Rev. Andrew Cunnington
10th August 2014
Save Us Lord For We Are Sinking

In recent days they had all begun to look incredibly tired, and no wonder really!

Jesus had been leading them on a bit of a route march over the Galilean hills and it was all beginning to take its toll. They were also starting to wonder where all this disciple business was really heading, for the things Jesus was starting to say were all a bit dangerous now, and on top of that, rumours had reached them that his own cousin John had been imprisoned and then beheaded by the dreadful Herod.

So there they were, the twelve of them trudging along behind the Saviour as if they carried the weight of the world upon their shoulders.

It was this that prompted Jesus to hire a boat for the day. Down at the lovely old jetty at Capernuam there was a man he knew who had promised to make one ready.

“Come away and rest awhile” Jesus had said to them “and you will find rest for your souls”

The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the boat, and just spending time with Jesus on his own, that would surely set things right.

“We’ll be right back” they said to him “ we’ll just nip home to collect the things we need!”

So Jesus sat by the water’s edge and waited, gazing down at his mirrored reflection in the cool, clear water, and wondering, not for the first time, about the nature of the face staring back at him in reflection.

The disciples soon returned, arriving for their day out like animals bound for the ark. Two by two they came.

Luke was first carrying a giant sized First Aid kit whilst Bartholomew followed behind with a large file of risk assessment procedures and a spread sheet Luke had created showing each of the disciples’ petty ailments and what was needed to treat them should anything flare up.

Matthew arrived with his lap top under his arm and James was nearly toppling over under the weight of two big lever arch files labelled “Outstanding Tax Queries”. “Sorry boss” began Matthew “ my clients just won’t leave me alone and I’ve got to have all this cleared up by the 31st.

Along came Peter with his complete set of sea faring maps and up to date tide times, and the fishing nets he had apparently, and famously, left behind, just weeks previously, were now carefully rolled up under his arm.

John walked just behind, as John was inclined to do, carrying two enormous cushions, like bean bags they were, “One for me and One for the Lord” he whispered to Thaddeaus, knowing that Thaddeaus would say nothing.

Mark came along with his diary and pens and papers just in case Jesus said anything noteworthy, whilst Thomas clambered aboard with an inflatable dinghy and a set of distress flares , because you can never trust these old boats, he said.

Martha and Mary, because there were women you know, Martha brought the picnic, enough sandwiches to sink a battleship, she announced proudly, whilst Mary, although she tried to make her sister see it wasn’t necessary, Mary carried the fold away table.

And so they all struggled on board with the things they said they needed, only Judas was travelling light it seemed, he just had his mobile phone with him, constantly texting, and if you had looked over his shoulder you would have seen that to an undisclosed recipient, he was texting, “Jerusalem soon, will take up your offer to meet”.

When they were all aboard Jesus unwound the ropes and the boat began to glide into the still blue water. After a heated discussion, Nathanael took the rudder, whilst James and the other Judas ( not Iscariot) took the oars.

It was not until they gone a good way from the shore that they realised that Jesus was not with them. That in their desire to get their own things aboard, they had completely forgotten to leave any room for the one who was their host, and when they saw what they had done, they were amazed.

Jesus sat on the shore watching from a distance, and although there are sudden storms upon that lake, I’ve heard them and seen them, it was not any storm that that caused that boat to start to sink on that day, it was the weight of the stuff his followers thought they still needed, that caused that boat to start taking in water, that caused it to start to sink, that caused them to cry out to their Lord in fear, that caused Jesus to come walking on the water to them amidst all the flotsam and jetsam that now they had to let go of.

He came walking on the water amidst their sodden tax returns and lever arch files, their potions and cures and safety equipment, the cushions and the sandwiches.

Only when they had been forced to let go of those things, was there any room for Jesus in the boat, each of them drenched to the skin as if newly baptised, but now just him and just them at last, nothing to get in the way.

And that is the miracle and the lesson for this day. Don’t think the Gospel reading is for us to marvel at the magic of Jesus nor yet to wonder at the fear and the foolishness of those disciples, caught in a storm on a sea they knew as home.

It is to ask of us, what it is we carry with us as we go through this world and causes us to be doubly cursed. So much stuff that we sink under the weight of it, so much stuff that we fill the very spaces that Jesus would come and fill if we let him.

He walks on the water today, Oh yes he really does do that, to remedy a sinking of our own making, storm of our own brewing, and as he walks towards the boat you are in, what is the flotsam and what is the jetsam, you must let go of, so that he can come aboard and be the saviour for you.

MATTHEW 14:22-33