Wisdom we need now?

“Come, walk on the water with me…I’m in the mood for impossible things.”

And Peter came, walking on the water. Walking until like the cartoon coyote (among others), he realized it wasn’t possible and he started to fall, to sink, to need saving, and immediately Jesus responded with aid--and inquiry: ‘why did you doubt?’

What shapes our ideas and imaginations regarding what we should aim for and what we should just give up on? How does a story, a Gospel, about 5,000 fed or water walked over impact you?

Megan McKenna, as I’ve mentioned before, is a theologian and story collector/teller. She always begins her sharing of a story with a reminder that “all stories are true and some actually happened. And now…this story is going to happen to you.”

Recently I rediscovered an old (from 2008) set of aids for understanding the scripture readings for each weekend (aka ‘homily helps’) that features a Story for Today among the varied resources it offers.

I’ve enjoyed the stories and the insights or openings to imagination that they provide. These stories, by the way, are presented as among those that actually did happen, true stories of real life experiences.

And now this story is about to happen to you—it made me think, wonder, imagine, and reconsider…

Feed Them Yourselves

“As Julio Diaz walked toward deserted subway stairs, a teenage boy approached him, pulling a knife. Julio, a social worker, handed over his wallet immediately but as the teen walked away, Julio called him back saying, “If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”

“The confused teen asked Julio why he was giving away his coat. Julio replied that if the kid was willing to risk “freedom for a few dollars” then he figured the teen must need the money.

“Julio had been heading to a favorite diner and invited the teen to join him. When they reached the diner, the manager, waiters and even the dishwasher greeted them because of Julio’s regular attendance.

“The teen figured Julio must be the owner and couldn’t comprehend how he’d even been nice to the dishwasher.

“Diaz replied, “Haven’t you been taught you should be nice to everybody?” “Yes,” the teen replied, “but I didn’t think people actually behaved that way.”

“The two shared a meal but when the check came, Julio had to ask for money saying, “If you give me my wallet back, I’ll gladly treat you.” “Without hesitation, the wallet was returned. Julio then gave $20 to the teen, asking for the knife in return.

“Recording his story on National Public Radio’s StoryCorps, Julio concluded, “I figure…if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It’s as simple as it gets in this complicated world.”

“Isaiah says that those who have no money are to “come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost.” The teenager could do so because for Julio not even “peril or the sword” could separate him from the love of Christ.

“Jesus told the disciples there was no need for the crowds to go away hungry. “Give them some food yourselves.” Miraculous things can happen when we do.” (by Dr. Constance M. Popp)

So, Jesus time and again tells us not to be afraid, not to be afraid to share, to be generous, to forgive, to trust the gift of God’s Wisdom, to live in hope and act in pursuit of true peace, justice for all, and a much more equitable sharing of the abundant blessings bestowed upon us in creation and entrusted to our management as stewards of it all and builders of that kin*dom which God has planned, promised and provided for.

Perhaps prayer and the Holy Spirit help us to “imagine that!” And then to live it.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." (Colossians 3:16)