Saturday, February 16, 2013

Under the Tree

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:43-51

When I was a kid, I loved to lie in the grass and watch the clouds go by. Every cloud shape would tell a story. When it was too hot to do that, I like to lie down under a tree and watch the light dance through the branches and the leaves. I listened to the stories they told, a singing with the soft breeze and looked beyond to the sky and wondered about those stories. If I couldn't be in water in the heat of the summer then I was in the shade of a smart tree that had much to share. And from there I could observe the rest of the world.

Jesus continued to call his disciples and has an interesting encounter with Nathanael. Nathanael is an observer, a watcher, one who takes everything with a grain of salt. He was sitting in the shade of a fig tree, enjoying his own musings when Jesus saw him. He questioned everything and was not sold when his friend tried to convince him of the importance of Jesus. He had to see and hear for himself. Some of us are immediately won and others, like Nathanael, need to see and be known. God wants us all, even those of us who question everything, ponder and waver, struggle with doubt and confusion. God wants us enough to find us before we are willing to be found.

Today as I set sail on another journey, I ask God to help me be open in body, mind and spirit. May we live today with the honesty of Nathanael and the enthusiasm of Philip. May we be willing to voice our doubts and confusions, trusting that God will clear a path for us. And may we remember that God desires all of us, and is willing to seek us out at all times, even when we are not sure we want to be found, even when we are hiding or ashamed. God's love is not bound by our doubts and God is constant and sure even when we are not.

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