|Postcard from NYC, '93, jfd+|
We have a long Gospel reading with lots happening within it today. Jesus departs from his disciples to go pray, they are in a boat. He finishes praying and it is evening, but the boat has been blown away from the shoreline, where they spend the night. Jesus comes to them in the morning "walking on the sea," which frightens all of them but Peter, who first has faith enough to try the feat for himself, and then, in the midst of the effort loses heart and says to Jesus, "Lord, save me!" And of course, Jesus does, castigating him and the others for their lack of faith. They arrive on the other side, and the people there bring out all their ill, injured and those needing healing: and all were healed.
Quite a lot going on today. When in our lives have we started something, jumped into something based on faith that we could do it, only to find our courage wane in the midst of the effort? What did we do when we found ourselves in this predicament? For what is this story of Jesus and Peter and the disciples a metaphor?
Believe, or not, this account of Jesus walking on the water, inspiring Peter to acts of bravery. Rationalize the account away, as we may...there are other ways to consider this story, not cast it aside, and, by not throwing it aside, perhaps chew on some nuggets of truth. As with so many Gospel accounts, we are asked to consider the questions, In what do we have faith? In what do we trust?
Trust and faith are hard-fought-for in many of our experiences. We can be so disappointed by putting our trust and faith in people and groups that do not live up to our expectations. Jesus' interaction with Peter is different than those times in our lives. Jesus is inviting us to believe in him. To have faith in God's work in the world. To be open to new and unimaginable experiences. These new and unimagined experiences can take us away from the expectations we set for ourselves and others, and we thereby live into the unknown that is our work in creating the kingdom around us.
From what do we need to be saved? And do we have the courage and strength to put our hand out asking for God's help? This courageous action will take us in a completely different direction than any of our well-made-plans were taking us. Salvation comes in ways we cannot expect or see. This Gospel is asking us if we are ready for the unexpected.
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.