SUNDAY 9 AUGUST 2020
SUNDAY 9 AUGUST 2020
Call to Worship We come to worship our God, who speaks the words of peace we need in chaotic times. We come to follow Jesus, who encourages to never fear, for he is near. We come to be filled with the Spirit, who anoints us so we can go to serve our world.
Father, we love You, We worship and adore You, Glorify Your name in all the earth. Glorify Your name, glorify Your name, Glorify Your name in all the earth. Jesus, we love You, We worship and adore You, Glorify Your name in all the earth. Glorify Your name, glorify Your name, Glorify Your name in all the earth. Spirit, we love You, We worship and adore You, Glorify Your name in all the earth. Glorify Your name, glorify Your name, Glorify Your name in all the earth.
Reading : Matthew 14:22-33
“As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.
Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.
But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”
The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”
One of the set lectionary readings for this Sunday is the one about Jesus walking on the water.
It takes place after the miracle of the feeding of the 5000.
Jesus has sent the disciples on ahead of him across the lake.
The water is rough, and although several of the apostles spent most of their life in a boat, they’re still worried. But when they see what looks like a ghost walking towards them on through the choppy waves, they get really scared.
Then the figure speaks and they recognize a familiar voice–it is the Lord!
What happens next reminds me of the saying, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”
Peter cries out, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you across the water.”
The Lord takes him up on it. “Come!” he says.
So Peter gives it a try. The first few steps go great and Peter’s ecstatic.
But a funny thing–when the Lord told him to come, he neglected to calm the wind and the waves.
And so, as Peter walks away from the security of the boat and the company of his friends he finds himself buffeted by strong gusts and swirling waves.
Fear takes hold of him and he gets a sinking feeling.
Remembering that Jesus is not too far off, he has the sense to cry out “Lord save me!”
The Lord fishes him out and then gently rebukes him. Jesus doesn’t say that Peter has no faith. After all, he had more faith than the other eleven—at least he stepped out of the boat. But Jesus’ statement is telling: “how little faith you have! Why did you falter?”
I think we love this story because we can so easily relate to it. In various moments of pious enthusiasm, we surrender our lives, our will, and our future to God.
“Just tell me Lord, what you want me to do and I’ll obey.”
And then He surprises us a bit by taking us up on our offer. Undaunted, we respond to the call and sometimes we find ourselves getting that sinking feeling.
I remember not long into ministry when I received an invitation to lead the Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament.
I was really excited at the prospect, and together with a busload of folks from the Clackmannanshire United Prayer Team, set off for Edinburgh.
When we got to the Parliament building, I had to leave my friends behind and head off to be briefed on what would be happening.
That’s when the butterflies began to swirl round my tummy.............and I remember thinking that what had seemed a wonderful idea at the time of being asked to come and speak, now seemed like the most foolish thing I had ever done.
The presiding officer George Reid came to see me, and wished me well and then I set off on the walk towards the chamber where members of the parliament would be waiting to listen to me.
As I waited outside the door I got that “sinking” feeling. The deputy presiding officer joined me and seeing my face asked if I was alright, I said “No” he quietly said, “take courage, the Lord is with you and I will be by your side the whole time too"
And, he was.
My knees were still knocking all the way through my talk, but I did it, and for a short time had the wonderful experience of walking on water as Jesus having called me into uncharted waters was present to steady me.
Ups and downs, sinking and standing, courage and fear, calm seas and choppy waters, doubts and fears...................................all part of our human experience..................
And through it all the One who calls us to come to him is saying “courage it’s me, don’t be afraid”
These are days we need so much to listen for the voice of Jesus saying, “courage it’s me, don’t be afraid”
I wonder if there are situations you are heading into at this time that you are both excited and afraid of?
Reopening of church buildings?
Going back to work after a time of furlough?
I think especially this week of those returning into school life after lockdown.
Pupils, teaching and learning support staff, cleaners, school meals servers, janitors, office staff, excited to be going back, yet apprehensive too.
As ever we must keep praying and trusting our Lord for the way forward.
He alone knows the beginning and the end, he is Alpha and Omega.
His hand is strong to save.
Do Not Be Afraid, For I Have Redeemed You. I Have Called You By Your Name; You Are Mine.
When You Walk Through The Waters I’ll Be With You, You Will Never Sink Beneath The Waves.
God bless you this coming week.