A reflection on Matthew 14:22-33, the Gospel lesson for August 7, 2011, for proper 14 in the Revised Common Lectionary. A reflection on the Old Testament lesson for the same day is available here.
If ever there is a story in the gospels which sums up the Gospel, this is it.
The story begins like the story of Creation. As the Spirit of God hovered over the waters just before light was called into being—Jesus walks on the troubled waters towards the disciples.
As God became flesh, sent from above to us below—Jesus comes to the disciples.
As the world was in darkness prior to the Incarnation, and as the rulers and prophets of Jerusalem really didn’t know what was going on in Bethlehem—the disciples see Jesus and their first reaction is fear: they don’t know what to make of him.
When Jesus calls us—like Peter—we’re able to do great things, by faith and through Him who strengthens us. AND, as fear always does, it cripples us, and sends us under the waves.
But, even when we’re swamped by fear, Jesus raises us up—always calling us into deeper and deeper faith.
I believe that this story is not only a retelling of an event in the life of Jesus and his disciples, but it’s a miniature telling of the Gospel for a post-Resurrection post-Ascension church. In this lesson St. Matthew the Evangelist told his community and us that Jesus enables his disciples—us—to do great things. Even though we don’t see him readily everyday, he is right here. And even when we see him we oftentimes miss him.
Sometimes we mistake him for something else. Like a ghost.
We’re so quick to live in fear, even though we’ve been told since the foundation of the world not to. There is nothing to be afraid of.
For the One who brought order out of chaos, who formed the heavens and the earth, the dry land and the seas, and who set the stars in the sky above—is with us.
And he bids us to walk on the water—he bids us to walk towards him; the Risen Christ.
Without fear, and full of faith.
How does fear grip you? When have you sunk? How do you get raised again?