It seemed like a great idea: Beat the heat of the day by wandering off first thing in the morning…to pray along one of the wooded paths on the grounds at King’s House.
And it turned out…OK.
Save for one small complication.
Actually, several small (nearly invisible, in fact) complications: the spider webs that had been spun across the path in the night.
Every three or four steps, I found myself swat, swat, swatting away — swatting at a sticky thread — not exactly the peaceful rhythm I had anticipated for my morning prayer.
It seemed at first an affliction (and no doubt, in the spiders’ eyes, utter destruction). But as I continued my trek, I began to meditate on the Jesus we’ve been encountering in Scripture this week–courtesy of the scholarship of Fr. James Alison.
He’s invited us to see Jesus in a different way than I’m used to: A “YHWH in street clothes”, as he puts it. A Teacher with extraordinary “imaginative courage.” God, who comes to us in the form of the Rejected One.
As I swatted away, I began to think of all the “Rejected Ones” in my life: the people I might find annoying, or needy, or lonely, or poor. I realized that all too often, I’m inclined to dismiss them — to avoid entanglement in the chaos of another’s life.
It’s not a great instinct on my part. That’s what occurred to me as my prayer time wound down this morning.
I am free to make these choices — to steer clear of such merciful entanglements. Jesus, always, offers me this freedom.
But there’s unexpected blessing to be found when I choose instead to tread gingerly into the web.
It is there — and only there –that I truly encounter the Rejected One, the Lord.
Let us remember that we are in the presence of the Holy and Merciful One.