You Found the Wandering Heart!
During Lent in The Summit we will be following the journey of Peter and his wandering heart as he walks with Jesus towards the cross. This will also be the focus of our churchwide and youth Sunday School classes. As we follow Peter's footsteps, we'll also meditate on the lyrics of the beloved hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Each week during Lent you'll be able to find this heart wandering around the church. When you find it, the QR code will take you right here for a weekly devotional. As an added bonus, if you find Pastor Anne and tell her where you found the Wandering Heart, she'll have a special treat for you! We hope this Lent this series will help you tune your heart to sing God's praise. Blessings on your journey!
- Pastor Anne
Week 2 - "Rescue Me From Danger"
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’
Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’
Read this poem by Rev. Sarah Speed:
I’d rather not need rescue.
I’d prefer a five-step plan
and a quick-fix solution.
I’d prefer stubborn insistence
over honest vulnerability,
because rescue requires
asking for help.
the rising water.
the tired, treading feet.
the swell of the wind
and the rain at a slant.
But when the floor falls out
and the world is on fire
and my small hands
cannot fix the hurt welling in me,
the prayer that slips out
When Peter finds himself surrounded by wind and waves he is at his most vulnerable. He begins to focus on all the things around him that are causing him to sink instead of the one who can rescue him. So often we find ourselves too focused on the chaos of our lives and look right past the things and the One who can calm the waters. We are in good company with Peter, who reminds us that when we call out to Jesus he will always be there to rescue us. What do you need to be rescued from right now? What does our world need to be rescued from? This week let's let that prayer slip out of our hearts: Jesus, rescue us!
Week 1 - "Jesus Sought Me"
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Peter’s first response to Jesus’ call on his life is to question his own worth. He cries out, “I am a sinful man!” But Jesus meets him right where he’s at and doesn’t ask him to be anyone other than who he already is. When I was young I used to think Jesus telling Peter that he would be catching people was a bit gruesome and puzzling. After all, fish don’t want to be caught and the end point for the fish is not good news. But now I understand that the metaphor was less about reaching new people with the gospel and more about who Peter was. When Jesus says to Peter that from now on he will catch people, what he is saying is “Peter, I see you. I know you are a fisherman. I know you aren’t rich or powerful or a religious expert. I know you have doubts and you aren’t perfect. And I don’t need you to change any of that. I don’t you need you to stop being a fisherman. I need you to be a fisherman for me. I’m calling you just as you are.”
Jesus knows every nook and cranny of our hearts. There is no pulling a fast one on God. Yet I believe Jesus calls each and every one of us, not in spite of who we are, but because of who we are. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to have it all together or be certain of everything we believe. We don’t have to look like a “proper Christian” or know all the “right” theological answers. We just have to be willing to follow Jesus. He’ll lead us in the right direction.
Each year during Lent, we have the opportunity to take on an intentional practice that will guide us toward repentance and deepen our relationship with God.
For some of us this will mean a season of fasting. We’ll give up something, sweets/meat/social media/etc., in order to focus our attention on scripture and prayer. For others of us, Lent is a time to take on a new spiritual practice or experiment with new modes of prayer.
As you consider what your Lenten practice will be, consider the areas God is wanting to grow in you. Are there places you have felt God’s nudging but you have been ignoring? Are their dreams or passions you have been setting by the wayside for a time when you have less on your plate?
Let us also remember that the purpose of Lent is not self-flagellation, but to grow in love and to become more Christlike. It is easy for us to get carried away when we turn our focus towards the parts of us that need to be changed. We can be so hard on ourselves and a season that is meant for growth can become a trap of self-loathing. One of my favorite phrases of poetry is from Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese. It says:
"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knew
For a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
Love what it loves."
Remember those words, remember that Lent is not about achieving perfection and transcending your humanity. It’s actually the opposite. It’s about letting your imperfections lead you to God. You just have to let the soft animal of your body follow the path of love. So let us repent in this spirit, knowing that we are not alone on this journey through the wilderness. Love goes with us.