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

And Jesus said, “Come.”

Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the strong wind, he became frightened. As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, rescue me!”

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, saying, “You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?” When they got into the boat, the wind settled down.

Then those in the boat worshipped Jesus and said, “You must be God’s Son!”

Matthew 14:29-33

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Think

I was halfway up the final ascent of the mountain when someone’s canteen slipped out of their backpack above me. The canteen hit the rock next to me, sputtering water, and continued to fall until it was out of sight. We clasped the metal cables a little tighter, and continued upward.

“You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?”

I immediately want to take the side of Peter when Jesus reprimands him with this question. I want to respond, “We doubt because we are human! We doubt because the danger of drowning and the danger of falling are real!”

I’m so quick to defend Peter that I almost miss the point — Jesus isn’t necessarily criticizing Peter in this moment. Rather, Jesus is nudging Peter to try to doubt a little less and understand God more. Peter’s interaction with Jesus reminds us that doubt isn’t the opposite of faith. Rather, doubt is a human reaction that can lead us deeper into knowledge and love of God.

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

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Pray

God of wonders beyond all that I can imagine, give me eyes to see the world as you do. Do not let me be overcome by doubts, but let my doubts strengthen my faith in you. 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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