Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. 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. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33
What is you favorite part of scripture? Do you have one? I would tell you it is in Luke, Jesus is asked if he is the one and he has a simple response, he lists the care of the people, the blind see, the prisoner visited, the lonely the people on the margins are seen and cared for, it is a list of healing, of compassion and of change brought in to the world. It is a simple story that I heard Barbara Brown Taylor reflect on and call a ministry of drops of Mercy.
I know that I am not one for picking a story that is a supernatural one, it seems to me that it is more about a big showy moment that is captured in Mark, and John as well as Matthew gospel. And if I had a second favorite story it would be this one. I love the drama that comes after some quiet, I love Peter in this part, I love the quiet lesson placed in the midst of this flashy story and I love a poem it inspired.
So the story continues we have had the feeding of the 20,000 and now Jesus has sent the disciples away, he has sent the gathered people home and he has wandered off to pray by himself.
The image of Jesus off alone praying crops up in the narratives of his life and as I have gotten older I have craved this kind of example that he sets, this connection to quiet, and to his ability to anchor the work that he is doing in the world. I have spent more time in quiet meditation since March than I have since I was in seminary. I have gotten quiet a lot. I am trying to find a way to anchor this experience of grief and sadness as we continue to try and stay home and keep each other safe. Cases are over five million in this country and over 160,000 people have died.
It is troubling times and I have spent time in prayer over much of it. Last Thursday, the 6th it was the feast of the Transfiguration. Part of the Collect (opening prayer) had this phrase, Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world.
Now that is what I am talking about, being delivered from the disquietude. I wonder if that is what Jesus was praying for, to be delivered from the disquietude.
It made me wonder what I have been praying for since March and for myself and for some of you all—for the deliverance of the disquietude of:
Caring about what others think
Loss of control
All the things that I am praying for deliverance from on the personal level and then there is:
Unrest in the street
The cost of all of this on the poor
SO like me, Jesus prays, and like many of us, it is a call to action. Jesus gets up and goes to find his followers and heads out on the water. (though right now if you can stay home…..stay home)
They see him coming and are afraid, and like prayer that naming of your concerns and listening for God, Peter and Jesus have a similar back and forth.
Peter calls out to Jesus and Jesus says, “Come.”
So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out,
“Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, And I love how the Message puts it,
FAINT HEART, ( “You of little faith,) why did you doubt?”
In prayer we anchor ourselves, we attempt to change our heart and our mind, and I love, that Peter talks to Christ and steps out. How are we being called out, what are we asking for in times such as these?
Do we see Peter fail or are we willing to see his sinking as not failure, instead, we see it as a risk we take when we step out of the boat?
David Whyte, The True Love.
after all the struggle
and all the years,
you don’t want to any more,
you’ve simply had enough
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness,
however fluid and however
dangerous, to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.