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 6:16-21
This reading is from the lectionary readings from Sunday July 26. The day just got away with family and reconnecting. Today, this passage is worth another look. We are people who witness a great deal of love and miracles in our lives and as quickly turn to fear and scarcity. Every time we ask God to provide, we are remarkably cared for. Yet, we turn to despair quickly and feel like this time we will surely be abandoned. I know myself that I can be easily afraid for money or my future, when throughout God has provided more than enough and always just at the right time.
The disciples had just witnessed a miracle. Thousands were fed with a little boy's lunch. Somehow very little became very much in the hands of the Messiah. The crowd was pressing, Jesus withdrew and the disciples got on a boat. The boat was a most familiar and comfortable setting for them. When the storm comes up, although they had most likely been through many, they quickly panicked and turned to despair. When Jesus arrived, walking on the water, they were even more afraid. These men, who had witnessed miracles in abundance, healing and the expulsion of spirits, were screaming like small children in fear. We are all capable of becoming scared of the present or our future. The good news of God today is that we are loved, protected and provided for - we are children of a living and active God. We need never be afraid.
Today I ask God to help me walk without fear. Despite all the questions before us today, may we trust that God has a solution for the dilemma already in the works. May we live with the joy and fearlessness of beloved children who trust that everything they need will be provided in time.
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.