Abbot Mena Walks with Jesus

A print of this 8th century Coptic icon hangs on the wall beside my desk…

A print of this 8th century Coptic icon hangs on the wall beside my desk to the left of my computer screen. Even when I’m focused on electronic words and images, the two companions are constantly in my peripheral vision.

“Do not be afraid for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

Jesus’s right hand rests on Mena’s shoulder. Jesus looks quiet and untroubled, the word he has spoken in his hand. He looks like he’s right where he wants to be. Mena seems wide-eyed: “Holy Moly, I’m walking with Jesus. He’s right there – me ‘n him.”

When Peter preached at Pentecost (Acts 2), his sermon text was Psalm 16, a line from which has long captured my imagination: “I set the LORD always before me.” More than reciting the answer to some theological test — Yes, God is everywhere — the Psalmist and Peter invite us consciously to place Jesus before us that we may contemplate who he is and how much he loves us. The invitation is to intentional meditation and contemplation a la Psalm 1.

I will not be shaken, for you are right beside me… You show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Psalm 16:8,11

The ancient art was painted on a wooden panel. The board has cracked over the years, a fitting reminder that the journey is as long as Jesus is faithful.

I will never leave you or forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5

Do I see my Saviour in my presence, the persistent Incarnation of Emmanuel? In my fear, doubt, and uncertainty, Ben Harper & the Blind Boys of Alabama sing the invitation of our ever-present companion, Take My Hand.