Thursday, August 10, 2017

Trust and obey

The Gospel reading this Sunday is Matthew 14:22-33. The well-known account (actually, I’d say more famous than known well) of Peter walking on the water.

Notice that Jesus does not instruct Peter to get out of the boat.

In fact, Jesus explicitly instructs Peter and the other disciples to get into the boat and [in the boat] go ahead of him to the other side of the lake.

When Jesus says, ‘Come’ [to me on the water] it is a concession to Peter’s doubt that Jesus knew what he was talking about when he told the disciples to get into the boat.

And when Jesus calls the disciples ‘You of little faith’ he isn't saying ‘You don’t have enough faith.’ In Jesus’ picture-language ‘little’ is consistently a positive thing (the one exception I can think of is love; but then, love is also exceptional in being the one debt we are to remain in). If anything, he is surprised that they, possessing ‘little faith’ should doubt, because it is the ‘little’ who see God and who depend on God and not on their own strength.

Little faith is defined by trust and obedience. Which, it turns out, is also ‘great faith,’ in one encounter with a Gentile woman (by the way, the opposite of little faith is not great faith, but absence of faith).

Peter needs to be reminded that he is called to exercise little faith, in the boat with the other disciples. And to leave being Lord to Jesus.

My own take-away from this is this: to re-focus on my calling (which is always found and expressed within the context of community) and to seek not to be distracted by (or into) the (complementary) calling of others.

To be fair on Peter, that is harder than you might think.

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