Live from 9:30 on Sunday morning
9 August 2020
The Ninth Sunday after Trinity
The Meaning of Life: Week Four
So Like Peter
At first the fear
then the questioning.
“If it is really you,
tell me to come to you”,
asking the impossible.
Humans don’t walk on water!
Rather we submerge rapidly,
struggling as we descend to the depths,
But, with his eyes on Jesus face,
perhaps an encouraging hand stretched out,
Peter did walk,
maybe tentatively, but he did walk
across the heaving surface.
His tine footing faltered.
Water lashed his ankles
Sheer panic prevailed.
Humans don’t walk on water!
In such dire straits
only one source of help.
‘Save me Lord!’
An immediate response.
Firm grip banishing danger,
but then a challenging rebuke
for a short-lived faith.
There is a sadness reverberating through the centuries.
So many of us step out on a seemingly impossible venture,
only to fail as our initial confidence deserts us.
Yet within such failure a strength,
a reminder that we are not asked to do the impossible alone,
but to rely on the ongoing power of the Spirit,
achieving the unbelievable.
Lord help us to trust in your strength,
not in our own,
Help us to remember that failures are not the end,
but with you can be new beginnings.
A reflection on Love and prayer by Bishop George Appleton, who became Archbishop in Jerusalem. This is an extract.
“If we really love people,
we shall want to support them in trouble,
to be concerned when they are ill,
to encourage them in difficulties,
to be their friend whatever happens,
wanting them to be made strong in their inmost being.
We can do all that if we offer ourselves as a link with the source of spiritual energy and love.
There is a connection between love and prayer.
When we are ill, in grief or in trouble most of us find it difficult to pray.
God can use the concern and love of others as a channel of blessing and strengthening.
Intercession is a spiritual operation of love.
‘O God of love, may those for whom I am praying experience you as the God of love and a sure support.
May this experience be stronger than the trouble that threatens to overwhelm them.
May they so experience your love as a love that will overcome any sense of loneliness and hopelessness, even failure, and enable them to go forward with quiet trust, unfailing hope and grateful love.’
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” Isaiah 59 v I.
Lord, you didn’t encourage Peter to do something he would fail at, but something at which you knew he could succeed. We want to be strong and capable but, like Peter, we are all a mixture of faith and doubt, courage and cowardice. We are all susceptible to fear and anxiety, but you hear us call out to you and it is precisely at our moments of vulnerability that your hand touches us. Peter was doing well until he took his eyes off you but you did not let him sink. Lord, be with us in the storms of life. Help us to trust you even when the waves are big, higher than us, and we feel afraid. Help us to pray, to trust and to focus unwaveringly on you and not on the waves. Amen