Walking On Water

Friday, January 11, 2014 -- The Epiphany and Following (Year One)

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 942)
Psalms 148, 150 (morning) // 91, 92 (evening)
Isaiah 65:13-16
Revelation 3:7-13
John 6:15-27

In some sense, every day is a matter of walking on water. Life is so chaotic, stormy, and uncontrollable. The winds of circumstance blow beyond our meager means. We start one thing and suddenly something else demands our attention. Sometimes you can only see the one big wave coming at you, but you know there are more behind it. Some times are darker than others, but the certain final sunset of death relentlessly approaches. Yet we walk through it all somehow.

So often the question is simply this: Will I or will I not be anxious or afraid?

In John's account of Jesus' walking on the water, as Jesus approaches the boat to encounter the fearful disciples, Jesus speaks to them saying, "I am. Don't be afraid." This translation -- Jesus saying, "I am" -- is from the Common English Bible. A footnote offers an alternative translation, "It is I. Don't be afraid."

In John's gospel Jesus is identified with the mysterious name of God -- "I am." I am the Bread of Life. I am the Light of the World. I am the Gate. I am the Good Shepherd. I am Resurrection and Life. I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. I am the Vine.

When we are spiritually or emotionally famished and hungry for meaning and substance, he is our bread. When we are in darkness he is our light. When we are stuck or blocked he is the gate. He is the Good Shepherd who guides us along right pathways. He brings life out of death, resurrection from every loss. In him we find our way, we rest in truth, we relax into life. We can abide in him as a branch abides in the vine.

In the frightening storm, God is with us -- "I am" is with us -- Jesus is with us. Like God's leading the slaves through the water, out of their bondage in Egypt into the journey toward freedom and the promised land, so Jesus walks with us through all of the storms of our lives. Do not be afraid, he tells us. I am with you.

As corny as it may sound, a chorus from Rogers and Hammerstein's Carousel comes into my ears. "Walk on. Walk on, with hope in your heart, and you'll never walk alone. You'll never walk alone." We never walk alone.

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