Walking on Water
When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea.
—Matthew 14: 23b-25
There’s more than enough to capture our attention in the story of the disciples who are catching a rough time of it at sea when Jesus comes walking toward them, a strange-enough appearance that they at first believe him to be a ghost.
Some days we may be drawn to the fantastic, moved by one whose power appears beyond the ordinary. At times we get irritated with Peter, who wants to meet Jesus atop the waves but becomes frightened and sinks (like a rock, you might say). Other days we may feel inclined to leave this story in the Sunday School room, while the grown-ups talk about something serious.
Why should the kids have all the fun without us?
In his sermon Sunday, the Rev. Dr. John Lewis reminded us of that wonderful insight from Thich Nhat Hanh: that the miracle is not to walk on water or thin air, but to walk on the earth in peace.
When we engage with stories of the miraculous in our scripture, let’s not squeeze them too tightly. Mystery lets us imagine something audacious right alongside something ordinary, both with the ability to draw us along in our effort to make our lives a loving response to God. The magnificent can lead us to the quiet, everyday expression of love. Day-to-day actions become sublime in themselves when offered or received with a generous spirit.
Most of us have felt the wind against us in our lives or been unsure the boat we were in would get us in safety to the place we needed to be. What shines as magnificent to me as I read this story today is the action of Jesus to move toward the disciples in the boat amid their fear and peril. He comes in an unexpected manner and, after a word of reassurance, can be recognized as the bringer of peace. Perhaps we too can recognize Jesus when something comes unexpectedly to interrupt our own dilemmas—at second glance if not instantly.
Speaking of the sublime: children and families are invited to Little Hands at the Altar this Sunday at 9 am in the church to explore the rhythms and mystery of the Holy Eucharist. How do ordinary bread and wine become a sacred meal? If you want to mentor students at Crockett or become a pen pal, meet me at coffee hour following the service this Sunday to enroll. And all members are invited to Feed San Antonio…with Birthday Cake! Our outreach kickoff following the service on August 20 will be an opportunity to pack joyful birthday bags for clients of CAM, along with prepping sandwiches for immediate needs. Let us know to count you in for lunch, and see what mysteries unfold.