June 14, 2009
Water Water Everywhere
More water and another story.
Jesus told the disciples to get into the boat and cross the sea. At first everything was fine but then darkness came, the wind began to howl, the waves hammered against the boat and they were terrified. They were afraid in the darkness of the night adrift on a bottomless sea... and then Jesus came.
Did you catch that? Everything was wrong... and then Jesus came. These few words divide all time and eternity. With these words God draws a line in the sand.…and then Jesus came.
The lepers gathered on the side of the road. They had been cast out by their families, abandoned by their friends. Alone they cried out in their pain... and then Jesus came.
The blind man staggered down the road, groping in his world of darkness, begging for a morsel to sustain his life... and then Jesus came.
The woman taken in adultery cringed on the ground hiding her face. The people in the crowd picked up stones to put her to death... and then Jesus came. The disciples gathered in the upper room hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jews... and then Jesus came.
Do you hear the power? Do you hear the story of life being told? She was strung out on drugs. Her life was going down the tube... and then Jesus came.
The cancer had done its worst, the end was near, fear gripped his heart... and then Jesus came.
The operation failed, her husband died. Her life was crumbling before her eyes... and then Jesus came.
When everything is going wrong, those four words change the direction of life. Those four words change everything.
In our scripture, the disciples were adrift, and then Jesus came. But they have difficulty recognizing Jesus. They don't know the figure who walks along the roaring waves. "It's a ghost!" they exclaim. But then the figure speaks to them. "Take heart; it is I, don't be afraid." Even when Jesus speaks to them, they still aren’t sure that it’s Jesus.
Peter says, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Do you find that strange? "Lord, if it is you, command me to risk my life, to tempt death, to walk out across fathoms of dark, swirling, threatening sea." Lord, if it is you, command me to do the impossible. Lord, if it is you, order me to do what I know I cannot. That is, if it's you.
Don't you find it strange that Peter is uncertain that the voice from the waves is Jesus
until, unless, that voice commands him, "Come on out, the water's fine"?
And that's how we recognize Jesus. Jesus is the one who extravagantly, recklessly,
commands us to leave the safety of the boat, to step into the sea, to test the waters,
and show what our faith is made of. That's Jesus, asking us to trust.
Over the next several months you are going to hear a lot about trust. Day 2 of VBS this week is “Trust in God”. Our Stewardship theme for this year is, “A Time to Trust.” Trust and water do not always go hand in hand. But in a moment we are going to sing-
Wade in the water,
Wade in the water children…
God’s gonna trouble the water.
“God’s gonna trouble the water,” troubling water means “to disturb or to agitate.” This means that God is going to make the water move. The water is a sign of God’s grace. And God is going to disturb it, to agitate it, to get it moving.
We all know from science class that water that sits still stagnates but water that moves, that flows, that bubbles up is the water that we can drink; the water that sustains life.
Water that sits still, changes little, it sits there. But troubled water, water that moves and flows is the water that can carve through soil and rock and make valleys and canyons.
Today Jesus walks on the sea of our greatest fear...our deepest need...His hand out stretched...He beckons. Will you step out of the boat? Will you test the waters of His love?
Where are the waters moving in your life? Where do you sense the bubbling, the flowing,
the agitating power of God?
Wade in the water.
Wade in the water children
Our God meets you there.
Thanks be to God.