Yesterday I wrote about scars – the scars in our lives, the scars in our histories (individual and collective), and so forth. As I read through the stories of Genesis and Matthew, I am once again reminded of the process each follower is a part of. Even though Abraham said yes to leave his land and go to where the Lord shows him, he is by no means perfect. Same for Noah. Same for others. As I read the stories of the early disciples in Matthew, there’s a reminder that they don’t have it all together by any means either. Today’s passage in Matthew dovetailed with the chapters I read in The Jesus Creed once again. In Matthew 6, Jesus challenges those listening to the Sermon about their worries –
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
Its easy to worry because we don’t know what’s ahead. We can visualize all kinds of things – often times visualizing the ways that things are not going to go well. We can visualize how our paths of discipleship will go as well, but they are not clear either. There are many directions my faith life has taken that I would not have expected 5, 10, 20, 20+ years ago.
McKnight profiled Peter in the chapter I read this morning and he asked a profound question…”At what point was Peter converted?” He listed several different places starting with his initial call to follow and ending with Peter’s conversation with Jesus on the shore after the resurrection. Could it even be a time after that? But what is clear is that Peter started to follow at one point and continued that throughout. Without getting into a big debate about the nature of salvation, McKnight raises a deep question about our faith lives. Whether we can trace things back to a single moment when we started to follow or whether its been a lifetime thing for us (growing up in the church), there is a becoming that is always taking place. McKnight also compared it to a birth certificate vs a driver’s license when he writes, “For some, conversion is like a birth certificate, while for others it is like a driver’s license. For the first, the ultimate question is “What do I need to do to get to heaven?” For the second, the question is “How do I love God?” For the first, the concern is a moment; for the second, the concern is a life.” I love the way he delineates this. He follows this up with the following:
The question of when someone is converted is much less important than that they are converting.
So, in the stories of the first pages of Genesis and Matthew, I am reminded of the converting process that is taking place, just as that continues in my own life.
The connection to the picture today is that this is (clearly) a blurry image, but I love it because its not entirely clear what it is, but there is beauty, there is color, there is vibrancy. It could be Christmas lights. It could be candles. It could be a Lite-Brite. It is actually a stained glass window intentionally out of focus. But this picture evokes a sense of process for me. I know what it ultimately is, but its not there yet. Its not totally clear. But it is a process of converting from blurry to clear.