Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


I am drowning, save me!

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Matthew tells of Jesus walking out on the water to his disciples as they are in the midst of a storm, then Peter attempting to walk out to Jesus. Jerry Goebel writes of the passage saying,
The wind was “contrary” this is a great term for us to learn. No matter which way the disciples set their sails and no matter how hard they worked; the wind blew the opposite way. The boat itself was “battered;” a word which means tortured or torn apart. Why are those terms important to us? Matthew wants us to understand the circumstances in which Jesus miraculously appears in our lives; when the wind is contrary and our vessels are tortured. Matthew—who was there and witnessed this event—wants us to know that it is at those times when we feel most torn apart that we can also be most expectant of our Lord’s miraculous arrival. In fact, Matthew tells us that Jesus doesn’t come until the “fourth watch.” That is the darkest watch of the morning. That’s when Jesus is wonderfully present; the fourth watch of the darkest storm, when our boat is most tortured.
Of Peter's walk on the water, the great Christian writer of 5th century North Africa, Augustine of Hippo, wrote
Look at Peter, who in this episode is an image of ourselves; at one moment he is all confidence, at the next all uncertainty and doubt; now he professes faith in the immortal One, now he fears for his life.

Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you upon the water. When the Lord said Come Peter climbed out of the boat and began to walk on the water. This is what he could do through the power of the Lord; what by himself? Realizing how violently the wind was blowing, he lost his nerve, and as he began to sink he called out, "Lord, I am drowning, save me "!

When he counted on the Lord's help it enabled him to walk on the water; when human frailty made him falter he turned once more to the Lord, who immediately stretched out his hand to help him, raised him up as he was sinking, and rebuked him for his lack of faith.

Think, then, of this world as a sea, whipped up to tempestuous heights by violent winds. A person's own private tempest will be his or her unruly desires. If you love God you will have power to walk upon the waters, and all the world's swell and turmoil will remain beneath your feet. But if you love the world it will surely engulf you, for it always devours its lovers, never sustains them.

If you feel your foot slipping beneath you, if you become a prey to doubt or realize that you are losing control, if, in a word, you begin to sink, say: Lord, I am drowning, save me! Only he who for your sake died in your fallen nature can save you from the death inherent in that fallen nature.


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