Tuesday, August 5, 2014

“Trust starts with truth and ends with truth.”

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody."
― Thomas Paine an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary

Gospel Text: (MT 14:22-36)
Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”So, Peter tests out the invitation. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” We often test Jesus that way. Instead of saying, "Okay, Lord, I won't be afraid," we say, in one way or another, "Prove it to me." So, Jesus continues the invitation: he says, “Come.”

Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking on the water, toward Jesus. It is always amazing what can happen when we get out of “our boat”, being tossed by a storm, and move toward Jesus. Walking on water? Yes, we are being assured, we can get to Jesus, when we hear him invites us - no matter what.

But, now the story gets very realistic. Here's where the problem becomes familiar to us. Peter becomes focused on the storm. When he saw "how strong the wind was he became frightened;" and he took his eyes off of Jesus and he sank. Isn't that just what we tend to do in our storms? We notice the wind and the waves and we take our eyes off of Jesus, and we sink. For a whole variety of reasons, we let ourselves be on our own and just can't make it to Jesus, while we take our eyes off of him and become full of fear.

Loving generously, sacrificing ourselves for others, having bold courage to resist evil, being prophetic in support of those in need, healing a difficult relationship, sometimes just getting through the routine of a challenging day, all become too much for us and we sink.

Can it really be that easy to keep our eyes on Jesus? It can be. It is. Can it really make a difference? It can. All we need to do is to try it. And, when we get scared, we need to remember not to take our eyes off of Jesus. It takes practice, but there are plenty of little storms to practice on. When we experience his presence, we will experience the power he can give us to “walk on water” toward him. It takes a certain degree of humility to do that. Many of us would rather try to work it out on our own than admit that we have reached our limits.

Are you getting ready to step out? Know that the One who called you out of the boat will uphold your every step.

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