Tag Archives: Mark 1

Cabin 19: Footprints in the Snow

The wind was steady and the snow was blinding. I could barely see my own outstretched hand as I shuffled through the deepening snow. My bare legs were now numb from the cold as I plowed through drifts nearly up to my waist.

Jesus’ footprints were barely visible and disappearing quickly. I had to keep moving. I found myself running, stumbling, falling, getting back up — again and again.

My numb shins began to burn and itch from the prolonged exposure. My eye lids were nearly frozen shut. I had to keep peeling off the frosted flakes in order to keep my eyes on the trail Jesus was blazing.

Worse than the cold wind and blinding snow, was the deafening silence I was experiencing. Snow has an insulating effect, a way of dampening the sounds of around you, until all you can hear is your own breathing and your own thoughts.

And the last thing I wanted in the world right now was to be left alone with my own thoughts.

“Jesus!?” I had been yelling out continuously, but I hadn’t heard his voice for probably 30 minutes — which felt more like 30 hours.

In the ripe silence my thoughts grew louder. Have you ever listened closely enough to your thoughts to discern they often take on different tones? At one moment they had the voice of a scared child crying out for help:

Where is he leading me? How much further? I’m cold. I want to go home. Please slow down, Jesus. I can’t keep up.

The next moment my thoughts had the sneering tone of the Accuser:

This is all your fault! You brought this upon yourself! You should just lay down, close your eyes and fall asleep into peaceful oblivion. 

Then the voice of truth again:

No, follow Jesus’ footprints! That’s all I need to do. He will guide me through this.

But the snow only increased and the tracks were beginning to disappear. A huge blast of wind came suddenly, and I found myself stumbling forward, face first into a drift. In the few seconds it took to gather myself, I had somehow lost my sense of direction. Which way was I heading? My cold, numb muscles struggled to pull me to my feet.

When I finally stood up and looked around, the footprints had completely vanished.

Continue reading Cabin 19: Footprints in the Snow

Adventures in Mark 3 (1:35-39)

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons” (Mark 1:35-39).

Several lessons pour forth from this little episode.

1. First, Jesus had a daily habit of quiet prayer time with God to center and sustain him in ministry. If the Son of God made this a habit in his ministry, how much more do I need to make room for this. Thankfully it is spring time in Minnesota and the air is warmer for me to resume my regularly prayer walks. If not prayer walks, I recommend shower talks, or car chats on the way to and from work.

I don’t think it’s reading too much into the text that Jesus both “got up” and “left the house” in order to meet with God.  In my experience, bedtime prayers and coffee table devotions, while good practices, still don’t have the same power as physically finding some sacred space outside the home.  Is there a park?  A walking trail?  A building that more powerfully gives off that holy aura?  I have a little fishing pier jetting out into Lake Minnetonka at a small, unknown beach just a few blocks from our home that I have made a holy meeting space for prayer and solitude.

2. Second, we find an strange scene where Jesus intentionally avoids a crowd of seekers.  Just another reminder that Jesus’ model of ministry wasn’t always as seeker-sensitive as we would like it to be.  There is a lesson in here.  Even Jesus couldn’t (or at least didn’t) minister to everyone’s needs.  He wasn’t the omnipresent pastor we leaders often feel we need to be.  He had his mission, and therefore said ‘no’ to many good ministry opportunities in order to say ‘yes’ to his primary task. This kind of resolve takes great discipline, focus and growing more and more comfortable upsetting others and letting people down.  Are you willing to disappoint others in order to please God? Continue reading Adventures in Mark 3 (1:35-39)