Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 21: Year 1
“And they went and woke him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Matthew 8: 25 to 27).
I’d like to say that we are still saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ And the only way we can be saved is through our Lord Jesus Christ. Drowning seems to be a fear of the ancient Hebrew peoples. We have the story of Noah and the Flood; we have the story of Moses and the parting of to sea; and many other water related near-death experiences that plague their minds. So we are saved through the waters of baptism. Jesus brings us back to our fears and then brings us through them to eternal life.
Jesus seems to infer that fear and faith occupy the same space in our hearts and minds. He asks, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith?’ I know that Abraham was afraid during his lifetime but he never stopped believing in God. Therefore, at some level, fear accompanies our faith. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and. We just have to decide which one we are going to let lead us.
Jesus, when asked, comes to us and reduces the cause of our fears, the storm itself. Later, in this Gospel of Matthew, Peter will individually struggle with faith and fear while trying to walk on the water. When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, Jesus told them not to be afraid and that it was he, himself. “And 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 and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14: 29 to 31)
It is ironic that the very thing we need to sustain life, we fear. That that cleanses us, can drown us. Faith and fear, which road will we take? The same is true of our Lord Jesus with one big exception; there is nothing at all to fear about our Lord Jesus.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John