How to Really See Your Brother (or Sister)

When I come to a complicated passage of Scripture which seems to challenge my beliefs about a compassionate, just and merciful God, I have learned to pause and turn to wonder. I prayerfully enter the swirl of the story and ask God for help to see the overarching story line. I look for life. Where do I see God's work of renewal in the story? I choose life. As I prayed with this passage, these are the words which came as I wrote in my journal. I share them that they might encourage you to journal with Scripture for yourself. These words are not meant to be a complete exegesis on the text.

Come, let us go see him. Come, we go together. I [Jesus] will truly teach you how to see your brother - how to see to the shalom of your brother. Watch me. Watch my response. Watch my grief. Watch what I will do. You are right. This will feel like going to the death with me. You are about to learn to die: to your own way of seeing what is really happening; to your fear of persecution because of being with me. You will come to know faith in a whole new way. Come, we go together. I'll hold your hand. I'll have your back.

Jesus, I want to be continually looking to the shalom of my brothers and sisters. Give me your heart for my brothers and sisters, in each person I meet. Help me not hurry past them. Help me to see the person in my every interaction. Show me what to pray, when to speak or act, and how to do it.

John 11:11-16 (NLT)
Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”
12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”
16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which “stood out” for you as you listened to or slowly read the text? Quietly reflect on it in your prayer with Jesus. Journal your conversation.

Was there any particular emotion which emerged as you listened to the scripture? Talk it over with Jesus in your prayer.

Using all of your senses, place yourself in the story. Who are you and what are you witnessing or experiencing? Write out the story in your own words, allowing the story and conversation to be your prayer.

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.

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Quiet...shhh....

Awaken from deep rest: Jesus brings quiet stillness to the storm around him. How is it that he could be undisturbed by the raging storm? He invites us to live in that place of shalom with him. Yet how do we arrive there? What habits and rhythms help us be still and quiet with God? Spiritual disciplines such as prayer, silence, solitude, Sabbath and practicing living in the presence of God over time can be deeply transformative. A spiritual companion or director may aid us in growing in these practices. Often it is our fears which keep us running from the quiet and still place in our heart. We are afraid of what we might feel or hear. Like a tender, safe parent, God longs to draw us close and heal our fears so that we can dwell with God in a place of shalom - peaceful, contented, whole and well - both inwardly and outwardly.

Can you hear your Abba, gently drawing you close and whispering tender, comforting words into your soul? shhh...shhh...shhh...lean in to listen...

Mark 4:35-41 NIV
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase, or image which shimmered for you as you listened to the passage? Have a conversation with Jesus about what stirred in you.
Place yourself in the story. How is it intersecting with your life right now?
What helps you arrive at or return to an inward, quiet, still place with Jesus?