“Who Do You Say That I Am?” Lenten Series Post #9
Jesus for me is perfect peace, something our world is in desperate need of these days. He walked this earth as an example of unconditional love, belonging and forgiveness, which is the birthright of every child of God, not something that needs to be earned. The fear, anger, greed and guilt that often plague us as humans, sneaks in during the time we have lost sight of Christ. The Son of God in flesh gives us a relatable image of someone we can identify as a friend, imagining ourselves talking to and being held by during our darkest moments. Suffering is a part of our human existence, however during moments of tremendous suffering, when I’m able to center myself and sit in the present moment, it’s in that space where I find the peace that passes all understanding and any anger or fear I feel is replaced by overwhelming peace and love. It’s in this space where I rest in the arms of Jesus. It brings the same sense of comfort I felt as a little girl being held by my father.
I read a book many years ago a friend had recommended, and I’ve since seen the movie. The title is The Shack, written by William P. Young. The book is about a father who has experienced unspeakable suffering through the disappearance and ultimate murder of his young daughter while on a family camping trip. This character’s guilt and grief is overwhelming him, and his anger towards God is affecting his ability to feel love. He then experiences a weekend stay at a Shack with The Holy Trinity in the form of three individual characters portraying the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the movie, the part of God is beautifully played by female actor Octavia Spencer, who the family lovingly refers to as “Papa”.
The relationships portrayed in this book and movie resonated with me on such a tangible level. There is one scene where the main character is in a boat and fear begins to overcome him as he relives that fateful day he lost his daughter. The waters around him turn black, cracks begin to form, and the boat begins to sink. In that moment, the character of Jesus reminds him to focus only on His words and to not lose sight of His presence. Jesus reminds him that these are simply his thoughts, and they can’t hurt him. He encourages him to stop focusing on the thoughts and focus on Him. In a nutshell, this very scene for me sums up the answer to the question, “Who do you say that I am?”.
Jesus is my closest companion, the one who will never leave nor forsake me. When I remember Psalm 46:10 “be still and know that I am God”, I find the peace I seek, and I’m better equipped to offer love and forgiveness to myself and those around me without judgement. I’m also able to accept what is and hope for what may be. The world would indeed be a better place for all of us if we could keep our sights on Jesus and the promise of Easter morning. Just as Jesus showed up for His disciples on that amazing Easter morning, He shows up for each of us if only we choose to seek Him.
— Sally Masri
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog