That sinking feeling

I think I’ve mentioned before my dislike of boats, or rather my fear of going on boats in rough weather.

We were only recalling the other day, the time I refused to get on a crossing from Cherbourg to Portsmouth because I had seen the weather forecast and was far too frightened to cross in a storm.  Instead my family drove along the French coast to Calais where we could get through Channel Tunnel instead.

So I can understand some of where the disciples, and Peter in particular are coming from in this reading.

We are later in the day of the feeding of the 5000.  Jesus has sent the disciples on ahead across the lake, while he is sorting out the last of the people, and the takes the time to go off into the hills to pray – to spend some time in God’s presence, hearing his voice.

The disciples, meanwhile, were caught up in  a storm on the lake, being pounded by the waves.

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Ludolf Bakhuysen

Knowing their fear, Jesus goes to them.  He steps into the heart of the storm, into their distress, and is present with them.

Peter, being Peter, wants to do what Jesus is doing.  Jesus invites him to come to him, walking on the water.

Peter steps out, but then realises what he is doing and that the wind is still raging, gets scared and starts to sink – and is rescued by Jesus a second time!

I asked on Tuesday, Where is God?  Then he is found in the peace and stillness, here he is in the storm and panic.  The answer is

God is in all things

but we don’t always recognise him.  God is in peace and in beauty, but he is also in storm and terror.  He is with us when we don’t know what to do, and when we realise what we can’t do without him.

Jesus walks to where we are, reaches out his hand, whispers in our ear, and saves us.

Thank you God

that you are with us

wherever we are,

you are in peace

and storm,

in panic

and calm.

May we always hear you,

and know you are near,

and allow you to reach us

and save us.


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