I am late to this blog today because I got involved in binge watching "House of Cards" on netflix. It is the third season of this political series that is about the lies and machinations of Frank Underwood in his attempt to gain and wield political power in Washington DC. In this third season he is finally president and now trying to pass what he thinks are important bills and find a way to be elected in 2016. It is well written and acted and really interesting and somewhat depressing. Is this truly the way that people in power are - or is this just a caricature?
So I go from this to looking at today's readings and find myself focusing on the question that Jesus asks his disciples. (Mark 8: 27-30) First - "Who do people say that I am?" Followed by "But who do you say that I am?"
Peter answers - You are the messiah. And then I sit and think what did that mean at the time? what does it mean to me today? who is Jesus to me now?
And really, what is the answer. It seems to change - you are the son of God, a model for me, a teacher, you are the source of love and grace, you are my Lord. You are the one who has called me to a different kind of life.
And sometimes, Jesus is the one in the background - deep background as I live my life as if I were on my own. And as I watch shows like "House of Cards" I wonder where God is and where Jesus is in the lives of the powerful people who who seem to have so much control over our lives. Yes, true confessions - I am all over the place about who Jesus is to me.
However I will say, that when I am in the darkest, loneliest scariest times of life - I know and sometimes feel - that Jesus is the only one who understands. When I sit in silent prayers, I am filled with this blessing of what feels like God's presence and love in that moment. And when I look back over my life I see events and timings that seem to be of divine origin. Who do I say that you are, Jesus? It depends on the day.
One of my favorite prayers of all time is this one my Thomas Merton:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that
I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am
actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.