Saturday, January 30, 2016

Terror and Awe

When evening came, Jesus' 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. The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some 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 neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for 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, "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal." John 6:16-27 
I have spent a good deal of my life by the ocean. One of the great pleasures in light is swimming at night and being surrounded by luminescence, small plankton that glow when touched. Each stroke and kick are illuminated and it makes for a dream like, mysterious wonderland in the water. Other times, the ocean can be dark and violent, the surf pounding and dashing swimmers on the sands. In the dark, it can be hard to swim, let alone walk.
The familiar story of Jesus walking on the water, reminds us of the terror filled disciples and their fragile humanity. They are on dangerous seas, in the deep darkness and everything seems frightening and life threatening. Even Jesus for a moment. Our faith often brings us fragile human beings to places of great terror and awe. Even when our lives are threatened, we are reminded that Jesus walks with us and brings us to the shore. Even when we crumble and fall with the waves of our lives, God goes before us and finds us safe harbor.
Today I ask God to help me trust in the promise of safe harbor. May we live, like the disciples, honest about our failings and putting our whole trust in the Incarnate One who walks with us and before us, preparing safe landing and love beyond measure.

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