Once upon a time (except that this really happened), Jesus needed time alone to pray, so he sent the disciples out in a boat in the Sea of Galilee to travel to the other side of the water (it’s a rather large body of water). All of the sudden the disciples found themselves in the middle of a storm, waves and wind beating at their boat from every side. Next thing they knew, they looked up and saw what looked like Jesus walking toward them on top of the water.
If you thought the disciples might be comforted by the image of Jesus walking toward them, think again. The disciples were terrified! They thought he must be a ghost, and they screamed in fear…
This is how our scripture for this Sunday in The Bridge begins.
It’s almost comical to imagine the disciples, getting drenched in the middle of a big storm, seeing Jesus and being scared out of their wits at the sight of him walking on the water. But on second thought I think many of us have been “in the same boat,” so to speak, in our own Christian journey.
Whether it’s walking in front of everyone and standing before the congregation to be baptized, spending time with people and in communities that are different from us to share the love of God, or opening up about some deeply personal stuff in a Bible study in order to learn more about what God wants from us, following Jesus puts us in some risky situations. And those are just the things everybody goes through as a Christian. What Jesus might call or send you to do in your individual life may be far scarier.
You’ve seen cartoons or heard jokes about people who see “the Tax-Man” and run the other direction, or do everything possible to avoid seeing their boss at work, for fear of some extra assignment. Sometimes, without even thinking about it consciously, Christians start to pull away from God or from church because seeing the real Jesus and knowing what he might call us to do is just too scary.
Our task this Sunday is to find out what happens next in this particular Bible story (hint: it gets even more dramatic) and be honest about the things Jesus calls us to do that we perhaps would rather avoid. What is it we’re afraid of?
Jesus, walking on the water, knew the disciples were terrified. He spoke to them immediately and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Jesus speaks those same words to us, today. When you think about your faith, what possibility scares you most? That you may be asked to give up something you love, or put away habits that have become second nature, or embrace an enemy? Join us this Sunday in The Bridge as we face our fears together, and hear Jesus’s call to move into the storm with him.