Pause

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

John Muir in Our National Parks (1901)

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Listen

Right then, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowds. When he sent them away, he went up onto a mountain by himself to pray. Evening came and he was alone. Meanwhile, the boat, fighting a strong headwind, was being battered by the waves and was already far away from land. Very early in the morning he came to his disciples, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” They were so frightened they screamed.

Matthew 14:22-26

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Think

The mountain was one giant block of granite, looming in front of us. After eight miles of strenuous uphill hiking, I doubted whether or not I could make the final ascent to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Just watching the hikers ahead of us made my legs turn into Jell-O. It seemed like they were doing the impossible, walking (not on water!) but up a vertical wall of rock.

It is no surprise to me that the disciples’ first reaction upon seeing Jesus walk on water is to be afraid. In my experience, faith and fear are never far away from each other. They are like two sides of the same coin, equal and opposite reactions.

It’s okay to be afraid. But if we step into a challenge out of fear, instead of faith, our fears can get the best of us. This week, as we ponder what it means to step out in faith, may we resolve to choose faith over fear.

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

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Pray

Almighty God, you know my greatest challenges and my deepest fears. Help me to look beyond the things that scare me and to remember that I am never alone on this journey. Amen.

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Go

I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
No turning back, no turning back

The world behind me, the cross before me,
The world behind me, the cross before me,
The world behind me, the cross before me,
No turning back, no turning back

from “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” author unknown

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

Heidi Thorsen Oxford is a recent graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City (MDiv, ’17) and an alumna of the Episcopal Service Corps, St. Hilda’s House. She is currently on the east coast pursuing work as a hospital chaplain, but home in her heart will always be California — especially Yosemite National Park. She lives with her husband, Will Oxford, and their two beautiful cats.

Walking Towards Morning: Here I Am to Worship

Ken Medema

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