I woke up this morning when I accidentally knocked my phone off my bedside table. Then my husband got up to get ready for work and then a thunderstorm blew in. No going back to sleep so I thought I’d just lay there in my comfy bed and check emails on my phone. A few words from my Word of the Day from SSJE caught my eye. [SSJE is Society for Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastery in Massachusetts. Yes, we have nuns and monks in the Episcopal Church. SSJE has an excellent daily meditation email, by the way. www.ssje.org] Anyway, the words that caught my eye from the word of the day, “experience,” were life-long conversion. I have long thought that we are converted over and over as God uses us for His purpose.
I was so taken in by today’s message that I went on to read all of the comments. One of the comments strongly disagreed with a statement in the message: “Jesus comes to us and bids us to follow in ways which are familiar and safe and inviting.” The commenter gave several examples of how following Jesus can lead to death for some – not a safe thing to do. But what happens when you change the structure of the sentence to this: “Jesus comes to us in ways which are safe and familiar and inviting and bids us to follow Him.” I’m going to make the assumption, since the writer of the meditation went on to say that Jesus meets us where we are, that this latter version is what he meant (just a little syntax error).
To test my theory, I looked back on all the invitations I had received over the years. When I have been called to ministry or action, did Jesus come to me in a safe and familiar way and invite me to do so? Yes. Now, my immediate response may have been fear but that was about me. The invitations came to me in familiar and safe places: my car, the pew at church, through a friend, in times of prayer. Accepting that invitation can be scary and certainly the action we take will, in my experience, always require us to leave our comfort zone. When we accept a call to act, we are being converted. We are different than the day or even the moment before.
I think we must be continually invited to leave our comfort zone because outside is where the miracles happen. And miracles do happen every day. When a person gets up on Sunday morning and decides to cross the threshold of a church they have been driving by for years, the Spirit has sent them. In my book, that is a miracle. God has intervened in their lives and you are receiving His messenger – a sacred and miraculous event.
When you look back on your journey, has Jesus come to you and invited you to leave your safe and familiar place? Maybe He comes to us in our safe place because he sees we have retreated once again to our comfort zone and need to be converted once again to do His work. Life-long conversion, indeed.