St. James' Episcopal Church
Our 158th Year
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Sermon For August 10th, 2008
Sermon for Sunday August 10, 2008
St. James’ Goshen, IN
For weeks now we have been hearing about the Kingdom of God being like: seeds planted, grain harvested, bread made with just a little bit of yeast, and last week the demonstration of the plenty of God’s grace in the feeding of the five thousand men plus women and children with the five loaves and two small fish, the first church picnic.
In today’s story we just hear how the church picnic ended. Jesus sent the disciples back to Capernaum in the boat. After all Andrew, Peter, James and John were professional fisher men, and knew the Sea of Galilee well. The Sea of Galilee rests between two step ranges of hills, the fertile hills of Galilee to the west and the desert hills of Jordan to the east. Because of the steep hills on either side of the lake, the wind causes great turbulence in the water. Jesus then dismissed the well fed crowd to walk home to their villages and towns. Jesus wanted alone time to rest and pray.
That night the boys on the boat ran into rough weather and waves that might swamp their little fishing boat. Suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water: were they seeing a ghost? Was one of the fish bad and they were hallucinating? They cried out in fear, and Jesus responded to their terrified voices saying, "Take heart, it is I, be not afraid." Good old brash Peter asked Jesus to let him walk on the water, and Jesus said come - come follow me. Peter jumped off the boat and started to walk and then fear gripped him and he sank in the stormy waters. Jesus lifted Peter back into the boat with the now famous admonition: "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"
The Apostles had heard all of the teachings of Jesus in the Capernaum synagogue, on the shore at Capernaum, on the hillside along the coast of the Sea of Galilee; they had partaken of the feeding of the five thousand. But when left alone on the dark and stormy night of wind and waves of doubt and fear the Apostles were terrified. And Jesus came to them saying Be not afraid, I am with you. Jesus lifted up Peter from his fears and doubts.
It is through the fears, doubts, the terrors of the night, that the Apostles, had a great epiphany, an aha moment of revelation. Jesus is more than just an itinerant preacher from Nazareth. He was certainly that; He could explain the Kingdom of God is simple everyday terms. And He was more than healer of sickness, though He did that very well. The frightened doubting Apostles received Jesus when they were alone in a storm tossed boat. And Jesus raised them up from the stormy waters of fear and doubt. Fear not you are not alone, I am with you.
And the Apostles finally got it. Jesus is The Son of God. He is will be with us even in our doubts and fears, saying "Be not afraid, I am with you."
It is through living in fear and doubts of stormy seas that the Apostles, and we too, receive the epiphany: God is with us - Emanuel.
Come enter into the Kingdom of God.
Thanks Be to God.
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