MT 14: 22-36
(Sunday between August 7th & 14th...In 2005, August 7th...12th S.after Pentecost)

Jesus eventually gets his quiet time. He sends the crowd home. Even the disciples are packed off to the other side of the lake. We all need time & space apart. If that involves us being ruthless with our diary pages, so be it. No guilt attaches to giving God a generous slot among pressing human engagements. If we don't engage with God, deeply & meaningfully, what hope does anyone else have of engaging us in a 'deep & meaningful'? When we do go apart, God blesses us by filling the time & space space we create. When God fills God fills!

We can rationalise the walking on water 'miracle' if we want (bad light, shallow water, etc., cf. v.24;  low tide, sand bar, etc.) Or we can accept it, baffling & all, as God-in-Jesus doing what God's gotta do. If Jesus can't walk on water, neither can Peter! Not even briefly! Whatever, it's a good story. Maybe it's true without being factual?

Whatever else we preach about Peter's role in the story, give him credit for at least getting out of the boat. Would you have done it? Not likely! Maybe we can think of other 'boats' whose relative safety if not comfort we don't want to get out of to 'walk on water', 'walk to Jesus' today? We see Jesus portrayed here as the Word-in-the-Beginning, still bringing order out of  chaos, bringing something good to birth out of an unpromising situation.

The kind of saving Peter cries out for is very much physical. But rather than separating our 'physical' from our 'spiritual' (as we usually blame Greek philosophers for teaching us) let's think of them as our Hebrew spiritual forbears did in their wisdom. Fear can be body &/or mind &/or spirit centred. Where are our own fears seated? What about the fears of those we're preaching to, pastoring; the fears of those 'out there' somewhere? We need God to save us from our own demons if we're to be much help to other fearful body-mind-&-souls. To save them from theirs, so they too can reach out a hand to save others.

Did that terra-more-or-less-firma at Gennesaret feel good under their feet, or didn't it? Jesus' too!

People can come to recognize Jesus in all kinds of ways, places, situations, needs. Perhaps the 'touching the fringe of his cloak' bit sounds superstitious from where we stand. But what about those in the margins who feel they can't even touch, don't even want to touch, that we don't want them to 'touch the hem of our garments'? Could we become better, busier at ruling in others & how they might recognize & respond to Jesus, than being quick to rule them out. Who am I to say how someone can come to Jesus to become whole?