Psalms 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30
My father was a great one for pithy sayings. Often when I think about them, I realize how much they capture the secret of faithful living. A couple that came to mind with today’s gospel are “A Dios rogando y con el maso dando” which translates roughly ‘to God praying and with all our energy working,’ or what he used to say in English: “Work as if everything depended on you, and pray as if everything depended on God.” Papi was a firm believer in ‘doing our part,’ putting forth our ‘loaves and fishes’ so that God could work the miracle. ( I am very grateful that, although he lost everything he worked so hard for in his early life in Cuba, he did not become bitter or lose his love of God.)
Today, John’s gospel has Jesus answering the people’s question of “What must we do to perform the works of God?” with the reply: “This is the work of God: have faith in the One whom He sent.” (John 6:29)
This is an important mantra for me these Easter days. Have faith in the One whom God sent. I am such a ‘do-er,’ (and there is so much to do!) dependence and stillness don’t come easily. Lent has helped renew some of the discipline of ‘resting’ (at least it enabled me to overcome some of the guilt of taking time for ‘myself.’) May I rest in you, trust in you, believe in you. Jesus, I believe. Help my un-belief. Help me live this “blessed assurance,” the blessed tension. I know you want me to DO my part. Thank you for reminding me that essential to ‘my part’ is resting, believing, trusting.
This is surely what makes Stephen’s face “like that of an angel’s” in today’s reading from Acts. Stephen’s face radiated his profound trust in the midst of his being tortured. What immense freedom. Easter freedom.
No matter what the pressure I feel to ‘make it’ on my own, to ‘make a name for myself’ even to do great things for the Lord and the ‘reign of God,’ what will last is my ‘faith in the One whom God sent.’ This is a source of freedom, hope and joy that Stephen knew and that I desire as an Easter gift. No one can take this away. I depend on no-THING for peace and happiness. In a society of ‘independence,’ I choose to recognize my source and destiny, my dependence, my meaning in God.
So, Dad, about that saying….
You are teaching us in the Acts of the Apostles these days how marvelous are your works among those who believe, and assuring us of your presence among us in the community gathered to break bread, in the midst of the storm.
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook