By Jenny Reilly
Sometimes when we take a picture we can reflect back on a moment and see God at work. This picture provided me with just that kind of experience. You see, while this is one of my favorites, there is much more to this peaceful picture than meets the eye.
This is my son, who was two weeks shy of his 8th birthday. We were on a church camping trip when a mother approached me saying, “Did you know Patrick is out in a canoe by himself?” Well, it was only about 8:00, we were packing up our campsite and, well…NO! I was not aware my son was not helping…and out in a canoe…in danger…by himself…! So off to the lake I headed, ready for a major and loud confrontation, with images of him tipping over, drowning and causing chaos bouncing around my mind.
Lucky for him (and me) my camera was around my neck and as I approached the lake this image caused me to pause. I snapped this picture because of the beauty of the moment but have since reflected on it numerous times from a devotional and faith formation perspective. What might God be saying to me through this image? Here is one question that keeps coming to my heart and mind…
“Might I be so willing?”
Might I be so willing…as to get away from what everyone else expects me to be doing?
Might I be so willing… as to do something that might be considered risky, even dangerous?
Might I be so willing…as to try something on my own just to see if it is possible?
Might I be so willing…as to remove myself from others to give myself space to hear God?
Might I be so willing…as to chance getting in trouble so that…?
As those engaged in faith formation, aren’t we challenged to ask the same kind of questions? And shouldn’t we be challenging others to do the same? It occurs to me that if I and others ask this question, we may not always agree, but we may just get more accomplished for the purpose of making disciples. If I might be so willing as to do something others might consider risk-taking, then I may find myself in a place some are unwilling to go while meeting people others were unwilling to see. If I might be so willing to take Sabbath time, then I may hear God’s voice more clearly regarding a difficult decision.
In all of this, we know we are not alone. We do this with a lifeline - the protection and support of God’s love. That is the other part of this picture I love. My son took a great risk, but first, he surrounded himself with protection – his lifejacket. As you are engaged in faith formation in the coming days and weeks, know that you are safe in the arms of a loving God as you ask the question, “Might I be so willing?,” and live into the possibilities God might have in store for you and the ministry in which you serve.
Jenny Reilly is a CEF National Board Member and is the Director of Christian Education for Salem United Methodist Church in Denver, NC.