Sunday, July 29, 2012

Do not be Afraid

Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?" He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "Six months' wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?" Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world."

When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

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 terrified. But he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going. John 6:1-21

I think traveling can be invigorating, seeing new places and meeting new people. It can also be challenging and scary for many. We have to leave our comfortable surroundings and our familiar things and be vulnerable to the whims of weather, tides and air traffic control. Storms come up and we have no where to hunker down. And in new places we can be unable to find food and rest, when we are so far from our homes. There are many things that can frighten us when we leave our comfort zones.

Jesus had compassion on the crowd, so far from home and unprepared for the simple necessities of life. The small boy's lunch becomes a feast, despite the anxiety and fear of the disciples. And out on the water, the disciples are afraid again and Jesus gives them another experience of faith and trust despite our fears. We are invited by God today to take trusting seriously, despite the turns in the road and the waves on the sea. God's activity is always about our care and protection, finding us food in the wilderness and safety as we face the swells of life.

Today, I ask God to deepen my trust and give me faith to pray in every instance. Instaed of being defeated by the storms and the swells, may I use these moments as opportunities to pray and expect miracles. May we all trust God enough to entrust our every need to the Creator who loves us perfectly and completely.

The Collect

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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