Sunday, August 9, 2020 – Sermon by Art Taylor
Walking Out On Faith to Discover Our True Super Powers
In our Gospel, Peter is asked to leave the boat and walk on water. Such would be considered superpowers even back then. So what is Jesus teaching here?
What does it mean to “Walk out on Faith” as the colloquialism goes? What relevance does it have to our lives today?
When is walking out on faith justified and following Jesus vs. ill purposed and a test of God’s commitment to us?
Are we walking into a fire selfishly to see if Jesus will save us or are we potentially sacrificing ourselves to save a trapped baby?
And in the Gospel is Jesus trying to teach us that faith will deliver to us super human abilities or is there more to it?
You see, abilities are all relative and special but they matter most when they are put to good use. God could have given all of us the ability to fly. Then what would make flying special is how we used that ability.
We all want to do super human things because we imagine it would somehow make our lives easier. But maybe God wants us to do more.
So maybe it’s not so much about acquiring super human powers as it is taking advantage of the powers that we have and using them when God calls on us.
Consider, most of us have passed on opportunities to serve because it was uncomfortable for us. Or we didn’t believe we had the talent or ability to succeed with that opportunity.
Maybe we had people in our ears who told us we could not do it. Or maybe we failed at other things we tried and decided we would fail at that too. Maybe we were tired and just didn’t have the energy for something new.
Whatever the reason, something good that we might done with our abilities didn’t happen because we didn’t try.
This is especially noteworthy given our present situation. I could make a case that many people today are like Peter. They need a life line and are barely staying afloat. Between the higher unemployment rate, the increasing number of people in need of food, the lack of planning around getting kids back to school, and most significant, the rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, people are in dire need. And according to experts, our situation is not likely to get better anytime soon.
Peter had Jesus to bail him out, even though it was Peter himself who caused the situation to begin with. Peter decided he needed to walk on water as a way of proving that the vision he saw was Jesus. Peter put Jesus to the test for his selfish reasons.
So often we place ourselves in tight spots and then we ask Jesus to bail us out. We don’t go for regular health examinations and find out that we have an advanced disease. We don’t reach out to a friend in need so their situation becomes critical and then we pray for them when our help could have saved them. We don’t listen to health experts and we get COVID.
In all cases God does come through, although the bailout may not come in the way we expected. Sometimes the job we seek is not the job we get but something better. Sometimes the loneliness we feel gives us the discipline to break free from our fear of being alone and enables us to become better people. Sometimes the pain relief we seek is granted by God taking us to Heaven.
When Jesus saves Peter, maybe it’s to show us that He will be there for us in the storm but we ought not seek the storm just so he can rescue us. “Oh ye of little faith.” That’s testing God and achieves no purpose. When we follow God’s will and overcome our fears and inadequacies to engage difficult challenges that call on grace to see us through, life has meaning. This is true when we use our God given powers to help others. When we do we can take comfort in knowing that in this life and the next, God will be with us.
We need this Gospel more today than perhaps ever before. We are in the midst of a sea change. The post pandemic world will be forever changed. We will need to adjust. Things that gave us peace and assurance may be gone forever. We will have to try new things, live differently than we have and discover new pathways.
To do this, we will have to step out on faith because we won’t know for sure if we have what it takes or where we will end up. We will have to remember that even when God was tested God was there for us. So surely GOD will be there for us in troubled times. We will feel God in our intentions to do her will. We will know that it is God driving us.
We will need to call on our gifts. Many will have never been used before. Like the super hero who discovers out of necessity she can fly. We will have to move forward even though we are afraid and don’t believe in ourselves. The times will call on us to embrace what God has in store for us.
We should therefore boldly advance to the new. Seeking ways to bring others along, focusing on doing God’s will, and in every challenge we face be fortified by our love for God and our neighbors and God’s love for us that goes beyond our understanding.