Signposts: Daily Devotions

Friday, October 3

"Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out.
—Luke 8:22

What is your favorite verse of scripture?

It is a simple enough question. One would think it is asked all the time. But surprisingly enough, the response given often harks back to the scripture of the day, or the theme of the church year. We know a favorite passage is there, we're just not sure exactly which verse, or even which story has claimed our heart.

When we do let the question linger, and begin to answer it, we realize we are mapping the course of our lives. There is a reason those verses became personal, a reason God lodged them in our heart, and a reason we keep returning to them. There is a reason they shed light on our lives.

For me, Jesus' invitation to go to the “other side” is a centering call. I sense what he is asking. We are born; we age; and we cross to the other side. All kinds of things happen along the way. There are storms. There are winds. There is fear. And, in the boat, right beside us, there is Jesus traveling with us as we all make our way to the other side.

I have seen that boat in stained glass windows. I have seen it in paintings. I have seen it in my imagination. And I have seen it in the course of my life. When a heart attack almost ended the journey, God said, “Let's keep traveling.” When it happened again, we kept traveling. When events seemed to conspire against me, I knew they were no more than a mid-passage storm, and that I hadn't been invited to travel only half-way across the lake.

Time after time I return to that simple invitation: “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” I am thankful that I do not have to make the passage alone. I am thankful for the boat, which I realize is the church, for I know I could not swim the distance. Today, and tomorrow, Jesus' words ring true. I am thankful for their presence in my life.

Gracious God, help us accept your invitation. When we are afraid give us strength to keep traveling, lift fear from us, and thank you for traveling with us. In Jesus' name, Amen.

The Signposts for October are written by The Rev. Larry Pray, who for twenty years served as a pastor for the United Church of Christ in Minnesota and Montana, until a disability meant that he had to find new ways to express life. His first book was Journey of a Diabetic, about learning to accept incurable disease. Other publications include Leading Causes of Life, co-authored with Gary Gunderson, and The Geography of Healing that includes interviews with pastors, doctors and hospital administrators about where it is that we heal.