Today I share with you my Rector’s sermon from this morning.
During these uncertain times, in a boat rocked by stormy weather, waves crashing into the boat, and strong winds threatening to overturn and sink us, being soaked to the bone in the pouring rain, not one of us are comfortable. We are unsure of what is going to happen next, we are not sure which way to go, or to go anywhere at all.
The Rector’s beautiful and powerful message says it all.
May you find strength and endurance in God, and grow in faith. Trust God to lead you where you are needed most.
Do not fear the waves, do not fear sinking into the water. Be brave, and take that step and call out to God.
If it is you, Jesus, call me out to you on the water, for all who call on the Name of the Lord will be saved!
A homily by Fr Andrew Manning 9 August 2020
Let us pray:
God of awesome wonder: bless us with bold belief even in the darkness of the night and the assault of life’s storms, Give us the strength to call upon your Name. Amen.
Preaching is like making fruit salad. Do you like fruit salad? You can have it with Ice cream, or cream or custard… in it is apple, and pears, and peaches, and blueberry’s and strawberries and maybe even guava.
But it is different fruits, dissected and combined to make something quite delicious. Today we bring different fruits together and feed on them to deepen our understanding of ourselves and of the God we serve and of the life we live.
• Today we have the experiences of life that we bring to this salad – • We have the Old Testament reminding us of the wicked world we live in that sells us into slavery – • And we have the Psalm that reminds us that it is by our circumstances that God prepares us for the task of liberating His people – Joseph is a reminder of a life pattern, that we all have to endure. • Our New Testament reminds us that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.
So our salad is this – we are all in a boat with the wind against us – we all have our Joseph experience, we all have our days that like Peter we are sinking on the water. We all must, call out to God and have Him draw us to Him… And be saved.
Jesus today finds you and reaches out a hand and lifts us up and says – even if you only have a little faith, if you confess with your mouth if you call out to Jesus – he will save you, and calm the storm of your life. For today’s salad we have the added fruit of the experience of the Transfiguration which we celebrated on Thursday.
I hope your hungry to feed on God’s word today! The Transfiguration reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the world who stepped down into darkness to heal the world. The event reminds us that Jesus illuminates our lives – the psalmist says “He is a light to my path and a lamp unto my feet.”
The Transfiguration reminds us that Jesus is transcendent – just as God says “my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways” the Transfiguration is a reminder that Jesus is God and he is other than us.
I love St Peter’s response to the vison of Jesus appearing in Glory – he says – “let’s make camp” let’s stay in this moment. But like any mountain top experience – we can’t stay there – the people came out to make Jesus their king they gathered on the mountain side and he fed them all from 5 loaves of bread, but they couldn’t stay there… our lives in Christ are continually moving and developing and progressing…. the people sent back to their villages, and the disciples back across the lake… against the wind ..
Today we commemorate Jesus walking on the water: Jesus walking on the water and controlling the wind and the waves is a reminder that Jesus is Transcendent other than us. Fully man but fully God.. Every Miracle is a reminder that God is a God of power over His creation and He is not subject to it. He has authority over every law of nature. And yet God in Jesus is fully man, subject to his creation by choice, He felt tired, he felt sad, he felt anguish, he got angry, he experienced disappointment and loneliness and temptation!
Fully God and fully man Transcendent – other than us and yet immanent – with us, and not just alongside not just looking on, but sharing our experience… In the story of the walking on the water we always seem to focus on Jesus power to walk on the water and Peter’s sinking on the water…. but today I want to focus on Peters transformation in the boat. Peter’s desire to walk on the thing that he feared just to bring Him into intimacy with Jesus.
The disciples look up into the darkness over the rough seas and see a Ghost…. but Peter says – “if it is you Lord call me out to you.” Peter acknowledges that God is transcendent, not subject to the restriction of the flesh but he also acknowledges that God in Jesus is right here, Peter doesn’t just want to watch Jesus he wants to be with Jesus, he does not just want to know about Jesus, he wants to do what Jesus is doing…..
Lord if it is you call me out on the waters, the thing that I fear, because it is only in being in Christ and with Christ and through Christ, that God’s Ghostly/ Spiritual appearance transforms into the hand of God actively reaching out and dispelling our doubt and fear and overcoming our weakness…
You see the objective was not for Peter to be godlike and walk on the water … Peter did not seek to be equal to Jesus – but he wanted the hand of Jesus … he wanted Jesus – Who appeared to be walking by – he wanted Jesus to stop and be present and get into the boat with him and the other disciples.
How often do we see God doing things beyond our understanding and we stand at a distance in fear or in disbelief?
How often are we faced with the challenge of feeling that God is not really with us? Our burdens, our fears our challenges overwhelm us. A Ghost is a person who was…..and in these times of desperation it seems that God is a was in our lives. God was with us! And with the psalmist we say – “you don’t go out with our armies anymore!” (Ps 44:9) “How long will you delay oh Lord, when will you hear my prayer?” (Ps 90:13)
St Peter says… “if it is you, call me out to you!” In you oh Lord I can walk on water too. And he does… Peter walks on the water – he joins with Christ and the Christ no longer walks on by, but gets into the boat.
If we want Jesus to heal us, to save us we have to cry out – “if it is your lord, call me to you” and we have to walk on the water… and even if we sink…. Jesus will rescue us and restore us….
The crux of this story is not Peter’s sinking, but Peters desire for Christ Peter’s desire to be saved Peters’ trust in God to be the one who extends a hand and saves. And gets into our boat and stills the storm. Today Jesus is out there walking on the water…. will you call out LORD, if it is you, call me to you?
Do not be afraid of the sinking…. desire the Christ in your boat enough to walk on your fear out to him and to choose Him and his salvation. Desire Him enough to abandon all other desires and seek the Lord with all you heart and all your soul and all your strength.
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. (Ps 105:4) If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10: 9-11,13).
In the Name of God, Father , Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!