Dominican Monks

One of my daily devotions challenged me to think about Jesus’ life here on earth. In her book, A Faithful Heart, Daily Guide for Joyful Living Sally Dyck writes about a trip to San Marco. San Marco is the site where the Dominican monks lived. She writes that the Dominican monks were a preaching order. She goes on to write that Fra Angelico was a famous painter. One of the paintings was of frescoes in the monk’s cells depicting in each cell one aspect of Jesus’ life. She writes, “My imagination was captured by the idea that a monk would begin and end each day by visually meditating upon one aspect of the life that they were called to share with others through their preaching.” (Pages 47, 48)
There were several rooms filled with Jesus’ life; His baptism, His birth, His teaching on the Mount, the miracles, his death and His resurrection. She states she didn’t know if each monk stayed with one aspect of Jesus’ life or they rotated. 
She writes, “But to my amazement the famous depiction of the Annunciation – where Gabriel came to Mary and announced that she was being called to bear the Christ into the world – wasn’t in any one room. Instead it was at the top of the stairs to the floor where the monks lived. As people came up the stairs and rounded a corner, there in front of them was the impressive calling of Mary!” (Page 48)
She said it seemed as if at the end of the day the monks needed to be reminded of their calling. They needed that gentle reminder just like Mary God was with them and in their calling. She went on to say she often needed to be reminded of her calling. She has since downloaded the picture that Fra Angelico painted of the Annunciation and has it on her computer as a reminder of her calling. 
She went on to challenge each of us to think about one aspect of Jesus life that would remind us of our calling. If I had to say what circumstance or what event or what period of time in Jesus life would remind me of my calling I am not sure I could have answered before today. I really hadn’t given it much thought. 
Then it hit me. It’s been in my life for a long time. It is the depiction of Peter walking on the water. I once read a book called, “If You Want to Walk on Water You Got to Get Out of the Boat” by John Ortberg. This is also another challenging book. John in his book challenges each of us to be like Peter and get out of our comfort zones and do some water walking. He reminds us it’s only when we take our eyes off of Jesus we begin to sink. Another thought John shared with his readers was the fact that Jesus was not in the boat where it was safe, Jesus was out walking on the water. He poses the question, “Do we want to be safe in the boat without Jesus or out on the water walking with Christ?”
For several years God has encouraged me and called me to get out of my comfort zone. On more than one occasion I have gotten out of the comfortable boat and walked on water. Not because I wanted to, but because Jesus was calling me to. Just like Peter I find myself doing well walking on water until I turn my focus on my situation, I turn my focus on what I am doing and the situation around me and then I begin to slip. 
If I wanted something that would remind me of my calling it would be this scene with Peter and Jesus. 
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost, “they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith, “he said, “Why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:25-33
I taught John’s book in a Bible Study one time before I left Indiana. As a gift of appreciation from the class I was given a beautiful framed picture of Jesus walking on the water; a reminder of my calling. It now hangs in my office here at home. 
God calls each of us at some point to step out and follow Him. He calls us to be His hands, His feet, His eyes, His ears, and His mouth. We are not called to be all of these necessarily, but one of these. I earnestly believe He calls us and we may respond or we may remain in the boat, but He does call out to us. Have you heard Him calling your name? Have you responded?
If you have heard your name and you have responded to His calling what aspect of Jesus life is a reminder of your calling? It may be like Sally the annunciation to Mary. Maybe you read the calling of the Disciples and you can relate. Or maybe it is the story of Paul. There are so many aspects of Jesus life from his birth to his death. There are parables, the miracles, the resurrection and even the calling of Zacchaeus. I think of the story of Lazarus. I am reminded of how he died and Jesus came along and gave him his life back. That could be your story. 
I challenge you like Sally challenged me to think about each aspect of Jesus life. What part of his life represents your calling and your life? What picture would  you choose?
I hope you have felt your calling. I hope you are in the middle of your calling and I hope you are stepping out of your comfort zone and you like Peter are walking on the water, or you are being called like the Disciples or like Mary you are being called to serve Him or like Lazarus you once was dead, but now are alive in Christ.
Whatever it is remember you’re calling and remember who called you to a life of service for Him. Let’s stay focused and not lose sight of who we are, what’s important and let’s stay focused on serving Him. 
Dear Lord, Once again I think you for people who write books and articles that challenge me. Thank you for reminding me you called me to serve you. Help me to remember each night before I go to bed just like the monks that I am called. Remind me it’s not about what I can do but what you can do through me. Help me as I strive to have a servant’s heart. Amen.

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