We are helped to remember

God, through the angel Gabriel, called on Mary to do what, in the world’s eyes is impossible, and instead of saying, “I can’t,” she replied immediately, “Be it unto me according to thy word.”

God is always calling on us to do the impossible. It helps me to remember that anything Jesus did during his life here on earth is something we should be able to do, too.

When spring-fed Dog Pond warms up enough for swimming, which usually isn’t until June, I often go there in the late afternoon. Sometimes I will sit on a sun-warmed rock to dry, and think of Peter walking across the water to meet Jesus. As long as he didn’t remember that we human beings have forgotten how to walk on water, he was able to do it.

If Jesus of Nazareth was God become truly man for us, as I believe he was, then we should be able to walk on water, to heal the sick, even to accept the Father’s answer to our prayers when it is not the answer that we hope for, when it is no. Jesus begged in anguish that he be spared the bitter cup and then humbly added, “but not as I will, Father; as you will.”

In art, either as creators or as participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious things we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we are asked to endure, we who are children of God by adoption and grace.

From “Walking on Water” by Madeleine L’Engle

Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus thought that gratitude was a political structure of benefactors and beneficiaries that he could manipulate for his own benefit. Then Jesus called him down from that tree and invited him to a table. “Stop climbing, Zacchaeus. Come and sit.” Whereas Rome practiced gratitude as a hierarchy of political and economic obligation, of debt and duty, Jesus envisioned gratitude as hospitality of mutuality and relationship, of gift and response. Jesus opened the door for Zacchaeus to “come down” from his old life, to stop participating in a corrupt system of gratitude that oppressed his own people.

From “Grateful” by Diana Butler Bass – HarperOne