Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Walking on the Sea
When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” John 6:16-27
There has been quite a storm over the past two days. Yesterday, which started bright, warm and sunny, gave way to clouds and ever increasing winds. By evening, when we took a short walk on the beach, the waves were jagged and rough and the wind stung us with flying sand. A storm was coming and was blowing even the most solid figures around. My Mom and I walked to get the mail today in a substantial wind and rain squalls. It took our two solid figures a lot longer than normal to transverse the few blocks to the post office. As the social center of our present life, it is important to make the daily visit, so as not to miss out on anything going on. There is rarely anything missed, rarely anything going on, but we always have to be prepared. Walking on land was tough enough for us today.
Jesus is walking out to the boat where his friends are, defying gravity and the nature of dense human beings and pliable, giving water. The group was terrified that night. In daylight the next day, everyone had heard of his command of the sea and wanted that magic and control for themselves. They wanted full bellies and magic entertainment, rich stories of wonder and free meal tickets. Well, you can’t blame them; we all want a life of ease without the threat of wind, water and drowning. We want to be like God. And yet, none of us wants the responsibility of caring day and night for this world. None of us wants to ache with compassion day and night for children who are defiant, callous and broken. None of us wants a real relationship, a real commitment. We want a few laughs and the luxury of a full larder.
Today, I want to be grateful that in all conditions and tides, Jesus seeks us out, Jesus traverses whatever terrain needed to find us in our suffering and on our sinking vessels. The God of love is aching to find us and make us whole. I pray that I can be worthy of the one who walks on water so that we might be welcomed home, welcomed into the arms of our loving Creator.