We continue our Gospel Challenge by reading Chapter 8; then you can muse on the few thoughts below, which I hope will aid your own reflection and prayer.
If we look at chapter 8 we can see that the teaching of Jesus, the calming of the storm and the healing miracles all remind us of the centrality and importance of our spiritual life. Day to day life for the disciples, and the other people we meet in this chapter, were full of challenge; and yet somehow it is their faith which enabled them to cope with whatever the world threw at them.
Sometimes for us, in our day to day lives, we may find ourselves facing one difficulty after another. Health, relationships, work, finance, disappointments and the expectations of others can be completely overwhelming. When this happens these things can get in the way of the spiritual; so we no longer make time for Sunday worship, prayer, reading our Bible or just being with our sisters and brothers who make up our church community.
And yet Jesus challenges us not to be like the seed that fell amongst the thorns, not to be choked up by the worries of the world. Jesus is reminding us that without spiritual food we become spiritually hungry and do not thrive emotionally and spiritually. Of course if you recognise this in yourself, then you are not the only one. If this was not an easy default position for us all to fall into then Jesus would not have needed to give us the parable of the seeds.
However, when we neglect our spirituality we lose out; we are not at our best and we do not thrive. For me, when I get distracted from my spirituality and then when I focus again, then things in life get easier, and certainly life is more of a joy.
When we look at the disciples in the storm, we can see how terrifying their experience must have been: an open boat, filling with water, they were staring death in the face. And when they looked to Jesus the storm was calmed. Whenever we find ourselves in a storm, in our own lives, or even the life of this country (which let’s face it the news has more drama than the soaps at the moment), whenever we attend to the spiritual, seeking Jesus, the storm is calmed. We can clear the choking thorns so we can breathe again.