Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sermon for Year A Proper 14

A day at the beach

I wasn’t feeling so well that morning.
I was tired.
My sons and their children went on ahead into the village
to buy some supplies for our long journey home.
I told them I would just wait for them to return.
So I sat down on the shore to rest for awhile.

I saw that man, the one they call Jesus—
he was down by the water
and his disciples were casting out to sea in their boat.
They seemed to desperately want him to come along with them,
to get into the boat--
but he kept shaking his head, “No,”
and pushing their boat out into the deeper waters.

And then he walked right by me.
He gave me a slight nod-- but didn’t say anything.
He looked tired.
He looked as tired—no, even more tired—than I was.

I saw him walking up the mountain alone.
I almost got up to follow him.
to see exactly where he was going.
He’s just that kind of person—
you just want to go wherever he goes.

But I didn’t go.
I was afraid.
What if my family came back looking for me
and I wasn’t there?


Plus I’ve heard stories that he often goes off by himself—
to be alone with God, to pray.
I understand that.

Alone time is hard to come by.
Life is so busy.
There are so many demands.
Somebody always seems to need something.

Just as I was beginning to enjoy MY alone time,
sitting there on the beach,
I heard faint shouts, carried by the winds coming off the sea.

I could barely see the boat
but I could see the waves—tipping that little boat almost upside down.
It looked like the men in the boat were doing everything they could
to bring that boat back in to the shore.

And then here comes Jesus,
Calmly walking,
coming down the same mountain path he went up,
his eyes fixed on that little boat.
He walks by me and right down to the edge of the water
and then—now, I am telling you what I saw that day—
he walks right out—onto the sea.
That’s right—he walks right onto the sea.
Not INTO the sea—but right on top of the water.

I know, I know,
You think I am just a crazy ol’ woman imagining things.
I was NOT imagining him walking on that water—
I saw it. I think I saw it.
Though, to tell the truth, I couldn’t believe it myself.
I gave myself a hard pinch—
just wanted to be sure I hadn’t dozed off and was dreaming.

He just walked across the top of the water.
The men almost had the boat back in to shore
and then they see Jesus walking on the water
And they stopped.
They were close enough then that I could see some of their faces— slack-jawed, mouths dropped wide open!
They were scared!

Except for that fellow named Peter.
He is something else.
He grew up with one my sons
and since Peter was a little boy
you could hardly contain him.
My boy Zach tells me Peter is wild for Jesus!
I don’t have any problem believing the wild part!

So next thing you know, Peter is jumping out of the boat
and for a minute
it looked like he was walking on water too!
But that didn’t last but a second—if it happened at all—
and it is a good thing Jesus can walk on water
or Peter would have drowned.

Next thing I know,
they’re all in the boat
and suddenly the sea is calm.
Smooth as one of the stones you pick up along the shore
and hold in your hand.

I couldn’t hear what they were saying,
but it looked to me like Jesus was laughing.
Not laughing in a mean way—
but the way we all laugh
when we find ourselves with those we love—
even when they drive us crazy.

I don’t know what happened to all of them next
because my family was there and we wanted to make it
a little ways down the road towards home—
before it got too dark.
We planned to stay the night with some cousins along the way.


I had trouble going to sleep that night.
I kept thinking about all I had seen—or thought I had seen.

I kept thinking about that little boat
being tossed around by those violent waves.

There are days when it feels like I am surrounded by water on every side.
And there is no way to cross over,
No way to find my way back to shore.
I sometimes feel lost at sea.


My life feels like that boat sometimes.
I feel battered by worries and fears.
I worry about my children and my grandchildren.
I worry about my husband who has been so sick this past year.

How will we live
if something happens to him or to my sons?
Life is bare bones enough right now.
Some days it’s hard to have any hope for the future.

Sometimes I feel that at any moment
our little boat could tip over
and dump us all head first into a storm of despair.

Laying awake in the dark
I kept thinking about this man Jesus.
Did I really see him walk on top of the water?
Was that real?
How is that possible?

I know, I know,
A lot of people do not like Jesus.
I’ve heard the talk.
They think he’s a bunch of hooey.
They think he’s dangerous.

But what I know I did see
was his hand reaching out to Peter and pulling him up,
pulling him safely out of the water
and into the boat.

I saw the storm stop.
I saw the sea become calm.

I don’t know what to think about this man named Jesus.
but I know there was something about his presence
that brought peace—even to the waves.

I know there was something about his presence
when he walked by me that day—
that brought peace—even to me.

He didn’t prevent the storm from happening,
but he sure knew how to calm the waters.

I know he was there
when those friends of his needed him.

And somehow…
somehow I think
he might just be there for me, too.
And maybe for you…
And you…and you…and you.
Somehow I think
he might just be there for all of us.

1 comment:

Rev. Shannon Karafanda said...

Welcome to RevGalPalsBlog! I really like your posts!