|Not my photo; it was sent in an email to me. But it's pretty cool, don't you think?|
In prayer over these past months, I repeatedly have experienced two “images” – the first, of Christ wanting to plant a seed that required the church’s permission, or at least our acceptance. I perceived that whatever came from the seed would be strong and robust.
I spent a lot of time considering, sometimes with my spiritual director, what the seed might represent. I didn’t feel particular pressure about the planting of this seed – I felt that God wanted me to know that Christ has plenty of seeds and would plant it elsewhere if necessary. The seed was an invitation to both the church and to me: We were invited, encouraged even, to help plant this seed.
The second “image” was the sense that we (the church and I) were together on a boat. My hands were on the wheel, but Christ stood behind me with his hands on top of mine. I felt that things would work out as long as I didn’t abandon ship or try to wrest the steering wheel from the hands of Jesus.
The boat image in prayer is a familiar one to me. I often tell Bible study participants that the church is like a boat, and our sanctuaries often resemble an upside-down boat. I enjoy studying the New Testament stories that take place in boats. I am fond of saying: “As long as Jesus is in the boat with us, what have we to fear?” I’m fond of saying it, but I certainly have not conquered my own fear.
There also was the problematic “voice” I twice heard in my heart – “Go to St. Thomas More first.” I wrote it down in my journal and underlined it. The second time I also heard, “I have that priest well in hand.” That seemed an odd thing to “hear,” or whatever you want to call it. St. Thomas More is a huge Catholic church and school located next door to Aldersgate. My education in a Catholic high school made me permanently intimidated by nuns and especially priests. I assumed this prayer experience was about selling Aldersgate’s property, but I did not intend to have any personal contact with St. Thomas More.
Of course, that is exactly what happened…. later.