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Revd Sara's Reflections - w/c 13th August 2023

Matthew 14:22-33 NRSV 22Immediately he made the disciples get into a boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” New Revised Standard Version Revd Sara’s Reflection I'm fascinated by that first step of Peter as he climbed over the side of the boat. He was looking at Jesus, not at the water. His mind was charged with Jesus' invitation: /Come/. So often the way out of depression, fear or anxiety is not a thought or a consideration, but a physical step. I take a risk, and find myself strong enough to walk forward, keeping my eyes on the Lord. Did Peter really walk on the water - leave the boat and trip across the waves in the headwind until he took his eyes off Jesus and sank? It sounds a bit magical or highly dramatic. Readers of the gospel would not even have asked that question. They would believe and say, 'Peter always walks on the water'. They would mean that all of life is putting trust in God, and that sinking in life begins in taking eyes off God. We too walk on water - all the time. We walk in trust and know that sometimes that trust in God is so real that we can give our lives to him forever. The hand of God is a human hand. Jesus reaches out to guide us, steady us, support us - all the things a touch of the hand can do. Peter found that also in Jesus - when he took his eyes off the Lord on the water, he began to sink. The Lord then held him close. Like Peter, we are always walking on water, putting our trust in Jesus Christ. We trust in him for protection in the most frightening times of life, like at the hour of death. At times we can do nothing for those we love except place them in the hand of God, knowing that God loves them more than we do. Jesus took some time apart to be at prayer. His time with God did not close him to the world, but inspired him to go to the help of the troubled disciples. The time that I spend at prayer builds me up in my relationship with God and strengthens me to act in God’s name. Peter had courage when his eyes were on Jesus, but foundered when he focused on himself and his situation. I ask God to help me to keep Jesus before me. “Truly, you are the Son of God”. The conclusion in this passage is that Jesus can be found in the boat but can also be found when we are ready to leave the shelter of the boat to find him in the “world” Trust, pray, Jesus is with you love and prayers Revd Sara

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