianity but often feel that I have made no progress at all. I don’t mean that Christianity doesn’t seem to ‘work’ for me, as if its veracity were measured by its specific utility in my own life. I understand that my understanding must be forged and re-forged within the life of God, and dogma is a means of making this happen: the ropes, clips, and toe spikes whereby one descends into the abyss. But I am also a poet, and I feel the falseness—or no, not even that, a certain inaccuracy and slippage, as if the equipment were worn and inadequate—at every step. And that’s in the best moments. In the worst, I’m simply wandering through a discount shopping mall of myth, trying to convince myself there’s something worth buying.”
Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:22-33
Peter literally walked with Jesus, and then he walked with Jesus. On water. And yet, even when in the literal presence of Jesus, and in the midst of a literal miracle, Peter doubted. No matter how devout we are to our faith, we will never be as close to Jesus as Peter was, and so how can we expect to avoid doubt? This level of faithful uncertainty is articulated in the quote above, so this week, take the metaphor literally. Go to a shopping mall, or a large department store, or the biggest supermarket in your town. Look around at all the items on display; regard the shopping carts of your fellow consumers and the diverse contents they contain. And then remind yourself: this is not how faith works. We do not pick and choose with certainty the things that seem best to us; instead, we make do with what we have, and we trust that Jesus is there for us, even in our doubts. Like he was for Peter.
Ask questions, share thoughts and wrestle together about your experiences from the material this week.