Journey to the Cross
Enter into this time of prayer.
Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage.
Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose. Feel your torso expand. Breathe out slowly.
Thank God for the gift of Life inside of you.
Nicodemus said, “How are these things possible?”
Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things? I assure you that we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you don’t receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?”
Have you ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach or told a friend to “trust your gut”? Did you know that these sensations may come from a network of neurons lining our guts that is so extensive some scientists have nicknamed it our “second brain”? According to Emeran Mayer, a psychology professor at the School of Medicine at UCLA, this “little brain” in our innards may influence a big part of our emotions.
We can’t know what drew Nicodemus to seek out Jesus undercover at night. But perhaps it was a “gut feeling” that to come in the light of day would be trouble. We can’t know why Nicodemus wanted to hear from Jesus when he seemed so sure that what Jesus said was nonsense. But perhaps it was a fluttering in his stomach or even an unexplainable faithful curiosity that led him to that moment.
We know that faith is not about intellect, but trusting in what we cannot see. Maybe our faith resides (in part) in our gut, in a felt sense and faithful curiosity that leads us toward the one who greets us knowingly.
God of our hearts, our minds, and our guts, as you show yourself to me in a million different ways, may I be ready to receive you in just as many. May I know you in my thinking mind, my loving heart, and my feeling gut. Amen.
God’s one-of-a-kind job description is that God actually uses our problems to lead us to the full solution. God is the perfect Recycler, and in the economy of grace, nothing is wasted, not even our worst sins and our most stupid mistakes.
Richard Rohr in A Lever and a Place to Stand (2012)