An act of worship at home
Reading Matthew 14 vv 22-33
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’
‘Come,’ he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’
When I was in my teens I spent a week or so at the Outward Bound centre near Fort William in the highlands of Scotland. It was a week spent with army officer cadets as we did orienteering over the hills, survival skills, canoeing down rapids, rock climbing, and my personal favourite, sailing a big twin masted cutter out through Loch Linnhe and around the western isles.
I’d grown up on the coast and spent much time sailing with friends in dinghies and catamarans so the opportunity to sail a large boat on the sea was one I jumped at, even if I was the only one on board who had any experience. The training taught me something that has stayed with me ever since. When it comes to a new challenge it’s not always the first step that is the hardest, sometimes it’s the second and third.
One example of that for me came when I was faced with crossing a “bridge” made of two ropes strung 50 feet above the raging rapids below. I was the first to go. Carrying a loaded backpack I grabbed the upper of the tow ropes and took my first step onto the lower rope. Mm, that’s not too bad, I thought. And then I took my second step, and my third. The “bridge” began to swing and the further I went the more wildly it swung until in the middle I was barely able to stay on. It was such a relief when I finally approached the other side and things began to calm down once more.
I’m sure we’ve all felt like Peter at times. Wonderfully positive with the first few steps of faith in a strange new situation but quickly loosing confidence as the difficulties become more obvious. Sometimes we may fail, but like Peter Jesus will lift us up; but even better, with courage and faith, we will get to the other side. Thank you Lord for your strength and support.
God of all faithfulness,
you meet us in Christ in the ordinary and everyday.
You are there in the boat with us,
as we are tossed about by the storms of life.
You reach out to us when we are at our lowest ebb.
You call to us to step out in faith, beyond our own limitations.
You pick us up when we falter and let you down.
You bring calm and peace when all around brings distress.
How can we cease from singing your praises?
How can we do other than bring our adoration?
We can do no other than thank you for your goodness to us.
Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult
of our life’s wild, restless sea,
day by day his sweet voice sounding,
saying, ‘Christian, follow me’:
as, of old, Saint Andrew heard it
by the Galilean lake,
turned from home, and toil, and kindred,
leaving all for his dear sake.
Jesus calls us from the worship
of the vain world’s golden store,
from each idol that would keep us,
saying, ‘Christian, love me more’.
In our joys and in our sorrows,
days of toil and hours of ease,
still he calls, in cares and pleasures,
‘Christian, love me more than these.’
Jesus calls us! By thy mercies,
Saviour, make me hear thy call,
give our hearts to thine obedience,
serve and love thee best of all.
Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-95)
In the week ahead, may the world and its problems decrease as you increase in our lives.
Keep us focused on your way, looking ahead and trusting you;
and so may we know your blessings in our lives today and always.