To whom can we go?


Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’ John 6:66-69

During this time of physical isolation, we have become connected in ways many could not have imagined three months ago. Virtually, we have seen creative and innovative ways to maintain our deep desire for relationship. At the same time, this present virtual reality has allowed for the expression of our longings, desires, and opinions, especially when it comes to the church. Through social media, numerous exchanges speak of the need to “change the church, be innovative and not waste this opportunity.” Yes, the church must change. At the same time, many argue that “we must maintain the tradition of the church, and not sacrifice tradition simply for innovation.” Yes, we must maintain our heritage as faith must have both revelation and tradition. I pray these discussions continue and are deep, prayerful, and thoughtful as the dialogue is necessary.

However, in all the discussions, something seems to be missing. I wonder how many of us have reflected on the necessity of internal transformation as opposed to the demand that all other things change - structures, institutions, people. The personal aspect of “how I need to change” (aside from the conversations regarding overeating and exercise). We must endeavor to seek a deeper connection to God. I suspect we all desire a rebirth of the church that comes alive through liturgy, music, and growth. However, if we are not prepared to change internally, how can we expect the church to change. We will approach the same issues in the same way with the expectation that everyone and everything should change. The old solution to every problem is a hammer. We need to deepen our faith and allow God’s will to be revealed. This is an opportunity to go deeper; with God and one another.

Let’s not squander this opportunity to be born again. Lord, to whom can we go?

We have the chance to allow God to work through us as empty vessels, to be reshaped and renewed. I doubt any of us genuinely want things as they always were. To allow God to work in us, let God’s will be fully revealed. We can seek how God is awakened, and we can realize our long-forgotten prayers. Perhaps during this time, we can foretaste the totality of life and not a small section of our own personal beliefs. Our deepening relationship with Christ allows us to respond with forgiveness, understanding, and love rather than to simply react or resist with emotion. Instead of worrying about keeping things out, we allow the beauty of the Holy One into every pore of our being.

Lord knows that I have too many faults to discuss or attempt to resolve at one time, but I must try because I truly love this church. Thus, I have been reflecting not only on those inadequacies and the need to transform but my hopes, prayers, and dreams for the time after isolation. I found I need to sit in silence with greater frequency. I need to step away from the computer and pray before responding. I need to trust in God and God’s plan. I need to pray. In our noonday prayer community, we are making space for Jesus 10 times a day for 5 minutes at a time. Perhaps I am attempting to hide inside God and allow the light of the Holy One to filter through into my innermost being. To do my best to hold what is sacred both tightly and gently without leaving my fingerprints all over it. To find a new life, divine tranquility, a holy presence. Perhaps allow God’s will for me to take over the plans I have made for myself.  I also find it comforting to know that God has far more belief in me than I have in myself. 

In times such as these, at the door of the old and the new, I often hear my grandmother’s voice. She was the person of the most profound faith I have known. When she was not praying, she was helping. She would always greet each day, each problem, or each celebration with the words: “God willing and with God’s blessing.” Yes, we have work to do, the need to change the church and strengthen our traditions and faith. How are we preparing ourselves for the work to come? “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

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