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Sunday, March 3, 2013
Today’s Reading | John 6:16–21
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. (NRSV)
We all know what it means when we say something like, “Oh, she can walk on water!” It means the person to whom we are referring can do anything—or thinks she or he can do anything. Sometimes when we use the phrase, there’s a tone betraying a little jealousy or derision or sarcasm. People who seem to be able to do anything tend to make us uncomfortable and wary. We distance ourselves from them in our own ways.
The disciples have rowed out about three or four miles in the dark. The seas become rough. The wind kicks it up another notch. And then they see Jesus walking toward them on the water. They are terrified. I assume they are terrified in the storm, but perhaps they are also terrified at the sight of Jesus walking on the water. Maybe they are even terrified for Jesus—for his safety. “They saw him walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified.” He assures them and says, “It is I, do not be afraid.” Following that statement, there is a detail I’ve never noticed before. “Then they wanted to take him into the boat.”
So maybe the questions for us are: Do we want to take Jesus into the boat with us? On both smooth seas and rough? Are we ever “terrified” for Jesus’ safety? Do we find ways to have compassion or care for that person who appears to be so confident and able to do everything?
Dear Jesus, make me want to take you into the boat with me. Don’t allow me to keep you at a distance. And remind me that even the most confident of people have deep need—for human kindness and for you. Amen.
Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care
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