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Monday, May 20, 2024

Again.

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Again. It’s a word that can bring relief and frustration, excitement and even panic.

The beautiful irony is that the accompanying emotion of the word is determined by who speaks the word, as well as the context in which it is spoken.

A child can speak the word again as a declaration of excitement because of being able to engage in a fun filled activity or the child can speak the word as a question of disappointment because of having to repeat a mundane task. The child is not the only one to do so. As adults, we have the capability to do the same.

Elijah’s servant is quite familiar with this, as he was instructed once times to go back (again) to see if the cloud was in the sky (1 Kings 18:41-46). The one instruction required him to go back seven times (whew). I imagine he got tired of the back-and-forth scenario. Though he trusted the instructor, Elijah, he may have whispered a prayer to God that the cloud would be visible this time around or that he maintain the necessary endurance to keep looking until he was able to give Elijah the required answer. Finally on the seventh go round, he saw the cloud.

He’s not the only one who has history with the word. Simon Peter a fisherman also has an acquaintance with the word again (Luke 5:1-7). In this particular text, the word itself isn’t used, but it is implied. After Jesus has finished preaching, he tells Simon Peter to let down his (fishing) nets into the deep. Peter let’s Jesus know he and his colleagues went back and forth all night, with no return. By the tone of his reply to Jesus, it was obvious there was a bit of hesitance. Be mindful not to judge Simon, as we’ve all been in that place before. You know the place – the mindset of wanting to call it quits because we have had enough. Our minds and bodies are tired. We don’t have any more energy to give to the matter. We’re done. That’s it and that’s all.

Yet, we receive the instruction to try again. We get the divine nudge to give it one more push…one more chance…one more go. This time, we have to go a bit beyond our normal range of capacity. We have to go out into the deep (lengthen our stakes and enlarge our tents). We have to think outside the box. There’s hesitance, but our willingness outweighs the doubt.

One more time. One more push. One more go didn’t just put us in a place of returning to a previous position or condition, as Oxford Dictionary defines the word. Instead we find ourselves in a space of gratitude, not only because the matter turned out for our good, but in a way that is exceeding, abundantly above all we asked, thought or imagined it would be, because we leaned into again.

Contact Rev. Rae Karim at rae.karim@gmail.com.

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