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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 14:28–33

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.” (NRSV)

In the Celtic Bible Commentary, Ellyn Sanna wrote that our Celtic ancestors of faith were quite comfortable with stories of the impossible being possible. They lived in a world where the Otherworld was so interwoven with this world that nothing surprised them. For the Gospel writer Matthew, as for the Celts, miracles were signs pointing toward something deeper than the surface circumstances. The miracle itself was not as important as what that event said about the people involved. If we focus on the meaning of the events in scripture, rather than the events themselves, we can step away from questions about whether these stories are factual and instead look at the truths they have to convey.

This story conveys that Jesus can empower us to do what we never believed we could do, even when all circumstances indicate that we are in mortal peril. The message here, as with so many other stories of Jesus, is “Take courage.” Don’t worry, God is present, even in unexpected ways and places, and has things under control in ways we don’t understand.

This prayer, attributed to St. Columba, expresses confidence in Divine care:

Alone with none but you, my God.
I journey on my way.
What need I fear when you are near,
O Ruler of night and day?
More safe am I within your hand
than if a host should round me stand.
My life I yield to your decree,
and bow to your control in peaceful calm,
for from your arm
no power can wrest my soul.
The child of God can fear no ill,
God’s chosen dread no foe;
we leave our fate with you,
and wait your bidding when to go.
It’s not from chance our comfort springs.
You are our trust, O King of kings. Amen.

Reflection written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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