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Monday, June 27, 2016
Today’s Reading | Matthew 14:22–36
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. After the people of that place recognized him, they sent word throughout the region and brought all who were sick to him, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
I took a lot of Spanish when I was a kid. (Stay with me, this pays off later.) Born in South Texas, grew up in California, so it was always in the air. Took it in middle school and high school. I could communicate, not fluently, but fairly well. Then I took French in college, played around with Italian some, a little Icelandic, took Polish for a job . . . and by and by my Spanish was pushed to a particularly dusty corner of my overly-cluttered brain.
Until about ten years ago, when I wound up working on an archeological dig in Spain. Here I experienced an odd phenomenon: When I didn’t think about what I was doing, I could speak Spanish as well as I ever did, but once I realized what I was doing? Once I thought “Hey, I’m speaking Spanish?” All gone. Totally sunk. I couldn’t have ordered takeout at a Taco Bell.
Which brings me to Wile E. Coyote. (Stay with me.)
He’s chasing the Roadrunner. He runs off a cliff and just keeps going. He doesn’t fall—until he looks down and realizes he’s in midair. Then down, down, small dot, puff of smoke, boom.
Which brings us to Peter, the Wile E. Coyote of the Gospels. Doing fine, cruising along out to Jesus on top of the water, then becoming aware of what he’s doing and, well, going the way of my vocabulario.
You see, I could speak as long as I was thinking about connecting with another person. As long as the coyote was pursuing the bird, he could chase. As long as Peter was focused on getting to Jesus, he could walk on water. But that moment of self-consciousness, brought on by a strange sound, the lack of sound footing, or a stray gust of wind—when we lose that intention to connect, when we think we’re the significant one? That’s enough to render you mute, powerless, and sunken.
Connection with others helps us do amazing things. Self-consciousness? Not so much.
Lord, help us to connect, always to connect, and in that connection to find you always between and among us. Amen.
Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts
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