My last couple of posts dealt with the theme of shipwrecks and lifeboats. Today’s sermon at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church seemed to contradict the idea of jumping from the ship and hopping on the lifeboat. Or did it?
The boat in today’s scripture lesson was in a storm (“…beaten by the waves …the wind was against them,” Matt 14:24b). The boat was filled with the 12 disciples. Jesus was walking on the water to come to them.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[a] from the land,[b] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night[c] he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[d] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
In his sermon today, Rev. Steve Hundley took me on a new journey through that scripture. Instead of focusing on Peter and his desire to also walk on water – and his doubt which caused him to begin to sink, Pastor Steve invited us to take a closer look at the eleven disciples who remained in the boat. I had not done that before. In fact, I am not sure I even realized the boat was big enough for eleven of them to fit in there!
If you have followed my blog for a while, you know I have a habit of listening to the sermon and taking notes in poetry. That way I can share the message with Bob on our way home (since he has trouble hearing and following the sermon during church). Well, I did that note-taking today. Here is what I came away with:
Is this a story about faith?Amen?
Is it about Peter’s doubt?
Or, is it about the eleven who
Stayed in the boat without a shout?
They saw Jesus walking on the sea.
They thought He was a ghost.
Jesus said, Never fear, it is I.”
Peter: “… if it is You…” Not the eleven, though.
Who believed most?
Peter doubted – and he asked to be
Set apart so then he’d believe.
Like the rest of us who ask
For exemption – “Give me special power – relieve!”
Relieve my doubt. Let me ask for help.
Do you have trouble asking for help?
Do you like playing the hero?
Unlike the eleven disciples, do you yelp?
Peter yelped, “Let me walk on water, too.”
Jesus gave him the ability to walk.
But Peter continued to doubt
And so he began to sink. Walk the talk?
No, the church doesn’t need heroes.
It needs disciples like the eleven were.
Stay in the boat – Wait for Jesus to come.
Don’t try to be a hero and cause a stir!
We’ve got a storm of constant change
Going on all about us. We need
To stay in the boat and pay attention
To the eleven. Don’t be a Peter of greed!
The wind and waves stirring up change
In our world can eat a person alive.
It’s easy to jump ship, but Jesus says,
Stay the course. Stay in the boat. Survive!
Take heart! You are not alone.
I am with you in the boat. Sing!
Know that this is your lifeboat.
Wait for the peace and calm that I will bring.”
In his “Prayers of the People”
after the sermon and a hymn titled,
“Eternal Father, Strong to Save,”
Pastor Steve prayed,
“Take us by the hand
And rescue us in our darkest hours.
It is You who rescues us.
We pray You will not leave us alone.
As we strain at the oars,
protect us when we find ourselves adrift.
Strengthen our hands
when we are weak.”
I would add,
“Strengthen our faith
when we are weak.
Keep us on the boat.
It is not a shipwreck,
not if You, Lord,
are our Captain.”
Don’t jump ship!
Life may be a shipwreck,
but with Jesus as your Captain,
your boat is a lifeboat!
You can trust Him completely.
Sing in the lifeboat!
“I will make you fishers of men,
fishers of men,
fishers of men…”
(and of women, too!)
Thanks for visiting JanBeek
this lovely Sunday afternoon.
I hope you had a great day.
Bee well, and Bee safe!
And stay in the boat!!