Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”- John 14: 8
When I read through the gospel reading for Sunday verse 8 jumped out at me immediately. We use this reading quite often for a memorial service but I don’t know that I’ve ever paid much attention to this particular verse before. Today when I read it I almost responded out loud thinking “Philip is lying!” To even suggest that we might be satisfied if Jesus would just show us the Lord seems absurd, it’s just like a few weeks ago when Thomas said, I need to see him, to see the scars to know that he is real. I think it strikes me more deeply during this time, because I know that even though I may not see the Father, I know that he is with us in the dawning of each new day and close of the night, in the trees and the flowers that are coming back to life, in the hope that I feel deep within knowing that we are promised new life through the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus was with his disciples that day and he told them that he was the way, the truth, and the life. They had to decide if they would trust in who Jesus was and claimed to be, they had to decide if they would do the works that he did, they had to decide that Jesus was for them and the Father was with and for all of them. I think that Jesus did a pretty good job of giving them assurances (maybe after a little bit of chiding…) for in the final verse he tells them, “If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.” And on the cross and then by the sight of the empty tomb, he proved it. I hope they were satisfied.
Now that the weather seems to really be turning into Spring it seemed like a good time to share exercise as a prayer practice. Exercise might seem pretty pedestrian to some in terms of prayer and ideal to others. It can be a time to ourselves, where we get to choose what to focus on, what to think about, perhaps to rewire our minds a little bit and to take a break from all the things that we have to think about or do. Some exercise admittedly requires full attention on what you’re doing, but the aftereffects of having exercised can provide a good head space and sense of clarity for prayer. Other exercise offers time for thought and prayer while you are in the midst of it.
When using the time of exercising to also offer prayer it can take many forms. It might be pausing before you begin and being conscious of inviting God into that space with you. Perhaps if you’re at the gym or out pounding the pavement it’s the meditation that comes with regulating your breathing or listening to your steps. However you choose to listen to God in this time it’s important to be intentional in your awareness and invitation to God in that time.
If you find it difficult to be intentional in prayer and reflection while you exercise it could be a better option to engage following your exercise. You might find that you have more clarity or calm afterwards and it is a good moment to capture those thoughts on paper or in conversation with God. Take a moment to notice where your thoughts and your body are directing you; maybe into contemplation of a relationship, a specific part of your work or family life, new ideas for things that you want to accomplish or goals you want to set. This might not be a time for answers, but could be a part of the path to get you there. Vision can come in these moments of clarity and exercise is often a great way to get you there!