Friday Greetings — August 11

Dear Centenary friends,

A former church member (who happened to be married to one of my Divinity School professors) once told me that when she was a six year old, her summer fundraising idea went a bit beyond selling lemonade.  She donned her bathing suit, invited her friends to accompany her to a local pond, and proceeded to sell them tickets to watch her "walk on water like Jesus did."  Her parents got wind of it, raced to the pond, and apprehended her just as she collected the money for the last ticket sale - and just before she initiated her attempt to walk on water.  They were absolutely incensed that she would do such a thing, and made her give back all the money before hoisting her into the back seat of the family car and dragging her home in shame.  What made them the maddest, she said, was not that she took money from other little children, or that she was showing disrespect to Jesus by attempting to equal his miraculous feat; what made them maddest was that she'd worn her bathing suit...because they thought it showed a lack of faith.   Oh, my.

My guess is, that's not the only story you've heard about walking on water.  Jesus did it, and Peter tried to emulate him - and sank like a stone!  But perhaps Peter's primary motivation wasn't exercising his faith.  Perhaps he was just hankering after another opportunity to do something rash and attention-getting.  And perhaps he wasn't the only disciple who wanted to follow in Jesus's footsteps...what about those who stayed in the boat?  Weren't they just as important to Jesus?  And weren't they all part of proclaiming the Kingdom of God?  Why does Peter get all the publicity?  What a story!  And it's all right there waiting for us in the 14th chapter of Matthew.

So, come to worship scripturally prepared!  This Sunday's Bible readings are Genesis 37:1-4,12-28 and Matthew 14:22-33.  Our preacher this Sunday is the Rev. Rick Moser, so you'll want to review his worship preparation pointers below. 

Look at me suffer!  The fact of the matter is that some people enjoy their suffering if they can do it in front of everyone.  Jesus talked about the Pharisees who fasted and bragged about their suffering.  He didn’t speak fondly of them.  One author said that people crawl upon a cross just so they can be seen from a greater distance.  What about us?  Matthew tells the story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter getting out to walk on the water and then…sinking.  The sermons preached from this passage are always about having great faith to walk on water.  But what if it wasn’t great faith that put Peter in that peril?  What if it wasn’t faith at all?  Perhaps…we should just stay in the boat.  We’ll explore this on Sunday.  As Dad always said, “I’ll see you in church.” 

Opportunities to show faith and grow faith come to us day by day; but there's no better time to celebrate the One whose faith calls us all to follow Him, than when we're in worship together.  Be there!

Grace and Peace in Christ,

Pastor Susan