Text: Matthew 14:22-36
For neither fear nor recklessness, but good courage
For bold trust
For those who sail the seas
IT IS both exhilarating and frightening when a ship puts out to sea and land is left behind. For those who sail regularly, those feelings may be muted, but they never go away; the solid land is gone, and the sea has you, for good or ill.
Peter’s “stepping out of the boat” is only a heightening of that same situation: he leaves behind that last bit of security to walk toward a figure that may only be a ghost, a sprite, something related to the treacherous waves meant to lure him to doom.
Our lives are ordered around avoiding Peter’s circumstances as much as we can. We have learned to manage risk, to not be foolish, to make the safe play. More importantly, we expect that Jesus would never ask us to risk, never put us in a situation or call us to a path (watery or not!) that would mean leaving security behind and trust an uncertain figure who invites us to walk toward him.
But our times require us to step out, step forth, let land slip out of sight and be born on wind and wave. But we don’t do this on our own strength, our own wisdom! Jesus and his life, his wisdom is our security as this portion from a mariner’s prayer book declares:
Bear up this ship in Thine hands, guard and keep me in it;
yes, be even with me in this vessel, for otherwise, O Lord, we perish all.
Whom do I have in heaven to call upon but Thee?
Whom do I have on earth besides Thee?
When now leaving the land behind me, grant that I may
also leave behind me all trust in human or earthly aid,
and rely entirely upon Thee.
Behold me, O Lord; I give myself to thy pleasure;
shape my destiny as befits Thy will and to my soul’s salvation...
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks