Texts: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 and Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45; or 1 Kings 19:9-18 and Psalm 85:8-13; Romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33
Message: “The Right Perspective”
The gospel text is our “missional” text for this Sunday and it is one that is bound to capture the attention of young and old alike. It is a story told to us by both Matthew and John, who were eyewitnesses of the event, as well as Mark, who also reports it.
Jesus walking on the water of the storm-ravaged Sea of Galilee, with disciples in mortal danger, is one that is familiar with all, from the youngest child in Sunday school to the oldest saint who probably has heard a number of sermons on the subject.
As we look at the story from an evangelism or missional +perspective we are led to several important points to remember when the going gets tough for us, regardless of the particular circumstances.
For one thing, the separated Lord came to them in the midst of their dangerous circumstances.
Secondly, Jesus assured them that His presence meant that they need no longer be afraid, in spite of the circumstances.
Thirdly, he invites their leader, Peter, to walk on the water, too! And he does, at least for a while. This is the real miracle of the passage, to be sure. The problem with Peter and for all of us is that we are always in danger of losing our “Christ-like” perspective, considering only our human resources and losing our “God-consciousness.”
We can deal with this passage at several levels: personal, corporate, and evangelistically. In any case, it is clear from this story that we are driven, not only by the winds of change and discord, but also empowered to proceed through the darkest, stormy night, in the presence and power of the One whom we proclaim in both word and deed. Jesus did not say it would be easy, but He did say He’d be with us no matter what!
In a sermon entitled: “How Will You Know if It’s Jesus?” William Willimon, formerly Chaplain at Duke University and a bishop in the Methodist Church, made the following comments on the passage: “Don’t you find it strange that Peter was uncertain that the voice from the waves was the voice of Jesus until, unless, that voice commanded him, ‘Come on out, the water’s fine’? And that’s how you will know Jesus. Jesus is the one who extravagantly, recklessly, commands you to leave the safety of the boat, to step into the sea, to test the waters, and show what your faith is made of. That’s Jesus.”
I will never forget an experience on Lake Michigan off Navy Pier one beautiful summer night that was transformed suddenly into a dark, severe thunderstorm pitching the sailboat over to an angle where the sail was almost level with the churning waters as we made our way back into Belmont Harbor, and safety.
Music: “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Lord, Speak to Me,” “My Faith Looks Up to Thee”
Call to Worship
May the word of Christ dwell in us richly as we teach and admonish one another in wisdom. And let us with gratitude in our hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. –Adapted from Colossians 3:16
As we come to worship today, we are bold to seek miracles. We pray for the revelation of truths that might otherwise remain hidden. We pray for the forgiveness of sins that might otherwise remain unconfessed. We pray for the unleashing of personal power that might otherwise remain untapped. Amen
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, whose mercy is higher than the heavens, wider than our wanderings and deeper than all sin; receive back unto yourself your bewildered and broken children. Forgive our folly and excess, our coldness to human sorrows, our envy of those who prosper and are at ease, our passion for the things of the moment that perish in the grasping, our indifference to those treasures of the spirit which are life and peace, our neglect of your wise and gracious laws; and so change our hearts and turn all our desires to yourself that we may love that which you approve and do what you command, and with strength and resolution walk in uprightness and charity, serving our brothers and sisters, and all to the glory of God. Amen
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord and will be repaid in full. Proverbs 19:17
O Lord our ever Gracious God, we know that unless someone takes the initiative, people around the world will never hear the good news of Jesus Christ, so this morning we present these gifts in order to share the story.
Go into your world with joy, for God’s Spirit lives within you. Go into your world with confidence, for you belong to God. Go into your world with a sense of purpose, for you have received a high calling. Amen
(Prayers and other worship items courtesy of Leroy Koopman @ Liturgical Publications. Subscribers are permitted to reprint material in non-profit publications only; all other reproduction is prohibited. 2013 Liturgical Publications Inc, LPi Resource Center, P.O. Box 510817, New Berlin, WE 53151-0817, 1-800-950-9952 ext. 2469)