“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!” (Matthew 7:24-27, NRSV)
One day shortly after I arrived in Pacific Grove I walked down from the church to the shore and sat way out on one of the rocky outcroppings. The waves were high, so I could practically feel them pounding on the rocks. I could feel the spray on my skin and taste it in the air. It was so loud, could not hear to talk on the phone, which was a good thing because it made me just sit and watch and listen. It was holy. I felt completely grounded and strangely powerful.
We are living in an extraordinary, and extraordinarily stressful, time. The rain is falling, the floods are coming, and the wind is blowing and beating on us. The sand seems to shift beneath us daily. How can we cling to the rock – more than cling to it, how can we build our house on it? How can we feel in our souls the same kind of powerful grounding we feel in our bodies when we are standing on solid rock?
Jesus tells us it is by hearing Jesus’ words, and acting on them. Building our house on the Word of God requires our daily attention, just like building a real house. And as we build it, it provides more and more shelter from the storms of life. My personal daily discipline includes a couple of meditations/thought-provoking writings I receive via email each morning. Spending time with God at the start of my day shapes how I receive the day’s news and how I act and react during the course of the day. It grounds me on rock, so that as the sand shifts around me I am not swept away.
If you do not have a daily spiritual practice, I invite you to try one this month, and see what difference it makes in your days and weeks. It can be as simple as sitting with God for 3 minutes in the morning or evening. It can be reading a chapter of scripture or praying a psalm and listening for God. Matthew’s Gospel has 28 chapters – a chapter a day and you will have read the entire thing in less than a month. If you want help getting started, watch for an upcoming 6-week series where we will explore spiritual practices and share our experiences.