Friday, March 05, 2010

In The Zone

Friday, March 5, 2010 -- Week of 2 Lent, Year Two

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 953)
Psalms 95*, & 69:1-23(24-30)31-38 (morning)       73 (evening)
Genesis 43:1-15
1 Corinthians 7:1-9 
Mark 4:35-41                *for the Invitatory

Note:  Beginning next week I'll be writing from the Holy Land. 

Athletes talk about being "in the zone."  I remember a period of about three weeks one summer when I got into the zone playing tennis.  I could see the ball as it approached my competitor, I seemed to know where he would hit it, and I would begin to lean that direction.  When the ball left his r
acket it seemed to do so in slower motion.  I saw it so clearly -- the spin, the direction, the speed.  I moved almost without effort to where I would meet the ball.  Though I might be running, it had a floating quality, it seemed.  As the ball got close to me it seemed to slow down.  I had plen
ty of time to think how and where I might want to hit it.  Sometimes I didn't think, I just let my body hit the ball.  I could hit it as hard as I wanted.  The ball would skim right over the net and go right where I had aimed, or not aimed -- just let it go.  I could place the ball near lines. 
And it was all so effortless.  There was a lightness and bounce to everything, and a rush of delight with each shot.  I made very few unforced errors, and those were usually when I got to "thinking about it" and tried to force something instead of just going with the ball.  My tennis partner on
the other side of the net was struggling, sweating, working his hardest and having little to show for it, and I was floating joyfully.  I felt a little sheepish, I was playing so well so easily, and he was pretty miserable.

As I read the gospel lesson today, it struck me that Jesus was in the zone, asleep in the boat as the windstorm threatens to capsize them.  The disciples awaken him, and he speaks peace to the storm.  And there was calm. 

That peaceful, centered Jesus-presence is always within us.  There is the core part of us that is always "in the zone," one with God and at peace.  When I am experiencing chaos, when I feel threatened or anxious, when everything seems to be flying apart, there is within me that centered place of
 divine presence.  The trick is, will I go there?  Will I look at Jesus -- the peace, love and compassion -- or will I look at the chaos and threat?  Or, as I look at the chaos and threat, will I look at it in the consciousness of being one with Christ?  When I do that, things seem to slow down.
  They don't seem so threatening.  I am able to react, to respond more consciously, less anxiously.  I can just go with it.  Letting the circumstances be, and responding naturally, in the moment.  Sometimes things just happen -- they straighten out before my eyes.  My fears don't materialize; th
ey evaporate.  Or sometimes the thing I dreaded actually happens, and it's not so bad.  Or if it is truly bad, there is grace that comes forth from it.

In the middle of all of our storms, when we are threatened with capsizing and drowning, there is a pure presence of peace.  Christ is with us.  Christ is in us.  Sometimes all it takes is for us to awaken to that presence.


Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location --

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

Visit our web site at

Our Rule of Life
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Nathan Hurd said...

This was very helpful it is kinda funny in a non humorous way when the most traumatic things happen in my life an inner calm comes over me, a presents that seems to be missing even in simple everyday stresses. My mind is clear, it is calm and I seem to know just the right things to say and do. If I think about it, if I try to analyze my thoughts, actions and the situation it goes astray. But when I " let go and let God" as the saying goes God truly does take care of it all in the middle of the storm.
I say this after a very real experience of my Grandpa passing last night. Dealing with everyone's sudden emotional storms and all the thing associated with this sort of loss, I feel a deep since of calm that I rarely experiences in day to day life.
God will also put all the right things in your life at just the right time. I know their was a reason that community of hope class was calling to me for some unknown reason. I think it has helped and will continue to help.
If only I could trust and lean on God in the every day " Here and Now" as Henri Nouwen puts it, through its small little storms o me of little faith.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you both for sharing. To be in the eye of the hurricane relates to the zone as well. The storm is all around me and there isn’t much I can physically do to stop the storm but I can try and find the center or eye of the storm where it is calm.

Sean Trumbo

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous janetlgraige said...

Ahhhh quiet mind.

Quiet meaning absent from busyness - but very alive, awake, vivid, very present to all levels of being, the beauty, the suffering. Our actions appear effortless and flow freely when we move or speak from here.



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